– Medicine Hat chooses delegates, big support for Kenney
The Medicine Hat Lodge was a lonely place to be if you weren’t a Jason Kenney supporter on Wednesday night.
About 100 Progressive Conservatives voted for which local delegates would represent them at the upcoming party convention in Calgary on March 17-18 to choose a new leader. Of the 18 candidates who ran, only local board members Perry Dooley and Jim Taylor, and youth candidate Franklin Wylie, declared their intention to support Kenney rival Richard Starke. Dooley and Taylor had already been acclaimed before the voting took place as sitting board members. Wylie eventually lost in his bid to be a delegate.
Among the declared Kenny supporters who won the right to be delegates were Jim Bredeson, Bobbi Dearborn, Alex Dumanowski, youth delegate Janine Graber, Dan Hein, Pat Hein, Terry Knodel, Jeff Lanigan, Ann Lynde, Jon Seitz, Kathleen Stubbs, and youth candidate Jacob Wylie.
Youth delegate Theo Weigel was not present for the evening, and never had an opportunity to address local members prior to the vote.
Besides Dooley and Taylor, Dumanowski, Lanigan and Weigel are all sitting board members, and were acclaimed on Wednesday.
Board member Perry Dooley used his time at the mic to make an impassioned plea to his members.
“The Conservative Party lost that (2015) election not because of splitting the vote, but because we got off track with our principles. I am a strong supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party and its principles ... We need to start living them, and Richard Starke is the one who wants to take us forward under those principles,” he said.
However, the pressing need to unite the right to defeat Premier Rachel Notley was the overarching theme for many who ran to be delegates. Candidate Bobbi Dearborn said there was no more important mission for local conservatives in Medicine Hat right now than to seek a united alternative.
“I believe under Mr. Kenney,” said Dearborn during her remarks prior to the vote, “we will have a substantial chance of defeating the NDP government in the next election.”
Despite Dooley’s plea, in the end, it was Dearborn’s message which resonated most loudly with voters on the night.
Medicine Hat Progressive Conservatives chose 15 delegates to represent them at their upcoming leadership convention on Wednesday night. Leadership candidate Jason Kenney was the firm favourite among local members, and most of the delegates chosen ran on a pro-Kenney, pro-unite-the-right message.