It was standing room only at a town hall meeting held in Rimbey last Wednesday by Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean.
“I am going to be the next premier of Alberta,” he told the crowd gathered in the conference room at the Best Western Hotel. “I truly believe the best days for our province lies ahead of us, not behind us.”
His bold statement brought an enthusiastic round of applause from the audience, as did his comment that the NDP party must never be allowed to run again.
“The biggest mistake they have made is they have not consulted with the people. They are not listening to the people and acting on their behalf.”
Jean stressed that Alberta is a wonderful province that needs to regain its power.
“Alberta has been pushed around and treated like a second cousin by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,” he said. “We can be a shining beacon to the rest of the world if we do it right.”
The carbon tax needs to dissolve, he said.
“I would take the carbon tax and rip it up (if I was premier). It’s a bad tax and it’s hurting us.”
Jean emphasized that the best democracy is one in which the people make the decisions.
He said the final decision as to the merging of the Wildrose Party and the Conservatives needs to be determined by the people. He said he would step down as leader and run for the top position in the new party if it is approved by Wildrose and Progressive Conservative members.
“My job is to provide options to you,” he said.
He noted that a merged party must be open and transparent and the Wildrose legal framework would need to be preserved.
“The government must not be home to cronies who hold secret meetings and make decisions without consulting the people,” he said.
MLA Jason Nixon said time is of the essence regarding the unification of Wildrose and the Conservative Party.
“We have to do it soon than later (if it is going to happen),” he stressed.
Jean noted the party is strong in rural Alberta, but need to fight harder in the cities for support.
“Rural Alberta matters,” said Nixon. “I’m proud to be from rural Alberta.”
Frank Hummel, who was in attendance at the town hall meeting said he is impressed with Brian Jean.
“I think he’s sincere,” he said, “but I’m a little bit hesitant to see the two parties unite. I’m not a PC fan.”
Norma Harris from Bluffton said she was pleased with Jean’s talk.
“The part about being grassroots is really important to me. I want to be heard. I am pleased with MLA Jason Nixon as well.”
Harris said unifying the two parties makes sense.
“It is not going to be a smooth and easy transition though,” she said.
Allan Nadeau from Rimbey said unification of the two parties is necessary.
“I think it has to be. Alberta has to do something.”