Kenney brings leadership campaign to valley
The campaign to become leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party is turning out to be a marathon, but candidate Jason Kenney is feeling some momentum.
Kenney will be through Drumheller this Thursday, December 15, for a meet and greet at the Canalta Jurassic Hotel. While the convention is still months away, he is feeling good about his chances.
“We have another 100 days to go. It’s the eternal campaign, nine months for phase one,” he chuckles. “So far we have had 16 meetings to elect delegates to the PC Leadership Convention and my campaign has won all or the majority of the delegates in 14 of the 16. We are feeling good but there is a long way to go, we are taking nothing for granted.” He is running on a platform to unite the PC and the Wildrose party.
“My sense is the overwhelming majority of Alberta conservatives want the free enterprise parties to unite. There have been two recent polls indicating that three-quarters of PC voters and 80 per cent of Wildrose voters want to see the two parties together. They don’t see a compelling reason for this vote split that could risk a second NDP term. That is why we are getting a positive response.
“We work together, the PCs and the Wildrosers in the federal Conservative Party already. We are already united at the federal level. The two caucuses are voting together provincially 90 per cent of the time.”
Obviously, the view is not unanimous. In fact, Kenney appears to be the sole candidate running on a platform of unifying the parties.
“I wish there were other pro-unity candidates in the PC leadership race, but the other three candidates have been absolutely clear about their op- position to unity,” he said. “The vast majority of Albertans don’t care about the PC brand, the Wildrose brand or the ideological labels, they just want to get rid of the NDP.”
He has laid out a five-point plan to put this vision into action. He understands there is much work ahead.
“Every one of these five points involves heavy lifting, but since when are Albertans afraid of hard work?” he said. “We don’t get to the negotiating table unless we have a pro-unity PC leader, so that is the hardest part right now. If I get a unity mandate from the PC members through this leadership election, I am confident that common sense will prevail next spring.
He sees the frustration that many Albertans have expressed about the current policy direction of the province, but hopes cooler heads prevail.
I understand and appreciate the anger that people have for the direction of our province right now. I don’t deny that for a second, but the challenge to the folks who are upset about the NDP and how it is wrecking our economy is to channel that frustration into a positive direction. The goal of the exercise isn’t to show people how angry we are, it is to defeat the NDP. For a lot of voters that means we have to be respectful and civil, and not angry and mean. I think that too much of that anger can actually help the NDP.”
“Albertans want to see a competent free enterprise government in this province, but most people are not going to take very seriously folks who say the premier should go to jail. The way in our democracy that we deal with politicians we disagree with is to vote them out.
Kenney will be at the Jurassic Hotel from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Alberta Progressive Conservative leader candidate