Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean said he has been trying to unite conservatives, long before PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney started his unite-the-right campaign.
Jean stopped by the legion in St. Albert on Thursday afternoon to talk about conservative values and to drum up support for his party.
Jean was responding to Kenney's pitch to join right wing Alberta under one party to overcome the NDP in the 2019 election.
“We need to continue to work leading the conversation on consolidating conservatives across the province,” Jean said. “I've been trying to consolidate conservatives under the Wildrose for the last year and it's working.”
He questioned if Kenney really wanted to unite the right.
“I did not have a conversation before he made the announcement that he was going to do this and he's had my phone number and my email address for 12 years — it has not changed,” Jean said. “The truth is if he was so interested in doing that, then why didn't he call me before?”
Along with casting doubt on Kenney's quest, the MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin questioned whether some of the current Progressive Conservative Party members were true conservatives. Jean said that Sandra Jansen, a potential candidate to run for the PC leadership position, supported Justin Trudeau in the last election and said that does not make her a true conservative.
“Let's let them decide who they are because I clearly don't think they – the PCs – have been conservatives for the last seven or eight years and I would suggest most Albertans agree with that,” Jean said.
Despite his perception of some of the PC MLAs, Jean said that if the Wildrose party members wanted to merge with the Progressive Conservatives that he would support the union of the parties. Until then, Jean will not be distracted from his duties as leader of the Wildrose party.
His focus until then is a Wildrose victory in the 2019 election and thinks his party will be the most certain path to a conservative victory over the NDP.
Jean zeroed in on healthcare, carbon tax and education in his short speech as the big issues that need attention to achieve his vision for Alberta.
Jean also said the province's response to the fentanyl crisis was too slow.
“I think if they would have reacted more quickly we would be further along at this stage,” Jean said. “In the case of fentanyl when we are almost seeing one life lost every single day, and the nature of those lives they are usually young people, that is very damaging to the long term health of our entire society.”
Jean's stop in St. Albert is part of his tour across Alberta to meet everyday Albertans.