By Fabian Mayer, February 9 2016 —
Since the NDP’s surprising victory in last year’s provincial election, there has been talk of merging Alberta’s two right-of-centre parties, the Wildrose party and the previously-governing Progressive Conservatives.
The Gauntlet sat down with Wildrose on Campus (WROC) president Jenn Galandy and U of C Progressive Conservative Association VP events Miguel Albarracin to discuss how the unite the right movement is playing out at the University of Calgary.
The Gauntlet: What is your club’s position on the idea of uniting the right in Alberta?
Jenn Galandy: I’d say we’re open to the possibility right now. What really is unite the right? Is it creating a third party? Is it merging the two parties? We don’t know yet. But we are open to the idea and we’re discussing it within our club, within our constituency associations and we’ll see what happens.
Miguel Albarracin: Our position right now is just getting a feel around the province.
G: Yes or no answer. Would you like to see a merged right-wing party in Alberta?
JG: I don’t know if I can say a definite yes, but uniting the right worked federally so I could see it possibly working. Like Brian Jean says, we need the right people with the right ideas and we have to keep that in mind.
MA: No. There’s lots of discussion going on and as party members we have a responsibility to Albertans directly and that’s not the feeling we’re getting from party members as well as regular Albertans.
G: So you think the PCs can win the next election with two right-wing parties in the province?
MA: I think so. I’m pretty confident that’s possible because a lot of the issue is making sure we show Albertans that we have progressive conservative values. We’re unique that way and I think Albertans like what we propose.
G: What’s the relationship like between your two clubs?
JG: It’s pretty good. We actually had a joint Christmas party. I reached out to many PC executives and members, I’ve invited them to WROC events. I haven’t personally been invited to any of their events yet. I would go if I was, but I think we’re doing a pretty good job at reaching out.
MA: The relationship with the Wildrose club is pretty good. We keep discussion open. I think we get to the right issues. I’m confident that the discussion that’s going on is to the benefit of our members and our party.
G: What is your respective clubs’ membership looking like?
MA: Right now our membership is growing parallel with the province-wide opinion of the party. I think the PCs are on the rise. We’re confident that our strategy is working.
JG: Our membership has grown a lot since last year. We had about 30 members last year with our
e-mail list at around 60 and we have 60 members already this year with our e-mail list at around 100.
G: What are the numbers for the PC club?
MA: Right now we are hitting about 60 members. I was pretty happy at Clubs Week. People were coming in and asking ‘where do you guys stand?’ We discuss it with them, we tell them this is what we’re about. Things are going pretty good and it’s on the rise again.
JG: So is that 60 paid members or 60 on the e-mail list?
MA: It’s 60 on the e-mail list. Actually paying members is about three-quarters of that.
G: So it looks like for now the Christmas party will be the only thing that’s merged between you?
JG: I’m open to more events and I’ll continue to reach out. I guess it’s up to the PCs if they want to join along with that.
MA: I absolutely think that a yearly Christmas party is really good. We got together and had pretty good talks and I really enjoyed it. I’m definitely open to keeping that an annual thing.
Edited and for brevity and clarity