Opinion Column

Now that we have unity, it’s time to get to work

Ron Orr is the MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka

By Ron Orr, MLA Lacombe-Ponoka

(left to right) Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney announce that they have reached a deal to merge the parties and create the United Conservative Party, during a press conference in Edmonton Thursday May 18, 2017. (David Bloom/Postmedia Network)

(left to right) Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney announce that they have reached a deal to merge the parties and create the United Conservative Party, during a press conference in Edmonton Thursday May 18, 2017. (David Bloom/Postmedia Network)

July 22, 2017 – this will be a day that goes down in the history books of our great province.

On this day, conservatives of various stripes put their differences aside, and united for the greater good of Albertans.

This was truly a victory for the people of this province and the democratic process.

Tens of thousands of Albertans bought memberships and voted to ratify an agreement bringing the Wildrose and PC parties together. The decision was overwhelming. On both sides, 95 per cent of members said yes to unity, a massive mandate to move forward.

Members have driven this process from the very beginning, and we trust their direction.

Now that the unity vote is behind us, our United Conservative Party caucus is turning its attention to the next steps in the unity process.

As you may well know, July 24 triggered the unofficial start of a leadership race for the United Conservative Party.

So far Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, PC Leader Jason Kenney and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer have signaled their intent to run in this race. Other potential candidates will likely declare once the rules are released.

We wish all candidates the very best in their upcoming campaigns.

Six members from each legacy party formed an Interim Joint Board for the new party, which will envelope the Wildrose, PCs and the United Conservative Party.

The United Conservative Party has registered with Elections Alberta and the Speaker of the Legislature has been informed of our new, united caucus.

It’s important to remember the work of the Legislature is of the utmost importance, even as the leadership campaigns become a larger focus for Albertans.

On July 24, our caucus met for the very first time and elected an interim leader to steer us through the following months.

Our interim leader Nathan Cooper, the MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, will be at the helm of the United Conservative Party caucus for about three months, holding the NDP government to account and managing operations at the Legislature.

An interim leader is a very important role in our democracy, and we wish Mr. Cooper the very best in his duties. The interim leader will also sit on the joint board mentioned above, along with one MLA from each of the Wildrose and PC legacy parties.

While the policies of the new United Conservative Party are being debated, it’s important to remember that our MLAs remain dedicated first and foremost to their constituents.

The Lacombe-Ponoka constituency voted in great numbers for this new united party. As the NDP government continues to fail working Alberta families by imposing policies that cause job losses, I, along with my colleagues will continue to advocate on your behalf for strong, common sense alternatives that create jobs and encourages investment for Albertans.

Every member of our caucus will make his or her decisions based on what’s best for the working families of this province, not insiders or special interest groups.

We promise to make the next chapter of Alberta’s history the greatest chapter yet.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any issue, feel free to contact my office at 403-782-7725 or e-mail me Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca .



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