The final chapter of the Progressive downfall in Alberta was precipitated by this very idea of uniting the right. Prentice, Smith and Preston Manning himself helped engineer the scheme to destroy the opposition Wildrose Party so that responsible voters had no where else to turn.
They even appeared to have succeeded at one point. I myself had left Wildrose for dead, at least mentally for a month or so. I never took Prentice up on his limited time free membership for Wildrose members.
But then Progressives were progressive, raising taxes and lording their perceived invulnerability over us. I couldn't stand it. I tried the Progressive brand on for size and it sucked. There was no way I'd vote for taxes. Strategic vote splitting and all that be damned. I will never make that mistake again.
So here we are and Ken Boessenkool is trying to unit the right again. I agree that vote splitting is a real challenge. And while Progressives were keen to underhandedly wipe out the Wildrose outright for the purpose of unity, I don't see why they won't accept the same logic now and retire the PC franchise.
I don't mean a merger with the Wildrose. I mean pack it in. Close it down. Spare us the needless years of NDP "darkness" that we saw when Reform and PC fought federally. Are the Ken Boessenkools of the world willing to accept that? Surrender or nothing. Those are the terms.
If nothing else the last 6 months have proved that is Wildrose is incredibly resilient. If losing the party leader and 8 more MLA's, then facing a snap election and increasing their seat count doesn't show fortitude then what will? I doubt they'll face an existential threat like that again. Wildrose is a hardened player now.
I don't even care about the vote split all that much. If the NDP lasts for 8 or 12 years, it just means that many more people are going to learn the hard way. I wonder how many people would have voted for the Progs if they knew what kind of a blowout it would be? Perhaps they were holding out hope for a coalition? In fact, there is reason to believe that the Wildrose turnout was suppressed quite a bit with everything that went on in the last year.
Wildrose doesn't need to take the 9 remaining PC's either. Derek Fildebrant said that the party is open to conservatives but not opportunists. PC cronies, elected or otherwise need not apply.
Bitterness and resentment however don't belong in a good party. I would recommend accepting refugee MLAs with some tight conditions. They must publicly denounce the PC Party for starters. They should sit as an independent MLA for a year perhaps. And finally their recognition and acceptance into Wildrose be approved by a vote at the AGM. They would not technically be "floor crossing" in this scenario.
In any case it's looking like it's going to be war.