The leaders of Alberta’s two Conservative parties have reached a tentative merger deal. The agreement to form the United Conservative Party still needs to be approved by 75 per cent of Wildrose members and 50 per cent plus one of Progressive Conservatives.

In the 2015 provincial election, the Wildrose and PCs combined for 52 per cent of the popular vote, while the governing NDP got just over 40. Wildrose leader Brian Jean says the plan is to unify Conservatives, but not just to get into power.

“It must be about bringing together common sense Conservatives in overwhelming numbers behind a principle of good government that will implement good policies for the benefit of all Albertans.”

The date for members of both parties to vote on the agreement is July 22nd. If all goes ahead, the plan is to choose a new leader on October 28th. PC leader Jason Kenney is confident the united party would ensure the NDP is defeated in the next election.

“And the election of a free enterprise government that will renew the Alberta advantage. So, to many Albertans who are struggling right now, this agreement sends them a clear message: that help is on the way, and hope is on the horizon.”

If the deal isn’t ratified, the two parties will work out a non-competition agreement ahead of the next provincial election. Before the announcement Thursday, Premier Rachel Notley warned the united party could hold positions too extreme for Albertans.

“Whether it’s the Wildrose or the Tories, they clearly agree on things like making massive cuts to services in order to finance tax breaks for people at the top one per cent,” she argued while at another announcement in Carstairs. “They agree collectively on the fact that they’re not particularly sympathetic or supportive of LGBT rights.”

If the United Conservative Party is formed, the PC and Wildrose’s money won’t go to it. The Tories are currently in debt, and the Wildrose have been given a list of legal uses for their funds.