CALGARY — Conservative MP Jason Kenney's bid to unite Alberta's right has received a high profile endorsement.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper is giving his blessing to his former cabinet minister's efforts.
Harper used a Conservative party event at Calgary's Stampede Saturday night to talk about Kenney's plan to merge Alberta's Progressive Conservative party with the province's other right wing party, the Wildrose.
Harper says Kenney has demonstrated time and again that he is a "principled, thoughtful and highly capable Conservative.''
Former prime minister Stephen Harper shares a laugh with Jason Kenney after entertainer Ardavan Mofid mistakenly called Kenney prime minister at an event in Vancouver on March 21, 2015. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Interim leader Rona Ambrose joined Harper in endorsing Kenney.
Harper called on federal Conservatives to work to get Kenney elected as the provincial Progressive Conservative leader so the work to unite the right can begin.
NDP government has 'terrible consequences'
He took a shot at the current provincial NDP government saying a lack of Conservative unity in Alberta has led to "terrible consequences.''
"Workers losing their jobs, businesses closing their doors, taxes skyrocketing, families without prospects, that must change,'' said Harper to cheers from his partisan audience.
Harper was able to unite the right federally in 2003, merging the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives into the Conservative Party in 2003 and subsequently toppling the governing Liberals.
"Workers losing their jobs, businesses closing their doors, taxes skyrocketing, families without prospects, that must change.''
Kenney's plan to unite Alberta's right involves having the PCs hold a leadership vote in March. If Kenney wins he would negotiate a "framework agreement'' with the Wildrose on a new united party.
If grassroots members of both parties approve, a new party would be founded in the summer, followed by a leadership race that would wrap up in early 2018.