County of Wetaskiwin MLA Mark Smith says not surprised Wildrosers voted ‘unity’

Drayton-Devon MLA says only surprise on July 22 Unite the Right vote was huge majority

The massive majority that Wildrose members gave the “Unite the Right” question July 22 wasn’t really a surprise to local Drayton-Devon MLA Mark Smith.

Speaking by phone July 24, Smith said the overwhelming majority decision for the Wildrose Party at Red Deer’s Radisson hotel didn’t catch him off guard. “No, it was not a surprise,” said Smith. “It was a surprise we got 95 per cent.”

While the PC Party, which also voted in favour of unification this past week, needed only 50 per cent plus one vote to ratify the proposal, Wildrose had stricter rules: 75 per cent approval. It’s estimated about 25,000 members voted, out of a roughly 42,000 total membership.

“It’s a huge majority,” said Smith. “I think it says Albertans have made up their minds. They want a united conservative party and they want us working together so we can become the next government.”

Wildrose members had the choice of either voting in person in Red Deer, or phoning in with a unique PIN, plus the lead-up to the vote involved a number of public meetings. Smith said the Wildrose Party has always been committed to grassroots democracy, and the unification vote was a perfect example. “It’s exactly how it works,” he said.

Some critics pointed out the phone-in part of the vote didn’t go as smoothly as planned. But Smith said with 42,000 members, many signing up very recently, there were surprisingly few glitches. Wildrose staff were very dedicated to ensuring all members could vote added Smith.

At the Red Deer event July 22, Smith said the atmosphere was charged. “I’m going to say it’s very upbeat,” said Smith near the vote stations last Saturday. He added that his constituency office was seeing a lot of interest leading up to the vote, two or three people a day contacting the office to find out more.

“For the most part, I think it’s coming together really well,” said Smith.

Now that the unification agreement has been ratified by both parties, they will choose one interim leader while local constituency associations begin the unification process. The interim leader will not be a candidate for leadership of the new United Conservative Party.

Overall, Smith said attending, voting and observing at the Red Deer vote was a memorable experience. “It was a pretty cool experience,” he added.

Just Posted

Almost 100 kgs of suspected cocaine seized at Coutts border crossing

84 bricks of suspected cocaine seized from California residents’ vehicle; largest recorded seizure.

Millet’s longest consecutive serving councillor awarded

Former councilor Eleanor Pydde honoured after 19 years

Wetaskiwin Salvation Army Food Bank seeks community support

CP Holiday Train to visit Wetaskiwin Dec. 6

Calling all Christmas letter lovers

The Pipestone Flyer is publishing letters to Santa in its Christmas Greetings special section

Wetaskiwin named Canada’s eighth most dangerous community

Wetaskiwin ranked last by Maclean’s for youth crimes

Trudeau apologizes for decades of LGBTQ discrimination by federal agencies

‘I am sorry. We are sorry,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Canadians urged to exercise caution in Middle East ahead of protests

Protests are in reaction to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Feds planning to push back delivery date for new fighter jets: sources

The Liberals had planned to buy 18 Super Hornets

Facebook launches parent-controlled Messenger app for kids

It’s currently only available in the U.S. as an app for Apple devices but will be expanded for versions on Android and Amazon tablets

Gregg Zaun apologizes after being fired for inappropriate comments

Former broadcaster was fired after Sportsnet said it received complaints from female employees

Ottawa willing to give more pot tax revenue to provinces to help cities

Finance Minister Bill Morneau willing to increase share next week with provinces and territories

What is your most embarrassing work story?

These 25 scenarios taken from senior managers in North America will make you cringe

COLUMN: Is celebrity gossip your ‘local news’? Ottawa seems to think so

News Media Canada board chair reflects on heritage minister’s response to newspaper closures

Most Read