MOVING AHEAD - Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean chats with supporters at the Radisson Hotel in Red Deer on Saturday afternoon after learning that his party supported joining forces with the Progressive Conservatives by a margin of 95%. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Wildrose vote in overwhelming support of uniting the right

Just over 95% of members who cast votes agree to join forces with the provincial Tories

An overwhelming majority of Wildrose Party members who cast ballots in Saturday’s vote on uniting with the Progressive Conservatives support the move.

More than 95% of votes showed support to ‘unite the right’.

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.

The Progressive Conservatives are expected to announce their voting results on unifying the right shortly after 6 p.m. this evening from Calgary.

“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, adding he does intend on landing the leadership role of the newly-formed party should the Tories sign on.

“I need to step down so that we can rise up together and take back our province.”

Next up, should the Tories give the unity vote its support, a leadership election is set to happen this October with a founding convention next year.