PC Constituency Association to select leadership delegates
The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta is getting ready to pick its new leader in March, and the local constituency association is having a meeting to select it delegates.
The new leadership party will be selected using a delegate system. This means that 265 delegates from the province will be attending the convention March 17-19 to vote for the leadership. The Drumheller PC Constituency Association will be sending 15 delegates to vote.
Constituency Association President Mark Nikota said they had initially selected the delegates, however they jumped the gun. “We had our AGM in September and at that same time did the selections for our riding. After that happened, PC Alberta came out with new rules and said constituencies couldn’t have their selections done until after the time period that candidates had time to declare they were running for the leadership,” he explains. “They told us we jumped the gate and would have to do our delegate selection again.” This does not preclude any that were initially selected. To be a delegate, the person must hold membership in the party for at least 14 days prior to the meeting on January 19, they must attend the meeting in person and be committed to attend the March convention. At the meeting, the delegate nominees will be asked to speak.
Currently, there are four running for leadership of the party including Stephen Kahn, Jason Kenny, Richard Starke and Byron Nelson. It could be a divisive leadership battle as Jason Kenny is running on a platform to unite the Conservative Party with the Wildrose Party. The other candidates appear to be running to rebuild the PC brand. Nikota says it is tough to tell how the vote will go.
“People can say they stand for whoever, but until they walk into the voting booth in March, it is really hard to say who is supporting who,” said Nikota.
“Personally I don’t think it is as easy as saying ‘let’s form a new party from the other two and defeat the NDP.’ Lots of people are scared obviously of the NDP and what they are doing, but I think it is an easy answer to say let’s form a new party and win the election.”
“I personally want to see what a new party looks like and just forming a new party isn’t any guarantee because when you look at the last election, people wanted to leave the PC Party, but people in the cities, and even in our riding, voted for the NDP. They chose to go left and not right.” In the constituency, he is seeing both positions. “I feel momentum both ways, I see people saying, ‘wait a minute - we have to stop and think this through because last time people voted for the sake of change, look where it got us,” he said. “The NDP are sliding the middle and hoping the two parties merge further to the right and then they are going to win the cities.”
The meeting is at 7 p.m. January 17 at the Jurassic Hotel in Drumheller.