'A number of missteps': Reaction following Jason Kenney’s departure

image.png

The race for a new United Conservative Party leader is on.

After receiving a slight majority in the party's leadership review by a 51.4 per cent margin, good enough to keep his job under party rules, Jason Kenney still made the decision to step down as premier.

“We need to move forward united,” said Kenney. 

“We need to put the past behind us, and a large number of our members have asked for an opportunity to clear the air through a leadership election.”

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley spoke with the media on Thursday afternoon. She said she sees Kenney's resignation as a chance to take back the role as premier after losing the election to him in 2019.  

“When it is called we will be ready, we will be united,” said Notley.  

“We will be focused on providing to Albertans the things that actually matter to them. Healthcare, affordability, competent government that they can trust to show up to work and be there for them.”

CHALLENGERS

Danielle Smith and Brian Jean are both throwing their hat in the UCP leadership ring. Smith is the former leader of the Wildrose Party who left the opposition in 2014 to cross the floor to the governing Progressive Conservatives.

Jean previously led the Wildrose Party until it merged into the UCP in 2017, where he lost a contentious battle for the leadership of the new party to Kenney.

 Lethbridge mayor Blaine Hyggen said he looks forward to working with whoever is elected as the next UCP leader.

“Our role as council here in Lethbridge is to work with any leader, any level of government and we want to make sure we're there at the table, building those relationships and working on behalf of the citizens of Lethbridge,” said Hyggen.

One Lethbridge political scientist at the U of L however believes the UCP may not survive after Kenney’s resignation and some of the turmoil that took place during his tenure.  

“It’s going to take something of a miracle worker to keep them together, but again there’s kind of a long history of this,” said Trevor Harrison. 

“We’ve seen this over some 25 years now of the conservative party whatever that is, eating its own.”

Harrison also said after Kenney’s landside win over Notley in the 2019 election, his voters had high hopes that the newl- elected premier would become Alberta’s ‘saviour’ so to speak, but things didn’t pan out the way Kenney or his voters had envisioned.

“There were a number of missteps that he took and scandals that occurred,” said Harrison.

“I think he simply lost the confidence of Albertans.”

Since the 2004 election in Alberta the province has had seven premiers. Of those seven, Rachel Notley is the only one to serve an entire elected term.

The next UCP leader could be announced at any time, but the latest the next provincial election could be held is May 31 of next year.

I want to thank Jason Kenney for his public service.

There are obviously many things about which we don’t agree, but that doesn’t negate the time and sacrifice that goes into taking on the role of Premier.#ableg #yyc #yeg #abpoli

— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) May 19, 2022