As the deadline to buy memberships to vote on the question of conservative unity passed, it was said internal polling by both the former Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties shows a strong indication of a victory for the unity question. Of the three who have declared their candidacy for the leadership race that will follow a successful vote for a united party, Doug Schweitzer, Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, Schweitzer had been the only one to release a platform for his leadership bid. However, Brian Jean was in full campaign mode when he sat down with Rick Bell on Thursday. That’s when things became confusing.
|Photo Credit: Twitter, Woods Homes @ChildMntlHealth|
In the last three weeks, I have attended three Alberta Together events, meeting people who are former PC, Wildrose and Liberal supporters. Talking with more than a few of them the issues brought up were: the former PC supporters don’t support Kenney and the merger; the Wildrosers are fed up with the idiocy coming from the elected Mouthpiece Legislative Agitators; and the Liberals? They’re looking for a fresh start. All of them are looking to a party that holds fiscal conservative and socially progressive values. So, apparently, is Brian Jean.
The current leader of the Wildrose party claimed “most Albertans want a common sense, middle of the road government.” That certainly sounds familiar. Greg Clark has been saying this at the “Centre Together” events. Katherine O’Neill has been saying the same at Alberta Together events. Kerry Cundal said the same thing during the Liberal Leadership. One of these things is not like the other; or is it?
“Gone are the days when hard right governments can find success in Alberta” Jean told Rick Bell. Which hard right governments could he possibly be referring to? Certainly not the former PC Party who reigned for 44 years. Sure, Fildebrandt has put out a dog whistle for the Libertarian supporters to “roll back the nanny state“. I mean, who doesn’t want open liquor in the parks? (Spoiler: Anyone’s wife taking their children to a park in their hometown of Calgary and has to deal with drunken arseholes.) Schweitzer took a page from Donald Trump and called for “Two for one” business regulations (remove two regulations for every one introduced) and promised the “biggest tax reduction in Alberta’s history“. For a province that’s currently 11 billion dollars in debt… I just can’t.
Then there’s the Saskatchewan come Ottawa native, the socially conservative Mr. Jason Kenney who has made Alberta both a national and international embarrassment for his stance on Gay Straight Alliances. With the joyously incredulous platforms of the other leadership contenders (and one on the fence), it seems as if Jean truly could be the centrist option for the Wildrose. The question is, would they have him?