Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr said that local meetings held recently are a way to gauge how the public feels about several current issues, including a possible merger with the Conservatives.
“This is a complicated process moving forward,” he said, adding there some key things to consider in regards to the province’s conservative movement working to find a common voice.
“For some people, that strictly means merging parties. For other people, it means we go through a more organic process where individuals eventually migrate to a message and the leader and the vote coalesces in and of itself around one of those parties,” he said. “It could be either one of those versions – or multiple things in between.
“I think that generally, politics in Alberta is more fractured and more conflicted now maybe then it’s been in the past – I think that’s a fair statement about much of the western world quite honestly,” he said, adding there is a need for people in general to find a common ground somehow. “Ideally, that’s what I’d like to see happen. But a big conversation has to happen to get there,” he said.
Meanwhile, Orr said he has heard a wide variety of opinions and thoughts from constituents across the riding in connection to the idea of merging the two parties.
“There are definitely some folk who feel that they do not want the NDP in the next election no matter what – and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure or to guarantee that doesn’t happen. There are a number of others though who you could say are a little bit more purist politically in the sense that they don’t necessarily want to do just anything.
“They want to have the opportunity to reset the button on the conservative movement in our province, and maybe resolve what the deep philosophical and structural issues are that led to the demise of the past PC era.”
Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean also weighed in on the topic during a recent town hall meeting in Lacombe, part of a series of three events that took place in Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka.
“I need to set the record straight: I have been for unity always. I believe consolidated conservatives will be best – we are stronger together. We have stronger decision-making when we reflect the views of everyone,” Jean said, as he addressed the crowd at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
“I believe in consolidated movement, if and only if, we can do so in a way that maintains our Wildrose principals and grassroots way of doing things.”
Jean said that he believes the two parties could be brought together using the legal framework and foundation of the Wildrose party. He said he believes people know, ‘Wildrose is a vehicle that gives membership power’.
He also said that he believes the parties could be unified before the next election, and that he hopes Albertans will step up to provide feedback on the issue so that the two parties could begin legal processes to unify them.
“I don’t want Albertans to lose hope. I think Alberta will be better than it ever has been before. We’ve seen an exodus of some of the population, but the truth is that the end of the struggle is not that far away.”
-with files from Kalisha Mendonsa