Today marked the first time the United Conservative Party met as a caucus.
A historic vote on Saturday led to Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party forming one right of centre party in the province.
During today’s inaugural meeting, an interim leader was selected. Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper will steer the ship for the time being.
“He’s great with legislative business, as far as knowing how things operate there. He’s smart and well spoken, honest and hard working. So, all you could ask for in a leader,” said Todd Loewen, Grande Prairie-Smoky MLA and now former member of the Wildrose.
Cooper, also a former Wildrose Party member, defeated Richard Gotfried and Prasad Panda for the interim leadership.
Loewen says there is a lot of work moving forward.
“A lot of the work will be on the party side, as far as the two parties coming together, developing policies and that sort of thing. Of course, probably the next big step is the leadership race, which will probably kick-off here right away.”
That leadership race is seemingly underway, as former Wildrose leader Brian Jean announced his candidacy from Airdrie this afternoon.
“We need to build a new Alberta Advantage for all Albertans so we can create tens-of-thousands of new jobs and secure our long-term prosperity,” Jean said. “We cannot risk putting our new party in a position that leaves us vulnerable by the time of the next election. I will be here for Albertans, championing them and standing on their side every step of the way.”
“I’m a trapper, I’m a hunter, and yes, even a lawyer… I know and love this province, and together, we as Albertans have walked through flood and fire. We built our province from sod busting, cattle ranching and drilling into the best place on the planet,” Jean added.
The United Conservative Party leadership vote will take place October 28, 2017.