In The Media

Stephen Harper closely following unite the right, says former chief of staff

by Tricia Lo (feat. Ian Brodie)

CBC News
May 13, 2016

If Alberta's unite the right movement doesn't get its act together, Ottawa Conservatives, including former prime minister Stephen Harper, could well step in, says one political insider. 

According to Ian Brodie, former chief of staff to Stephen Harper, right-wing MPs have long been "frustrated" by the inability of the Wildrose and PC parties to work together in a province where the federal Conservatives are by far the most popular political party.

Brodie said Harper is watching Alberta politics intently, even if he's keeping a low profile.

"I don't doubt that he's paying close attention, and his expertise and advice will be available to whoever can make it work."

Federal party has money and expertise

Brodie suggested that the Conservatives have the fundraising and organizational capacity to get things rolling where the PCs and Wildrose have stalled.

"Federal Conservatives — even in what was an off election for the party — still won almost 400,000 votes more than the PCs and the Wildrose did in the last provincial election," Brodie said.

"There are people there who are experienced at doing this and used to winning big in Alberta. That's a pool of talent, a pool of ideas, a pool of people that are available once we get the vehicle together," he said.

Barry McNamar, the head of a political action group trying to unite conservatives, says it's not clear yet if a third conservative party is needed.

McNamar said the Wildrose and PC parties could still cooperate, even if there is no official merger.

"The discussions are taking place between the two parties, certainly at the executive level," McNamar said.

"Progress is being made. What we have right now is a great deal of impatience."

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