Nothing confirmed yet, but word from the grapevine is that Wildrose may merge with the PC Party.
I want to take a look at party standings in the Alberta Legislature first.
In the 2012 election, the results were as follows:
PC - 61
WR - 17
LB - 5
ND - 4
Between then and October 27th, 2014, many changes occurred; however, the end result, was a Legislature that was organized as follows:
PC - 61
WR - 17
LB - 5
ND - 4
Since then, two important things have happened.
First, Joe Anglin, former Green leader and Wildrose MLA, quit Wildrose to sit as an Independent.
A few weeks later, two Wildrose MLAs quit the party to sit with the PC Party.
Now, there is word that Wildrose is considering merging outright with the PC Party of Alberta.
So what does this mean?
For the PC Party
This could be something Prentice is pushing for. An official "merger" could be a chance to re-name the party from PC to just plain Conservative. A re-branding might be a good way to try to shake off past scandals. In addition, Prentice could use this as an excuse to make changes the leader would otherwise not have the power to force though. This could be a great bonus for the PC Party, as it eliminates their #1 challenger from the next election. The down-side is that the PC Party spent the entire last election telling voters to keep Wildrose out of power and out of Cabinet; and now the PC Party itself seems to be inviting them in.
For the NDP, Alberta Party, and Greens
This does not mean as much as it does for the other parties, in effect, not much changes for any of them,
For Rump-Wildrose (or WildRump)
Not all members will join. There is word that between 3 and 11 members will refuse to cross to join the PC Party, even if only 3 remain outside the newly merged party, that does give some kind of WildRump a possible change to challenge in a few ridings in the next election. WildRump does not need to take over a dozen ridings to really make it's point, a small number will keep them on the radar and keep their policies in the public debate.
For the Liberals
If one party truly stands to gain, it is the Liberal Party. The Alberta Liberals have always been rather moderate and with the PC Party seemingly moving away from this part of the political spectrum, that leaves room for the Liberals to grow. In addition, should Wildrose vanish, the Liberals will become the opposition, and, the most obvious "other" choice for Government. Those who want to see the PC Party defeated, but do not care by who, will now vote Liberal not Wildrose. This is, frankly, a great time for the party to refresh itself, and consider a possible convention and leader change.
My personal prediction is that in a month, the Alberta Legislature will look like this:
74 - PC
5 - Liberal
4 - New Democrat
3 - WildRump
1 - Green*
*possibility of Anglin joining WildRump instead.