United Alternative launches youth movement at U of C

By Kevin Rothbauer

The United Alternative may not be an official party, but it’s not quite dead.

In an attempt to further the cause of uniting the Reform Party with the federal Progressive Conservatives, the UA steering committee launched its Western Canada student wing–Youth4UAWest–at the University of Calgary last Thursday afternoon.

"These young people [will] generate support for the UA by reaching out to other young people with like minds," announced Dianna Kyles, one of the two co-chairs of Youth4UA West.

Headlining the launch party were speakers Rod Love–longtime Conservative and Premier Klein’s former right-hand man–and Reform Member of Parliament Jason Kenney. Both Love and Kenney are fervent UA supporters with strong ties to Calgary, which is why they decided to launch Youth4UAWest at the U of C.

"Jason and I are both very active [in the UA], and we’re both Calgarians," explained Love.

While much of the launch meeting was spent criticizing the Liberal Party ("By any yardstick you want to measure, this is a bad government," said Love) and the leadership of the Conservative Party ("Joe Clark is not the second coming for Canada," said Youth4UAWest Co-Chair Shuvaloy Majumdar), Love made it clear the meeting’s goal was to involve students in the UA process.

"If the UA is about anything, it’s about the future," he said. "It’s important that youth be involved, because anything we create is going to be handed over to you folks."

Kenney echoed Love’s sentiments.

"This movement is about you young folks," he said.
Love recanted how the two parties with similar ideals split apart over the past 11 years.

"In 1988, conservatives started to drift away from the Conservative Party for a lot of reasons," he recalled. "The main reasons were that when conservatives started to complain, they were told ‘shut up.’ In 1993, 2.5 million
conservatives left the party for Reform. Now they split the vote."

Love has been involved with the UA since its inception. A longtime member of the federal pc party, Love was among several disgruntled Reformers and Conservatives who came together at a celebration of Gary Filmon’s 10th year as Premier of Manitoba to discuss a possible unification of the two parties.

"That was the first time that we agreed that the problem [of two right-wing parties] was sufficient for us to do something about," said Love.

"Many of us are fundamentally opposed to Liberal philosophy," he continued. "Myself and some like-minded people said that we had to do something."

A Reform party referendum in June determined that two thirds of members were in favour of the UA. Love acknowledged that there are members of his party who don’t want to unite, but insisted those who do approve of the UA must keep moving.

"There’s going to be some people from the Reform Party who are never coming," he noted. "There’s going to be some people–if we ever get this thing built–from the Conservative Party who are never coming."

Kenney expressed disappointment with the results of the referendum, but was pleased with the general progress demonstrated by it.

"What you witnessed in June was a shining example of democracy within a Canadian political party," he said.
Love constantly pointed out that the Reform Party supports the UA, but his own party, the Tories, are holding it up.

"At this point, [Clark] is out," he said. "The Conservative Party is not moving, and that bugs me."

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