Alberta Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says his team and the Wildrose party have made progress on a unity plan and an announcement is coming soon.
Representatives from both sides have narrowed the gap on key points of disagreement. “We still have to come to an agreement. And we’ll let you know when we do. Stay tuned. I’m optimistic that we’re getting close.”
Friday was the self-imposed deadline for the parties to work out a merger plan.
“This was never a hard deadline,” Kenney told reporters during a briefing at the plaza of the Federal Building Friday morning. “We made it clear that it could go beyond that. We were setting that as an aspirational goal for the unity discussion group. We wanted to set an ambitious timeline. We’re working on it as we speak, just stay tuned, I think we’re getting very close. The differences have narrowed considerably.”
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said this week the ongoing discussions have been positive, but also said the work is too important to rush.
Members of both parties would have to ratify any proposed unity deal. Six weeks have gone by so far in the talks. Kenney admitted there is still work to do, admitting there is a chance they’ll never get there, although he’s not letting his thoughts go there. “There’s always been a possibility. There’s never been ontological certitude that this agreement will be achieved but I think it’s likely. I think we’ve come much closer in the last month. We’re not going to negotiate in public. I’m optimistic we’ll come to an agreement soon.
It was pointed out that since Kenney won the leadership, members of the party’s board have resigned. Kenney said that is always inevitable. “Just so you know there’s 50 board positions on the P.C. board. It’s like the cast of Ben Hur. It’s a very large board. And after every leadership election there’s going to be some people who choose to leave.”
Both Kenney and Jean have said they will run for the leadership of the merged party.
(The Canadian Press – with files from 630 CHED)