Like the Music Man, Jason Kenney blew into town with a message: We’ve got trouble folks! Trouble with a capital “T” that rhymes with “P” and that stands for “Progressive!”
The Music Man says we don’t need no “accidental government” to lead this province astray, and we certainly don’t need no social engineering in our education system to confuse the young ones. We gotta figure out a way to make this madness stop.
And like the townsfolk of River City we want to know how the Music Man will rid us of the socialists and deliver us safely into the hands of a “single united free enterprise party” he calls the Conservative Party of Alberta.
Here’s his plan.
One: elect Mr Kenney to be leader of the Progressive Conservative party
Mr Kenney and his supporters are (or will be) card carrying members of the PC party. They’ll infiltrate all 87 PC constituency associations with enough pro-Kenney members to send enough pro-Kenney delegates to the 2017 Leadership Convention to elect Mr Kenney leader of the party he’s pledged to destroy.
One small hiccup.
The Code of Conduct and Ethics requires PC members to support the principles of progressive conservatism, to respect to their duty of loyalty to the PCs and not to harm the PC brand.
Mr Kenney is untroubled by the ethics of his plan. He says we already have three progressive parties in Alberta and sees no need for a fourth party “in the same zone”…(translation: the ends justify the means).
Two: start merger talks with the Wildrose
Once elected Mr Kenney will contact Wildrose leader Brian Jean and negotiate an agreement-in-principle outlining the merger and the creation of the Conservative Party of Alberta.
One small hiccup.
The Wildrose says it will only merge with the PCs under the Wildrose banner and the PCs have rejected merger all together.
Perhaps Mr Kenney can entice Mr Jean and influential PCs like Sandra Jansen and Richard Starke to “move beyond recriminations and pointless divisions” with the promise of a cabinet post in the soon-to-be-elected-or-not Conservative government… (pause here for hysterical laughter).
Three: hold a referendum for PC and WR members to ratify the merger agreed to by Mr Jean and Mr Kenney.
Assuming the Music Man gets this far he has his work cut out for him.
“Progressive” Conservatives are concerned about Mr Kenney’s social conservatism—with good reason. His position on abortion, same-sex marriage, the niqab and the barbaric practices hot line are unsupportable.
Mr Kenney admits the merger will cause members to leave the party and says the loss “at the margins” is inevitable.
What he doesn’t understand is that the “hot button social issues” he’s dismissed as irrelevant are an issue for the general population, not just those “at the margins”.
Four: hold a second leadership race for the new leader of the new merged party
The Music Man’s raison d’être is to merge the PCs and WR. If he succeeds he will be elected the leader of the single unified free enterprise party.
Five: defeat the NDP in 2019
Assuming the Music Man gets this far the free enterprise conservatives will throw money at him like there’s no tomorrow.
Jason Kenny’s biggest problem will be people. The free enterprise party candidates will have spent three years engaged in internecine warfare and playing political games to hedge their bets in case the Music Man pulls it off.
They’ll ride a wave of political intrigue into the next election. They’ll be exhausted and some of them will make horrendous mistakes fighting an election with Notley’s NDP who will be much better prepared than they were the last time.
Add to the mix wild card PCs like Sandra Jansen, Thomas Lukaszuk and Doug Griffiths who’ll make the Music Man fight for every last vote in every riding across the province…well you get my drift.
Mr Kenney says the merger will be a walk in the park because notwithstanding what progressives and the media think ordinary Albertans don’t care about “hot button social issues”.
The Music Man will likely fail at step three. The merger campaign (like the Brexit campaign) will harden animosities between the PCs and the Wildrose to the point where the Right will be divided for another decade.
In the unlikely event that the Music Man makes it all the way to step five he’ll lose the election because as Mayor Nenshi pointed out, after 19 years in Ottawa Mr Kenney is hopelessly out of touch with Albertans who want leaders who care about fiscal and social issues.
In both cases Alberta will re-elect an NDP government and Mr Kenney will join Mr Prentice in political oblivion.
In The Music Man con artist Harold Hill is redeemed by the love of a good woman, librarian Marian Paroo.
If you’re a progressive conservative I’d suggest you start looking for a good librarian.