Ken­ney brings lead­er­ship cam­paign to val­ley

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail Ja­son Ken­ney...

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

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