There are a dozen reasons that this Unity initiative is corrupted. Each of us know reasons in common but each of us have personal stories that confirm how bad it has been. I will tell you mine.
Early on, when Brian Jean first started pushing Unity I spoke with him about the message he was sending, asking why he was talking about a merger with the defunct PC Party. This was, I now know, well after he had already registered a New Party under the Societies Act and had laid out his plans in a private email to friends and cohorts within our Party, but he did not share that with me or with our Wildrose members. When I asked him why he was throwing a lifeline to the PC Party – a Party that had been soundly rejected by the electorate and that was deep in debt and on its last legs – he answered me this way: Oh don’t worry Sharon, it’s never going to happen. But we have to send a message that we are willing to try because, now listen carefully because this is a quote: the people with the money want us to do this. I was, needless to say, a little shocked. I know politicians cater to “the people with the money” all the time – after all, we’d had years of the PC Party doing just that – but it was rare to hear one of them say this out loud. Granted we were talking privately but still, he had no reason to think that I would not share his explanation. It turns out I was more naïve than I realized; the leadership in both of the merging Parties seem not to mind the public knowing that they are doing this in order to “follow the money”. One of the biggest lobbiest in support of the Unity agreement, that Brian Jean has hired, is the Alberta association of Petroleum Producers. It no longer seems to be taboo to be in the back pocket of corporate Canada.
So, the rest is history. Jean proceeded to go from “it’s never going to happen”, to it’s never going to happen unless it happens under the banner, structure and Constitution of the Wildrose Party” to “forget about the Wildrose Party, we have a much better elitist, top-down, a hand-picked few will make all the decisions” New Party option for you” accompanied with the moral threat: “you’d better pass this Unity Agreement because if you don’t the voters will punish us.”
It has been one of the most insidious, cynical performance on the part, not just of Brian Jean but of Jason Kenney, of the PC Party (after all, what have we come to expect of that Party) and even the invasive federal CPC which has interfered at every level with the business of our provincial politics.
Let’s be honest here: Jason Kenney and the PCs have nothing to lose and everything to gain, just as they did when Jim Prentice and Danielle Smith and 90% of our Caucus got into bed with one another in 2014. Before Jean decided to throw them a lifeline they were on their last legs, both morally and financially, so of course they would want to absorb a healthy, fiscally rich Party. But it is utterly baffling why the Leader of the only credible, strong and growing Party would want to dismantle it to benefit this publicly demoralized PC Party. From the point of view of the general public Wildrose is not saddled with the baggage the PCs are. So, the only conclusion I can come up with is that our leaders are being bought off by “the people with the money”. Is this what we want the legacy of the honest, eternally-struggling against all odds, Wildrose to be? I think not – I know I sure don’t. So, please decide against this dishonorable Unity Agreement. Let’s Preserve Wildrose and make it the only home for all true Alberta conservatives. Please Vote NO to the Unity Agreement.