Tory MP Jason Kenney seeks Alberta PC leadership
Jason Kenney, the Conservative MP for the riding of Calgary-Midnapore, has announced that he will seek the leadership of the Alberta PC Party.
“I have decided to seek the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, seeking an explicit mandate to unite with the Wildrose Party, and all like-minded Albertans, so we can defeat the NDP and put this province back on the right track,” Kenney said.
Kenney made the announcement at a gathering in Calgary in which he harkened back to the long history of the Tories in Alberta.
He told supporters that he is vowing to fight the 'accidental NDP government' who risk destroying the provincial economy if they are given a second term.
“We must fight the ideological agenda of this accidental NDP government to limit the damage they do to our province now,” said Kenny. “And we must do everything within our power to eliminate the risk of a second NDP term, which would be catastrophic to the long-term future of Alberta,” he said.
Kenney also said he would work towards bringing the Wildrose and PCs back together and will release details of the plan on Thursday.
“We must never repeat what transpired in December, 2014. Unity must be pursued and achieved openly and transparently, not through secret backroom deals,” said Kenney. “And grassroots members must have the final say on any proposed agreement.”
“This is about uniting Albertans of all backgrounds and walks of life,” he said. “It is about this province, her people, and their future.”
However, many say that Kenney’s idea won’t be easy to achieve because past and present PC MLAs don’t think he is the best fit for the party.
Sandra Jansen, Calgary-Northwest MLA, told CTV Morning Live Calgary last week that she is against the ‘socially conservative’ Kenney being handed the reins and vowed against working in a ‘blended caucus’.
Former PC MLA Thomas Lukaszuk has also said that Kenney’s views don’t align with the PCs.
Kenney is also weathering resistance from the Wildrose. Former leader turned PC MLA Danielle Smith also said that he is not the right leader and not the right person to merge the parties.
Smith says she would like to see the parties unite, but the person to do it will need to understand how to balance rural and urban voters.
Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada released a statement following Kenney's announcement saying...
“As Jason embarks on this new challenge, I know he has the best interests of Albertans in his heart. Jason is a steadfast defender of conservative principles, a proud Albertan, a tireless campaigner and a fighter for ordinary Canadians from all walks of life. More than that, he is a trusted friend and a valued member of the federal Conservative caucus and team.
“On behalf of all federal Conservatives, I wish him – and all Alberta conservatives – nothing but the best in the days ahead. I encourage all conservatives to work together to forge a united path to victory.”
The PCs have been without a leader since Jim Prentice resigned following the last election.
The party is expected to choose a new leader on March 18, 2017.
It’s unclear whether or not Kenney will step down as MP for his leadership run.
Kenney was first elected in 1997 as a member of the Reform Party of Canada which then became the Canadian Alliance.
He has been re-elected four times since then as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.