Wildrose party leader Brian Jean and Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt met with Wildrose party members at the Strathmore Roadhouse on August 10 to talk about a number of issues, such as the ‘unite the right’ movement, building up the party and the New Democratic Party (NDP).
One of the recurring issues was the idea of uniting the right; that is, uniting the Progressive Conservative (PC) and Wildrose in the hopes of beating the NDP. Wildrose party members voiced their worries the move was similar to what caused voters to lose confidence in the party in the last election, when former leader Danielle Smith and a number of others crossed the floor to join with the PC party.
“Albertans lost confidence in politicians, they lost confidence in both parties,” said Jean. “While I have been going across the province, I have heard people say they can’t trust the PCs and we can’t trust the Wildrose because of the floor cross. Well we did floor cross and we had three guys who didn’t floor cross. Now, the best thing we can do for our party is make sure Albertans chose us in the next elections.”
Despite the previous loss of confidence in the party, Jean explained the Wildrose has polled in the lead for the past five months across the province except in Edmonton where they were polling at a close second. At the time, the party had polled in at 38 per cent in Calgary with the PC polling in at 24 per cent and the NDP at 18 per cent. He believes the reason for this support from Albertans is the party remains focused on the NDP and has not played any of these political games since the elections last year.
The Wildrose has set itself to reporting on the shortcomings of the NDP government, but Jean states there are simply not enough journalists to delve too deeply into these issues.
Unite the right remained on the forefront of the members’ questions. Jean said that all over the province, people felt differently about the issue, and as someone who is involved in politics, he sees the need for uniting the parties in order to win. But that couldn’t happen unless the PC party rids itself of the political baggage and anyone who may owe any favours.
Jean also said the party was continuing to grow as they gained more members and will continue to appeal to the one million voters in Alberta in order to beat the NDP in the next election in 2019.
Jean was also asked about the situation in Fort McMurray. He resides in the town and is MLA for the Fort McMurray-Conklin area, and is one of the many residents who lost his home to the forest fires that started in May this year. He stated many people who have returned are already rebuilding as best they can despite the process being slow going. He said he is already building a bigger house and has applied for a permit.
“I am persistent. If I don’t get my way right now, I plan on being premier in two years and I will fix it then.”