A unite the right meeting held by the Strathmore-Brooks Wildrose Constituency Association at the Strathmore Legion attracted over 100 people on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt led the discussion about the unification of conservatives in Alberta.
Fildebrandt’s main message was clear, that Alberta needs to get rid of the NDP in power and uniting the conservatives in the province is the surest way to accomplish this.
But Fildebrandt told the attendees, mostly Wildrose members or supporters, with a few Progressive Conservatives in the crowd, that it would be up to them.
“We are at a crossroad right now,” said Fildebrandnt.
“Big decisions are being made and I want you all to know that you are in the driver’s seat.”
“I will make no move without your explicit consent,” he told the audience.
Fildebrandt said that through his conversations with constituents and others in the province the consensus is that people want to see a unified conservative movement to defeat the NDP.
“I don’t want a return of the old government,” he said.
“But I do want a new government based on grassroots democracy… I don’t expect the decision to unite will be unanimous, but I have a pretty good sense that we want to move broadly in the same direction.”
The meeting was held after Wildrose leader Brian Jean said on Jan. 26 that he now is willing to support a united conservative party and would run for its leadership. Former MP Jason Kenney, who is the favourite to become the new leader of the provincial PC’s has been running on the platform of creating a new party.
“Any new party must be driven entirely by the grassroots membership of the Wildrose and PC parties,” said Fildebrandt.
He continued that Alberta must never do what prior PC governments have done in the past.
“We must never have politicians put themselves ahead of Alberta,” he said.
“It’s not merely enough to just defeat the NDP. We have to think about what kind of government we want after the next election. We need to ensure the new party is built on a solid and firm foundation of conservative principles. I think we have enough common ground with the PC’s to do this.”
He also went on to say that he trusts Jason Kenney and that he is a real conservative.
“What Kenney and Jean are doing is truly admirable,” said Fildebrandt.
“Both of them have cancelled their plans to do something bigger and better, and I think we owe them a lot for that.”
Before he answered questions, he predicted the NDP will be defeated in the next election.
“If 2015 was the orange crush, 2019 will be the orange flush,” said Fildebrandt.
“We must not only defeat the NDP, we must destroy it and undo their legacy root and branch.”
Throughout the meeting Fildebrandt answered questions from those in the audience about their concerns and the MLA also listened to their input. Most of the 100 or so people were in favour of the merger, only one or two did not agree.
Responding to a question from an attendee Fildebrandt said that he would not be interested in running for the leadership of a newly formed conservative party.