One of the leadership candidates for the United Conservative Party of Alberta came through Drumheller on Wednesday, August 30.
Brian Jean spoke to about 25 people at a local lounge during a whistle stop that lasted a little over an hour.
The former Wildrose Party leader had to defend himself after it was learned that the party was $320,000 in deficit when it merged with the PC's earlier this year.
"It's a 12 month budget and this is a small snapshot in time, three and a half months, at the busiest time in the history of Wildrose," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "All of this was budgeted (and) it will come back to balance by the end of the year, just like it did last year and just like it did the year before."
Fellow leadership candidate Jason Kenney lashed out at Jean, saying the deficit sends the wrong kind of message to voters. Documents show Wildrose hired 11 staffers in the run-up to the unity vote in July.
"We have worked so hard to united the PC Party with the Wildrose Party: to maintain and 95 per cent (yes) vote in each area has not been an easy thing to do in each party," argued Jean. "My concern now is to stay united. I will not be getting in the mud and I will not be throwing it: I hope that other candidates can recognize the long term negative ramifications of doing so."
Whether they're voting for me or against me, I encourage people to buy memberships because this is truly a very important time in our history in Alberta," he concluded. "Not only do you get to choose the leader of the next political party that has united wit the two strongest political parties in the province, but you also get to pick policy."
The United Conservative Party leadership vote is scheduled for October 28.