Last night, the provincial Conservative executive delayed voting on a deal that could salvage an earlier proposal to merge with Unity - in part, because only 12 of its 23 members showed up for the conference call. Included among the absentees: president Bill Smith, whose presence is necessary, under party rules, for an official meeting of the executive. But, when council meets again on Thursday, it's unlikely the deal drafted by Unity communications director Blake Mackenzie will be approved as is. According to insiders, there are continuing constitutional concerns about a provision to have all Unity members automatically awarded Tory memberships.
Instead, we're told the executive will announce they're supporting the merger in principle but not (yet) in practice. Meanwhile, this weekend, Unity members will be asked during their annual general meeting to vote on a resolution calling for them to individually take out Conservative memberships. But there are some who are considering scrapping the merger idea entirely and simply rebranding Unity as the United Conservative Party.
Footnote: It's interesting to note the total number of Conservative executive members is more than half the number of people who showed up for the party's annual general meeting last Saturday.