It’s shaping up to be a province-changing proposition. That is, the proposition that the Wildrose and PC parties should unit to form a new party.
According to Drayton-Devon MLA Mark Smith, who represents most of the County of Wetaskiwin and is a Wildrose member, the lead-up to the July 8 cut-off for selling memberships was hectic. “We’ve seen quite a run,” said Smith by phone July 14.
He noted July 8 had special significance because only those memberships sold by that date will allow the holder to vote on the future of the party. He noted, as of the first week of July, the Wildrose party was at just over 42,000 members. Smith said a month and a half ago, the party had about 29,000 members, an almost 50 per cent increase in a few weeks.
He stated the party recently mailed out 42,000 letters pertaining to the July 22 vote, to be held all day in Red Deer’s Radisson Hotel on the west edge of the city, just short of Hwy#2 on Hwy#11.
Smith said the schedule for that day is still be finalized, but may include some special guests and speakers. He said he plans to attend the Red Deer event and vote for the party’s future in person.
However, for those members who cannot attend in person, their mail-out letter will include a unique PIN and call-in information they can use to vote by telephone.
Smith said he was talking with constituency staff and they stated about 700 memberships were sold close enough to the July 8 deadline that a mail-out letter may not reach them. For those new members, the party is going to phone them with their call-in information.
The MLA said over the last few weeks he’s heard from people on both sides of the issue: should Wildrose and PC unite to form a new party called the United Conservative Party?
“There are lots of people who are very, very happy being Wildrosers,” said Smith, noting he himself is a very loyal member of the party.
“At the same time there are many convincing arguments why we need to be united.”