2014-12-21 03:38:58 UTC
There's a sales tax coming for Alberta and the PCs don't want any opposition
out there to challenge it.
Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald - December 18, 2014
Manning likes the look of PC and Wildrose unity
While the defection of Danielle Smith and the majority of the Wildrose caucus
to Premier Jim Prentice’s government has prompted an outpouring of scorn, the
former opposition leader has found some high-profile supporters.
Preston Manning — the founder of the Reform party and an icon of western
Canadian conservatism — backed the plan on Thursday, a day after the move of
the nine MLAs to the Tory benches became official.
Manning said he sees the logic of Prentice and Smith’s idea of bringing
conservatives together around a set of common principles,
especially with a financial crisis looming because of low oil prices.
“It’s more important what Albertans’ blessing is, but I think it’s a positive
development if it results in the government coming to grips with this fiscal
situation,” he said in an interview Thursday.
Manning said he spoke to Wildrose caucus members Tuesday as they met in
Edmonton to discuss the idea of crossing the floor to the Tories.
He said he didn’t encourage them to make the move but laid out options and
stressed the need for unity — either as a caucus or with the Tories.
“If ever there was a time for Albertans to pull together, no matter what the
political stripe, and particularly for conservatives to pull together, now was
the time,” said Manning, who now runs the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.
Manning — who pushed efforts to “unite-the-right” federally after Reform’s
breakthrough — said he also warned about the dangers of a new party plateauing
and “slipping back” in public support.
But Jeff Callaway, the new president of the Wildrose Party, said Manning’s
arguments about the needs for conservatives to work together were “pretty poor
and false” since the PCs and Wildrose have been the two dominant parties in the
province for a number of years.
He said that makes the situation vastly different from Manning’s work to bring
together two federal opposition parties in order to take on the Liberals.
Smith, the Highwood MLA who was Wildrose leader until Wednesday, has requested
that party members vote on a “reunification resolution” to come together with
Manning said he would like to see that vote happen but the idea has been
rejected by the party’s executive committee.
Smith’s defection caused a torrent of criticism from Wildrose supporters, party
executives and former candidates, particularly on social media where many
labelled her and the eight other MLAs who jumped ship as traitors.
But High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass — a constituent of Smith — said she made
the best decision for her riding and dismissed much of the backlash as “laughable.”
“To me it’s hilarious that people feel personally betrayed over this,” he said.
“It’s the No. 1 reason I don’t like party politics,” Snodgrass added. “Because
you get locked into this dogmatic party view on things and you cannot look
outside of it. And that hurts everybody around you.”
Snodgrass praised Smith for having “the guts to cross the floor and join a
leader that she views as being stronger.”
“People will come up with all of the conspiracy theories of this, that and the
other thing,” Snodgrass said. “But I tell you what, I don’t care. That’s a bold
move. And I love bold moves.”
But the Wildrose’s Callaway said it’s disturbing to see people celebrating
because their MLA is crossing the floor.
“I guess, what do we need a democracy for?”