By Gillian Slade on August 3, 2017.
A local MLA has endorsed Jason Kenney for leadership of the United Conservative Party (UCP).
Drew Barnes, UCP MLA for Cypress Medicine Hat, put aside any thoughts of personally running for leadership of the party telling a packed room of supporters Kenney has a proven track record. His ability to succeed in getting 95 per cent of the vote to unite the Wildrose and PC parties being just one of his accomplishments that has instilled confidence, said Barnes.
“I am truly honoured to have you in my corner,” said Kenney in response.
That a one-week old political party, that is still in the process of selecting a leader, could get 58 per cent of the popular vote in a poll this week is proof that “we are on the right track”, said Kenney.
The leadership vote for the UCP will take place Oct. 28. There are three candidates at this stage: Kenney, Brian Jean former leader of the Wildrose party, and Doug Schweitzer a Calgary lawyer.
The leadership vote is not only about choosing a UCP leader but also the next premier of Alberta, said Kenney. The leader needs to be someone “capable of restarting the economy and restoring investor confidence” in Alberta. It will require “exceptional leadership” with the relevant experience from the first day on the job.
Kenney gave the audience a summary of his achievements emphasizing his experience as a federal government minister.
He said he was ready to go “toe-to-toe” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in contrast the current situation which has Alberta behaving like a “door mat” for the federal government.
Kenney promised to travel the roads of Quebec and meet with all relevant organizations to defend Alberta’s oil and gas industry “in both official languages.” He believes many in Quebec simply do not know the whole story.
Kenney took a swipe at the other leadership candidates saying it was not appropriate to be laying our policies in the leadership bid. When Kenney called for the “members to decide” policy he received a standing ovation.
When asked whether the UCP would be ready if the NDP decided to call a snap election Kenney said he was eager for that to happen. He said the UCP could accelerate some of the steps to be accomplished. He said it would be highly unlikely that the NDP would call an early election though. Kenney predicated the NDP would likely to cling to power to the very last day possible.
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