Manning sorry for not encouraging consultation before Wildrose defections

EDMONTON — The former leader of the Reform Party says he made a mistake when he encouraged members of Alberta’s Wildrose to unite with the governing Progressive Conservatives.

Preston Manning met last week with the Wildrose caucus to talk about his experiences when the Reform Party joined the federal Conservatives to form the Canadian Alliance.

A day after the meeting, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and eight others crossed the floor of the provincial legislature and called on the party to merge with the Tories.

Manning says in a statement he should have recommended more consultation with constituents in the meeting with Wildrose.

He says the Canadian Alliance formed only after a discussion with grassroots members and several conferences and referendums.

Manning says he apologizes to all concerned.

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