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Progressive Conservatives select Jason Kenney as next leader
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 4:54PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:02PM MDT
The PC Alberta party has selected Jason Kenney, the former cabinet minister and MP for Calgary-Midnapore, as party leader.
On Saturday afternoon, party members cast their votes at the TELUS Convention Centre during the PC leadership convention. The 48-year-old was selected over fellow candidates Byron Nelson and Richard Starke to replace Jim Prentice who resigned as party leader in May 2015.
Nelson and Starke endorsed the selection of Kenney once the results were released.
A total of 1,476 ballots were cast in the leadership vote:
- Jason Kenney: 1113 delegate votes
- Richard Starke: 323 delegate votes
- Byron Nelson: 40 votes
“He seems like a grassroots type of guy,” said Andrew Friesen, a Jason Kenney supporter. “He is very much family. It’s about what you work hard to make."
Kenny has been a vocal champion for a uniting of Alberta’s right, stating a PC-Wildrose Party merger would prove victorious in the next provincial election.
Not everyone in the PC fold supports such a move including Christine Cripps-Wood, the daughter of former MLA Shirley Cripps. Prior to the announcement of Kenney as leader, Cripps-Wood, who did not vote for Kenney, said she would not be surprised if some PC supporters chose not to join the united right party..
“I think that there might be some and it’s going to take some time to figure out whether or not you want to be part of this new party that‘s coming together,” said Cripps-Wood. “If they can do it in an inclusive and sensible way, maybe I’ll come back. I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point.”
Katherine O'Neill, president of the Alberta PC Party, says the party will consider its options including the possibility of a uniting of the right,
"It's talking about unity and bringing together like-minded conservatives," said O'Neill. "That's our job.I've got to sit down with Mr. Kenney, our board has to sit down with Mr. Kenney and map out next steps."
"Our membership has sent us a very clear message today that they want us to explore this."
Following Kenney's victory, Wildrose leader Brian Jean congratulated the PC leader and reemphasized his own stance on uniting the two parties.
“As I’ve said for 18 months, Wildrose has its dancing shoes on when it comes to creating a single, principled, consolidated, conservative movement," said Jean in a statement. “Our Wildrose team has actively been meeting with our grassroots to get feedback on the direction forward for our party and that work will continue.
Jean adds he plans to meet with Kenney on Monday.