FORWARD FOCUS - Brian Jean, Wildrose leader, is flanked by supporters following the vote announcement on Saturday in Red Deer that 95% of his party’s members opted to back uniting the right in Alberta. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party both support uniting the right

Support stands at 95% of members of both parties who voted

Members of both the Progressive Conservatives of Alberta and the Wildrose Party overwhelmingly gave the green light on Saturday to uniting the right.

The Tories supported the move with 95% of members’ votes in favour; Wildrose Party members also supported the bid to unite the parties with a 95% approval rate as well.

Jason Kenney, leader of the PCs, told a gathering in Calgary that, “The special resolution is adopted with 95 per cent of the vote.

“Friends, this is a great day for Alberta. Hope is on the horizon – we are renewing the Alberta advantage,” he said. “In this democratic decision today, tens of thousands of Albertans have decided to put the future ahead of the past. To focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us. To part with the egos, the brands, the labels and the resentments that have accumulated over a decade of division.

“(We’ve) decided to put our province ahead of any political party,” he said, adding that under the NDP leadership, the province is seeing increased taxation, higher levels of debt and has also lost millions of dollars of investment.

“We will not simply stand by passively and allow the NDP to win the next election by default in vote-splitting. Today, Alberta conservatives, in all of their diversity, have decided that we are stronger united.”

Earlier in the afternoon, as mentioned, an overwhelming majority of Wildrose Party members who cast ballots on uniting with the Progressive Conservatives supported the move.

Party members spent the day at the Radisson Hotel in Red Deer discussing party business and the pros and cons of the move, and ultimately came away supporting it much to the delight of Wildrose Leader Brian Jean.

“Thank you for ‘yes’,” he told an ecstatic gathering. “What a day for Albertans – what a day for Conservatives and what a day for Wildrose members,” he said.

“I said from the very beginning that members needed to make this decision for our party,” he said. “And today, they said yes!

“Yes to a brighter future. Yes to building on everything that we have accomplished. And yes to saving Albertans from the NDP government,” he said.

“Thank you to our members who have never let us down,” he said. “Who have been the lifeblood of our party for nearly a decade.

“Thank you for your time, your donations, and for your passion and love for Alberta,” he added.

“I want to say to all the Wildrose members and to all Albertans, today is not the end of Wildrose, but a new beginning where we are one step closer to putting power back into the hands of of the ordinary working people of Alberta,” he said.

“We are together going to restore conservative principles to our great province,” he said, adding the party sold about 25,000 memberships in just two months leading up to the unity vote.

“What we have achieved together is nothing short of remarkable,” he said, adding that serving as Wildrose leader since March of 2015 has been the greatest honour of his life.

“This job matters. It matters because what politicians do affects our loved ones, our friends and our neighbours.

“We participated in this today because we are here to make a difference for our future.

“I’ve seen the unbreakable hope and the determination of all Albertans to once again make our province the very best that it can be,” he said.

Next up, a leadership election is set to happen this October with a founding convention next year.