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RCO





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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject: Alberta pc's and Wildrose vote 95% in favour merger Reply with quote

Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose vote 95% in favour of merger

By Emma Graney
First posted: Saturday, July 22, 2017 02:36 PM EDT | Updated: Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:27 PM EDT



Jason Kenney PC Wildrose Merger
Jason Kenney announces the result of the unity vote by Alberta PC's who voted 95% in favour of united with the Wildrose Party. The results were announced in Calgary on Saturday July 22, 2017. Gavin Young/Postmedia Network



The NDP will face a single united conservative force in the next election, after Alberta’s Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties voted overwhelmingly on the weekend to merge forces.

Both parties secured more than 95 per cent pro-unity votes from their members.

As unity wins were declared in Red Deer at a Wildrose special general meeting, and in Calgary at a PC celebration, rooms erupted with raucous cheers from party supporters.

The next step on the agenda is a joint caucus meeting on Monday in Edmonton, where MLAs will pick an interim leader.

Soon after that, the United Conservative Party will be registered with Elections Alberta.

Then comes a leadership race.

At this point, Brian Jean and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer are the only candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring.

Jean’s unity celebration speech was his last as Wildrose leader, he told the crowd Saturday, before declaring his goal to be Alberta’s next premier to cheers of “Brian, Brian, Brian.”

“With tonight’s vote, the NDP’s time in government is ticking down, and ticking down quickly,” he told the crowd.

“Together, we will send a message to all of Canada that Alberta is not apologizing for our industries or our way of life.”

Tory Leader Jason Kenney was more circumspect, saying Saturday was a time to celebrate the unity vote; ask him about his intentions on July 23, he said.

“This campaign is bigger than any individual,” Kenney said – it’s about the province and its future.

The numbers

The unity question was the catalyst for the Wildrose party’s first special general meeting — and its last, given the results.

It was the first party to declare the result, after an eight-hour online vote marred by issues with the personal identification numbers each member needed to cast a ballot.

According to the Wildrose Party, 24,598 votes were cast in the unity vote — 57.7 per cent of members. Of those, 23,466 voted yes and 1,132 said no to unity.

Party brass scrambled Friday and Saturday, pleading on social media for volunteers who could man the phone lines and help distribute PINs to those who didn’t receive one in time.

Other members received two PINs, but party president Jeff Callaway was confident the Wildrose credential committee managed to catch all duplications before the vote kicked off at 8 a.m.

On the Tory side, 27,060 members voted, with 25,692 giving unity the thumbs up.

Death of a party

The historic vote means the death of the Tory political dynasty that ruled Alberta for 44 years.

The Progressive Conservative party had been on life support ever since the 2015 election, when it was decimated by the NDP, losing 60 seats as the Wildrose party stepped into the role of official opposition.

The PC and Wildrose parties aim to come together under a United Conservative Party umbrella as soon as possible, but both will officially flat-line in 2019; only a party that runs a candidate can remain registered under Elections Alberta rules.

At the Wildrose special general meeting Saturday morning in Red Deer, many said they were spurred to vote yes for unity by the prospect of a second NDP term, which to them would mean the guaranteed ruination of Alberta.

During a pre-vote debate about the motion, the number of pro-unity speakers vastly outweighed those against.

And yet, so close to marking their ballots, many still had questions – just how grassroots would this new party be?; were Kenney and the PCs cashing in on fear to secure their plan? – and an inherent distrust of the Tories.

In the end, members of both parties held their noses and voted yes for the unity, putting behind them the bitter split that created the two groups, and the resulting decade of rifts and sometimes-personal feuds.

In a nod to past schisms between the parties, Kenney said Saturday night the vote was “not an ending, merely a new beginning where we learn from our past mistakes.”

“The writing is on the wall,” he said.

“This accidental NDP government will be a one-term government.”

http://www.torontosun.com/2017.....rty-merger
RCO





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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post-merger vote, some lament death of Alberta's PC party



Dean Bennett — Canadian Press

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017



EDMONTON – The former president of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives says some members feel adrift after a majority voted to embrace a new party, effectively consigning one of Canada’s great political brands to the ash heap of history.

Katherine O’Neill, in an interview Sunday, said she’s been hearing from many PC volunteers and members who now feel “politically homeless” in a party they feel is tacking too far right on social issues.

“There’s a lot of grieving going on today,” said O’Neill.

“(These) people have literally put their blood, sweat and tears into the Progressive Conservative party and I know a lot of these people and they’re heartbroken.

“There are a lot of memories, a lot of hard work. And now they’re not really sure where they could go and best use their efforts.”

O’Neill headed up the PCs during the recent leadership race that saw former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney elected on a platform to merge with the Wildrose, Alberta’s official Opposition.

That plan came to fruition Saturday night when members of both parties, in separate votes, chose overwhelmingly to join forces as the new United Conservative Party.

The Wildrose and the PC names will live on legally, but are effectively husks with no candidates.

O’Neill and other members left soon after Kenney’s leadership victory in the spring.

O’Neill said she is fiscally conservative but socially progressive. She’s now heading up a political action committee called Alberta Together that is looking to back a party with similar values.

Many at the Alberta Together meetings have been embracing the centrist Alberta Party.

Dave Quest, a former PC legislature member, said he was cutting up his PC party membership card after three decades.

“I don’t believe the UCP will be the party that I joined as a Progressive Conservative,” said Quest in an interview.

Quest said that under former PC premier Ed Stelmach the government had to fast track infrastructure construction that had been allowed to lag when the PCs, under Ralph Klein in the 1990s, focused exclusively on debt reduction and budget cuts.

“Should (the UCP) form government, it will be a 1990s fiscally driven agenda and it won’t be what’s best for the province,” said Quest.

The Progressive Conservatives won power in 1971 and governed Alberta for almost 44 years before being defeated by Premier Rachel Notley and her NDP in 2015. The Wildrose lasted a decade.

Kenney has stressed vote splitting by the Wildrose and the PCs led to the NDP win and that only a coalition can prevent a repeat in the 2019 election.

Other PCs, including most of the eight-person caucus, have embraced the Wildrose merger, and the race for a leader for the new UCP has begun. That vote goes on Oct. 28.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, Kenney, and longtime conservative and PC strategist Doug Schweitzer have already said they will run.

Schweitzer has been campaigning for weeks, anticipating a positive vote on the referendum. His campaign focuses on fiscal conservatism but social progressivism.

He said the die has not been cast on what the UCP will look like.

“Those (Progressive Conservative) values can still be in this new United Conservative Party and I think that they are,” said Schweitzer.

Jean said names and labels are important but can’t impede progress.

“I think we’ve got a great legacy (on both parties) and together we’re going to have more even than we’ve had as two separates,” said Jean.

“Unity is going to be extremely good for the province, extremely good for the conservative movement in Canada, and extremely good for Albertans – and that’s what it’s ultimately about.”

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said his party has offered alternatives on a range of issues from climate change to debt reduction, but said Albertans still don’t know what the UCP stands for.

“It’s a group that seems united in opposition to the NDP but have offered not a single positive policy that tells Albertans how they’re going to handle the challenges facing our province,” said Clark.

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/07/23.....-pc-party/
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thoughts turn to leadership after conservatives vote to unite




Emma Graney Emma Graney
More from Emma Graney

Published on: July 23, 2017 | Last Updated: July 23, 2017 7:23 PM MDT


Wildrose Leader Brian Jean gives a speech after it was announced that the Wildrose party had voted in favour of uniting with the Progressive Conservatives, in Red Deer on Saturday, July 22, 2017.





The NDP will face a single united conservative force in the next election after Alberta’s Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties voted overwhelmingly on the weekend to merge forces.

Both secured more than 95 per cent pro-unity votes from their members, setting into motion a monumental shift in provincial politics and sounding the death knell for the Tory dynasty that ruled Alberta for 44 years.

Rooms erupted as yes-vote wins were declared Saturday afternoon in Red Deer at a Wildrose special general meeting, and two hours later in Calgary at a PC celebration.

“With tonight’s vote, the NDP’s time in government is ticking down, and ticking down quickly,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean told the crowd.

“Together, we will send a message to all of Canada that Alberta is not apologizing for our industries or our way of life.”

In a nod to the old schism between the parties, PC Leader Jason Kenney said Saturday the vote was “not an ending, merely a new beginning where we learn from our past mistakes.

“The writing is on the wall,” he said.

“This accidental NDP government will be a one-term government.”

Looking for a leader

Now that the dust has settled on the vote, the leadership battle begins.

Jean is set to formally announce his candidacy Monday afternoon in Airdrie.

Angela Pitt, the region’s Wildrose MLA, sported a blue “I back Brian” button Saturday in Red Deer — the first sign of an inevitable rift in the new party’s caucus.

Related
Conservative unity vote: A timeline

Earlier in the day, her Wildrose colleague Derek Fildebrandt, MLA for Strathmore-Brooks, vowed he would never support Jean in a leadership race.

Raising her eyebrows when told of the comment, Pitt said, “That’s unfortunate.”

“I suspect that you’re going to see many UCP members rally behind Brian Jean, because he’s the right man for the job and for the people of Alberta,” she said.

Fildebrandt is mulling over throwing his hat into the leadership ring, and it’s a foregone conclusion Kenney will do the same.

Fildebrandt declined to say why he’s not on Team Brian following the Saturday vote.

“We’ll have plenty to time to beat the crap out of each other in the coming weeks and months, but tonight I’m just probably going to (Red Deer bar) Billy Bob’s,” he said.

Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer announced his bid to become UCP leader on June 1.

The numbers

The unity question was the catalyst for the Wildrose party’s first special general meeting — and its last, given the results.

During the eight-hour online vote, 24,598 ballots were cast. Of those, 23,466 voted yes and 1,132 said no to unity.

On the Tory side, 27,060 members voted, with 25,692 giving unity the thumbs up. The turnout was around 52 per cent.

Divisions grow

The yes vote gives disenfranchised conservatives on both sides the excuse they need to pursue their own new parties.

Self-declared progressives have contemplated a united centrist movement ever since Kenney won the PC leadership in March. On Sunday, talk turned to Wildrose 2.0.

The Edmonton-South West constituency association president, Marilyn Burns, is adamant that devoted Wildrosers want nothing to do with the UCP.

After all, she told the Journal Sunday, only 57 per cent of members bothered to cast a ballot.

Burns accused Jean and Kenney of whipping up fear of a second NDP term to push through the unity plan.

“Fear is a very powerful emotion,” she said.

“What (they) have done is very successfully raised that fear to a fever so they are now saying … ‘Throw your dart at the UCP. We give you nothing, no promises, just take us instead of the NDP’.”

Burns and some of her fellow board members plan to hold a meeting July 29 in Nisku to drum up support for a new Wildrose-type party.

http://edmontonjournal.com/new.....e-to-unite
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had I guessed at the vote split based on the articles I have read you would think it broke 50.1 in favor of unity and 49.9 against.

My goodness it was 95 - 5 yet so much of the coverage is focusing on the 5%.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good observation. But they are continuing regardless ... from today's news ...

Quote:
Merger history suggests Alberta’s United Conservative Party could be less than sum of its parts
Jul 25 2017 — Eric Grenier — CBC

By voting to join forces over the weekend, the Alberta Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties have increased their odds of defeating Rachel Notley’s New Democrats. But lessons from the 2003 merger that created the federal Conservative Party should caution them against taking victory for granted — or thinking that one plus one will equal two. [....]
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politic.....-1.4218861
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its largely along the same coverage that the merger between the PCs and Alliance incurred.
I remember being in Calgary and reading an article that the merger was a take over of the Alliance by the PCs and then two days later in Toronto I read that the PC party was being taken over by the Alliance.

The NDP in Alberta would have lost the next election regardless of a merger of the PCs and WR parties as the NDP has largely been polling in third largely since 2016.

Every Province needs their own Bob Rae reminder as to why the NDP isn't a great idea in practice and Alberta got theirs.

What will prove interesting is the leadership race for the new UCP;
The Widlrose folks have an incredible grassroots structure and I wouldn't be surprised to see Brian Jean leading the party.
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC MLA Richard Starke quits new Alberta conservative coalition



Dean Bennett — Canadian Press

Monday, July 24th, 2017



EDMONTON – One of Alberta’s eight Progressive Conservative legislature members says he won’t be joining the new coalition with the Wildrose.

Richard Starke says he has not been happy with the policy direction under PC Leader Jason Kenney and has no faith that will change under the new United Conservative Party.

“The tone and the direction and the statements of the (PC) party are not consistent with what I believe to progressive conservatism,” Starke said Monday in an interview.

“It’s demonstrating a hardness in its attitude towards a number of issues, and a level of partisanship that I don’t think is constructive and I don’t think is helpful for the people of Alberta.”

Starke cited Kenney’s comments earlier this year on gay-straight alliances in schools. Gay straight alliances are student-organized support networks to help students feel welcome.

Kenney has said schools should inform parents if their child joins a GSA as long as it doesn’t put the child at risk. Critics say that effectively outs a child and could put them at harm of family estrangement or worse.

“As far as I’m concerned (the GSA legislation) is there to protect vulnerable students and to be ambiguous as to whether schools would be informing parents is a fundamental problem,” said Starke.

He said he was also concerned that Kenney did not attend the recent Pride events last month. Starke went in his place.

Starke, a two-term member of the legislature, ran and lost against Kenney for the PC party leadership this year on a platform of social progressivism.

He said he has concerns with Kenney’s management style, focusing on a promise made by Kenney after his leadership win in March.

Starke said Kenney promised to the PC executive to strike a committee that would advise the bargaining team that ultimately brokered a merger with the Wildrose.

“I wanted to be on that committee and I was told I would be on that committee. That committee never met and was never constituted,” he said.

He said that underscored a lack of interest in competing viewpoints.

“I was willing to and in fact eager to provide input and advice,” he said.

Kenney’s team declined comment.

Starke said he will stay on in the legislature sitting as the lone member of the PC caucus.

Elections Alberta said he will be allowed to do so until the PC party officially deregisters.

Starke said he owes it to his constituents to represent what they voted for.

“I was elected as a Progressive Conservative member,” he said.

Over the weekend, members of the Wildrose party and the PCs voted overwhelmingly to join forces in time for the next election in 2019.

Members on both sides voted around 95 per cent in favour of joining forces in time to field candidates in time for the spring 2019 election.

The two caucuses were set to meet for the first time Monday afternoon and select an interim leader.

A new permanent leader will be picked on Oct. 28. Kenney, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and longtime conservative strategist Doug Schweitzer have already said they will run.

https://ipolitics.ca/2017/07/24/pc-mla-richard-starke-quits-new-alberta-conservative-coalition/
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( it shouldn't be a surprise that one of the old pc members who ran against Kenney isn't going to join the new party 0


Former Tory cabinet minister Richard Starke says 'No' to United Conservative Party


Keith Gerein Keith Gerein
More from Keith Gerein

Published on: July 24, 2017 | Last Updated: July 24, 2017 6:43 PM MDT


One of the most prominent members of the province’s Progressive Conservative caucus has decided not to follow his fellow MLAs into a merger with the Wildrose party.

Former cabinet minister Richard Starke announced in a Facebook post he has refused to join the United Conservative Party, citing a lack of confidence his views will be welcome in the new political entity.

He was the lone holdout Monday as 22 Wildrose and seven PC MLAs held their first caucus meeting under the new United Conservative Party banner.

“I have tremendous skepticism that the values of progressive conservatism are going to be a big part of this party going forward,” Starke told the Journal in an interview.




“I am certainly willing to be proven wrong. But I’ve got serious doubts the new party will have policies and leadership in keeping with my values and principles.”

Starke ran for leadership of the PC party earlier this year, but was defeated by Jason Kenney, who campaigned on a platform to pursue unification with the Wildrose. Starke, who was less supportive of an immediate merger, lost the race decisively, but said he was assured his voice would continue to be appreciated.

“I took that in good faith. But my experience has been quite different and it’s also been quite different for a number of the people who supported me,” he said. “They have been elected out or in some cases been forced out of the positions they held.”

Starke said he began seeing red flags shortly after the leadership race. As an example, he said he was told he could serve on a PC advisory committee that would provide input on the negotiations with the Wildrose. He said that promise was never fulfilled and the committee was never formed.

At the same time, Starke said he started to receive abuse on social media from supporters of Kenney and the unification movement.

“In the past couple of months — and I guess I shouldn’t put too much credence in this — I’ve been called a communist, a socialist, a liberal and, most recently, a cancer,” he said.

“So on the one hand you are told your voice is welcomed and needed, and then the supporters of the party … are using labels like that. It’s kind of a mixed message.”

He said his last conversation with Kenney or any of his senior staff was about a month ago. He said he has not spoken to former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who stepped down Monday to run for the UCP leadership.

Starke, who has represented the riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster since 2012, said he promised constituents he would remain true to the values espoused by Peter Lougheed: pragmatism, a progressive social policy, excellence in public services and fiscal responsibility.

The 57-year-old said he will continue to serve as MLA, but offered no other details on his political future, including whether he is considering joining any other party. He said the legislative clerk has told him he can remain sitting as a PC MLA for the time being.

“And I’m actually quite pleased about that.”

It’s unclear if members of the new UCP might try to stop Starke from continuing to use the PC name. MLA Mike Ellis, who attended the caucus meeting Monday, said the issue wasn’t discussed.

UCP interim leader Nathan Cooper said he respects Starke and hopes he might reconsider his decision in time.

That message was echoed by Kenney, who tweeted later Monday that he has “great regard” for Starke, but also noted party members in Starke’s riding voted 84 per cent for unity with the Wildrose.

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said he and Starke have worked well together in the past, but the two haven’t yet held any discussions about formally joining forces.

Starke previously served as tourism, parks and recreation minister in 2013 and 2014 under premiers Alison Redford and Dave Hancock. He has served as the health critic for the PCs since their 2015 defeat to the NDP.

http://edmontonjournal.com/new.....tive-party
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every party merger needs it own Scott Brison.
Its basically tradition.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenney says he has the temperament to lead new Alberta conservative party




Canadian Press

Saturday, July 29th, 2017




EDMONTON – Jason Kenney has made his bid for the leadership of Alberta’s new United Conservative Party official.

Kenney, who is a former federal cabinet minister and former leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, made the announcement Saturday in Edmonton.

He joins former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who is the only other officially declared candidate in the race, although conservative strategist Doug Schweitzer has expressed an intention to run.

The vote is to be held Oct. 28.

Members of the PC and Wildrose parties agreed to merge in votes that were held last weekend.

Kenney says a leader is needed...


http://ipolitics.ca/2017/07/29.....ive-party/
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poll shows UCP would handily defeat Alberta NDP if election held today

Shawn Logan Shawn Logan
More from Shawn Logan

Published on: August 1, 2017 | Last Updated: August 1, 2017 5:00 AM MDT

United Conservative Party leadership candidates (L-R) Jason Kenney, Brian Jean and Doug Schweitzer. Postmedia Network



It didn’t take Albertans long to warm to the newly minted United Conservative Party.

A new Mainstreet Research/Postmedia poll suggests the right-leaning amalgamation of the former Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties would sweep to victory were an election held today, easily leaving the governing NDP in its dust.

The poll, which surveyed 2,100 Albertans July 27-28, days after the historic unity vote between the formerly rival parties, found a solid majority of 57 per cent of decided and leaning voters would thrust the fledgling UCP into office. The NDP, meanwhile, would be ensconced as the main opposition, with some 29 per cent of decided and leaning voters preferring the party led by Premier Rachel Notley.

Trailing in a distant third is the centrist Alberta Party at nine per cent, followed by the Liberals at four per cent.

“It’s been the summer of love for the United Conservative Party,” said Mainstreet president Quito Maggi.




“People in Alberta have been champing at the bit for Jason Kenney and Brian Jean to form a united party of conservatives that can definitely beat the NDP. The numbers are very strong for the UCP.”



Alberta Premier Rachel Notley Jim Wells / Jim Wells/Postmedia

For those voters who know which party will get the X on their ballots, the UCP also holds a significant advantage, boasting 43 per cent support compared to the NDP’s 21 per cent. The Alberta Party and Liberals come in with seven per cent and three per cent, respectively, with a significant number of Albertans (27 per cent) declaring themselves undecided.

And it’s those undecideds that may hold a glimmer of hope for Notley’s NDP, Maggi said.

“The undecided voters are still quite high, so the NDP has not completely disappeared,” he said.

“It’s hard to imagine them holding any rural Alberta seats and their numbers in Calgary are relatively strong, but it could still be an NDP sweep in Edmonton. They’re not going to be annihilated.”

The eye-popping advantage suggested by the polls brings Mount Royal University political scientist David Taras back to a time when sweeping Tory majorities were simply a fact of Alberta political life.



“It’s almost like they’ve hit a reset button and they’ve gone back to the days of Ralph Klein and Peter Lougheed,” he said.

“Those numbers translate into towering majorities.”

Taras noted the province’s political landscape has long been shaped by the three stool legs of Alberta politics, Calgary, Edmonton and rural Alberta. And Mainstreet’s poll shows the UCP enjoying clear majorities in two of those three areas, with Edmonton remaining an NDP stronghold.

For decided voters and those leaning towards one of the parties, the poll found the UCP enjoys the support of 50 per cent of Calgary respondents, with a massive 68 per cent of rural Albertans also on board. In both zones, the NDP trails significantly with 32 per cent and 20 per cent support, respectively.

In Edmonton, however, the NDP boasts 47 per cent preferring to keep the party in power, compared to 39 per cent for the UCP.

“Looking at these numbers, the margin of victory (for the UCP) would be very large,” Taras said.

“What kept the Tories in power for 44 years were extreme majorities in rural Alberta and the ability to take Calgary as well. But we are a long way from an election.”

The next provincial election is expected to be held in 2019.

Mainstreet’s poll was collected through a combination of cellphone and landline users, and the survey’s margin of error is considered plus or minus 2.14 points, 19 times out of 20.

http://calgaryherald.com/news/.....held-today
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Alberta pc's and Wildrose vote 95% in favour merger

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