United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney was sworn in as an official member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly Monday afternoon.
Kenney was elected MLA of the Calgary-Lougheed riding on Dec. 14, capturing more than 70 per cent of 11,000 ballots cast.
The byelection marked the fourth major win for Kenney in the past several months — his victory in the Progressive Conservative leadership in March, a successful vote to unite the PC and Wildrose parties last summer, and his triumph in October’s UCP leadership race.
“I and our caucus will raise the bar of civility and decorum in the legislature, and in the course of the next 16 months before the next election,” Kenney said in a speech to supporters at the Matrix Hotel after he was sworn in.
He also called Premier Rachel Notley a talented, intelligent and strong woman and denounced personal attacks in politics. He went on to criticize NDP rhetoric, adding Notley needs to “put an end to the anger machine.”
Kenney praised the unity campaign that launched the UCP, calling on people to join a party he described as reflective of mainstream values.
“If you are a union member that feels you’ve been mislead by the NDP — maybe they’re shutting down the coal mine where you’ve worked all your life — then please join us,” he told the 120-strong crowd. “That’s the movement of openness that we’ll be creating in the next year.”
Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell presided over the ceremony when Kenney
took his oath of office at the legislature.
The official Opposition leader spoke briefly and said he’s waited a long time to be able to call UCP caucus members “honourable colleagues.”
He thanked former UCP MLA Dave Rodney, who stepped down to pave the way for the byelection, as well as his mother — both
If you are a union member that feels you’ve been mislead by the NDP … then please join us.
watched from the gallery as he officially took up his new position.
The Legislative Assembly’s spring session is slated to start March 8, when Notley and Kenney will have the chance to debate head-to-head in question period.
The UCP has scheduled its founding general meeting to discuss party policy from May 4-6.