Uniting the right has become a topic of controversy in Alberta ever since the Progressive Conservatives lost the election and the conservative vote was split.
Combined, the PC and Wildrose Party took over 50% of the vote and would have easily won the election under a united conservative party. There are many facets to the unite the right campaign. Some don’t want to unite at all, while one side wants to unite under the PC’s, another under the Wildrose and others want to form an entirely different party. A third party poses a significant risk to the outcome of the next provincial election. It will split the vote even further and it’s a bad idea even though it seems like a new third party might be an option with all of the predicaments both conservative parties in Alberta have gotten themselves into.
The problem with the PC’s is they’ve given up far too much ground to the left. Alison Redford became leader of the party by capturing the teacher’s union votes. That was the first sign that something was amiss – compare that to the ultra leftist union-friendly NDP and it’s difficult to see the differences between PC’s and the NDP. Then there was the overspending, abuse of power, abuse of government resources – the list goes on. Add MLA’s like Sandra Jansen and Prab Gill who openly support federal Liberals in elections and it seems the PC party has a Liberal/Conservative divide within it’s own ranks.
There is a home for progressives that call themselves conservatives in the Alberta Party and with Alberta Liberals. These opportunists were able to win elections on the back of the PC brand, but it’s no longer an option since PC’s were decimated in the last election.
Then there’s the Wildrose Party, who have suffered some major PR disasters. First, there was the so-called “Lake of Fire” incident where a pastor condemned gays to a place of eternal suffering and called the Edmonton school system “Godless.” The Wildrose were leading in polls at the time but that incident cost them the election. Then there was the floor crossing where nine MLA’s, including leader Danielle Smith, double crossed the party and moved to the PC’s. This strategy lost the Wildrose yet another election and played directly into Jim Prentice’s hands, effectively wiping out the official opposition. Fast forward to today and there’s another PR disaster on the party’s hands.
The threat of a third party forming is looming and it’s a result of what the PC and Wildrose parties are reflecting to the people of Alberta. When division within conservative ranks is apparent, it’s fodder for the left. In fact, it’s exactly what they want to see and only takes them one step further to winning another election.
Whether conservatives move to an already formed party or form one big tent party, it’s in the best interest of Albertans and will undoubtedly be effective in ousting the NDP from government.