Folding the Wildrose and PCs will be ‘extremely difficult’: political scientist

By: Jeremy Simes

PCs don’t have an official mechanism in place to dismantle the party

Dismantling both the Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives will be no easy task, and the Wildrosers have a lot more to lose financially if Conservative MP Jason Kenney wins the PC leadership, according to a political scientist.

Even though the PC Party will outline rules for leadership hopefuls next week, the Tories don’t have a mechanism within the party to fold — something that may be important if Kenney wins the race.

PC Party President Katherine O’Neill said on Sunday that there will be enough money to pay off their debt of $700,000 by January 1.

Fifteen per cent of all funds from candidates’ leadership races will also be given to the PC Party, she added.

But if all the debt is paid off, any leftover cash will be sacrificed to Elections Canada’s coffers. Cash also can’t be transferred from one party to another.

And If the Wildrose and PC Party do fold due to a Kenney win — which is likely because you can’t merge parties under Canada Law, and Kenney wants only one united conservative party — then the Wildrose will be forking out a lot of cash, according to Lori Williams, political scientist with Mount Royal University.

“They’ve got more money,” she said. “And that money has to go to the government, which I can’t see being very popular with Wildrosers.”

And there may be a bit of squabbling among party members on both sides before the parties close, if they fold, WIlliams said.

“It’s extremely difficult to manage,” she said. “Somebody who is elected the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, trying to again to subsume the Wildrose into the Progressive Conservatives, is something Wildrose members have very strongly resisted for democratic and principal ideological reasons historically.”


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