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With the rumblings that former Harper gov't minister and current CPC opposition MP Jason Kenney deciding to announce whether he's making the jump to run for the Alberta PC leadership in order to forge the merger between the Wildrose and PCs, I will tell you this based on history, which is known to repeat itself.
Kenney is already doomed.
He likely doesn't see himself winning the CPC leadership and if he won, Trudeau would beat him anyway, so he might as well get his leadership fix in Alberta where there is a big vacuum.
No candidate from any party who has advocated for merging with another party has actually won the leadership. In some cases, the opposite is true.
When Stephen Harper won the Canadian Alliance leadership, he forged ahead saying, "The Canadian Alliance is strong and the Canadian Alliance is here to stay." I know, I was there at the Edmonton convention doing stage security for him when he said it. PC MP Peter MacKay was milling about that convention. Of course, Harper's declaration was true when Joe Clark was leader of the PCs. When Clark stepped down, Peter MacKay won the job at the delegated convention with a napkin promise to David Orchard that he wouldn't merge the PCs with the Alliance. Soon after, the 90% of PC delegates voted to merge and in 2003, the Conservative Party was born, Harper then ran for the leadership and won and the rest is history up until last year.
In Alberta, after decades of not righting a wrong, the PCAA has also now smartly moved back to a delegated convention. With the vote in one year, Kenney needed to have already quietly integrated his minions into many riding associations. If he starts now, that's barely enough time. Then again, a day is a lifetime in politics and I don't think any of the other folks thinking of running for the leadership of the PCAA are that well organized either.
That said, when federal parties get involved in provincial circles, it's an awkward situation, especially here in Alberta when the CPC has so many political cousins in both the Wildrose and PCs.
It would seem natural and logical that those involved in the Alberta Prosperity Fund who want to merge the two parties would learn from their history and simply follow what the federal PCs and Canadian Alliance did 14 years ago. (Wow, has it been that long?)
This takes a willingness from those at the top to have a third-party broker a deal for an agreement of an initial set of common policies besides "beat the NDP at all costs" between the leadership of both parties over a few days.
I don't know what the rules are on naming a provincial party, but it would also seem logical that this merged party obviously be called "The Conservative Party of Alberta".
Then, the leadership would need to go back to its membership and vote on this deal, then have a new leadership race.
And that's the difference here with thinking you can have a saviour come in and bring it all together. The PCs just tried to do this with Jim Prentice and that ended up being an epic failure--even when he lured over Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and a pile of that caucus.
You can't tie a merger deal with the personality of a candidate and the people don't give a rats ass which MLAs have flipped/crossed the floor. Remember the DRC?
Give the members the decision to merge the parties based on a common policy set and worry about personalities in a leadership race afterward.
And I just had a thought who might win that leadership.
He did it federally.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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