There is no legal impediment to a merger between the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties, according to a report released Monday by five Alberta lawyers.
Calling themselves the Alberta Conservative Consolidation Committee, the group has been examining Alberta election laws since December.
As complicated as a merger would be, it found it would not contravene any rules or restrictions under Alberta’s elections and finance legislation.
Should PC and Wildrose leadership and their members choose to merge, the report states, the parties could amalgamate under Alberta law without government consent or penalty – as long as they follow “a proscribed path.”
Further, the group found that a merger wouldn’t result in sanctions pertaining to transfer of assets between parties.
“Amalgamations in and of their nature are fusions of assets, not transfers of assets,” they wrote.
Alberta’s chief electoral officer Glen Resler has long said assets and cash cannot be transferred between political parties in the province, though in the past newly elected Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney has hinted at a legal challenge to that.
Kenney will meet with Wildrose leader Brian Jean at 3 p.m. in Edmonton Monday to talk unity.
It’s the first post-victory meeting for the former federal Conservative colleagues, who are both angling for leadership of a united conservative force in Alberta politics.
Kenney won 75 per cent of the PC leadership convention vote in Calgary over the weekend on a mandate of forming a new conservative party with the Wildrose.
While Jean is pro-unity, he has set out his own path to that goal, which absorbs PCs into his party.
Jean argues it’s quicker, less disruptive and avoids his party having to get rid of all of its assets and cash which, according to Alberta elections rules, cannot be transferred between parties.
The meeting will be closed to media, but Jean and Kenney are expected to release a joint statement this afternoon.
Premier Rachel Notley offered her congratulations to Kenney Monday, and said she’s not terribly concerned about a united right.
She also called on Kenney to be transparent about his policy plans.
While Notley didn’t rule out calling a snap election before conservatives figure out their party, her focus right now isn’t sending Albertans to the polls.
“My job as premier is to be focused on Albertans, and on making life better for Albertans,” she said.
“In the longer term, as we get closer to an election, I look forward to having our mainstream ideas contradicted with the rather more extreme ideas that we hear from folks on the other side of the aisle.”
Jean earlier told reporters he did not expect the first meeting between he and Kenney to be particularly long.
He isn’t going in with any predetermined outcome, he said, but will talk about the structure of the new party moving forward and how to best protect Wildrose members.