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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the wildrose appears split if they are actually interested in the merger plan or not )

Wildrose rift: Party appears split over merger with PCs

James Wood, Calgary Herald
More from James Wood, Calgary Herald

Don Braid, Calgary Herald
More from Don Braid, Calgary Herald

Published on: December 15, 2016 | Last Updated: December 16, 2016 5:57 AM MST

On the left, Wildrose leader Brian Jean. On the right: MLA Derek Fildebrandt

On the left, Wildrose leader Brian Jean. On the right: MLA Derek Fildebrandt Calgary Herald

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he will soon present a better path forward for conservative unity than a party merger — even as one of his MLAs, Derek Fildebrandt, is calling for his party to amalgamate with the Progressive Conservatives.

The notion of uniting the right has become a key issue in Alberta politics, with former Conservative MP Jason Kenney running for the Tory leadership on a platform of merging the parties.

But Jean told Postmedia Thursday that Kenney’s initiative won’t fly and he intends to present a plan that will actually work.

He provided few details but suggested it could include ways for the Wildrose and PCs to co-operate without a formal merger.

“It has to be something palatable to both sets of members,” said Jean. “And I think that our plan is, quite frankly, much more palatable to both sets of members.”

Jean said a year ago his party was willing to reach out on the grassroots levels to the Tories in an attempt to form a “consolidated conservative coalition.” But he shelved the idea in the spring when the PC convention rejected the merger idea and he has been cool to Kenney’s campaign.

However, Fildebrandt became the first Wildrose MLA to back the merger idea, telling a Whitecourt radio station Wednesday that the public wants the two conservative parties to come together.

“The NDP are too dangerous, they are too ideological, they are too destructive to the future of this province to take chances,” the Strathmore-Brooks MLA told XM1o5.

“I’m willing to put everything I’ve accomplished in politics on the line for this.”

Fildebrandt refused to comment to Postmedia Thursday but a spokesman for the MLA confirmed the story as accurate.

In late afternoon, the Wildrose caucus issued a statement from Fildebrandt saying he stood by his comments, but that they were consistent with what he and Jean have been saying: “That we want to see all conservatives united going into the next election to defeat and replace the NDP.”

Fildebrandt’s Whitecourt remarks echo Kenney, who commended the MLA for endorsing the merger of the “free enterprise parties.”

“There are a lot more MLAs who feel this way,” he said.

Kenney’s agenda involves winning the PC leadership in March, then launching discussions with Wildrose about unifying. If the two sides agree and the party membership votes to approve the terms, a new party would be formed that would then select a leader.

The former MP’s three rivals for the Tory leadership, Richard Starke, Byron Nelson and Stephen Khan, all oppose the merger and want to rebuild the party under the PC brand.

Jean, who spoke to Postmedia before Fildebrandt’s comments were public, suggested Kenney’s plan is “gamesmanship.”

He said it doesn’t add up, especially since Wildrose has been leading in many polls since the 2015 election that brought the NDP to power.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that we’re going to implode our parties to bring in a new party,” said Jean.

“We have to be very careful. There are so many things that could happen. You know, disillusioned voters could stay home. They could go to a different party.”

Jean said the merger proposal is much more complicated both legally and organizationally than it is being framed by its proponents. Elections Alberta has said there is no legal mechanism for parties to merge, and provincial law forbids one party from transferring assets to another.

Kenney said he did not want to engage with Jean on the issue through the news media but noted that mergers, such as the formation of the federal Conservative party, have overcome greater obstacles and “didn’t settle for half-measures.”

Jean and Fildebrandt have been at odds in the past.

Fildebrandt was briefly suspended from the Wildrose caucus in the spring over his apparent endorsement of a homophobic Facebook post targeting Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne — which the MLA had apologized for and said was inadvertent. The banishment set off a furor among some Wildrose members, and Fildebrandt was reinstated in a matter of days, with a party statement saying he had “fully accepted caucus concerns and criteria.”


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NDP's Ghosts of PC Past campaign 'bizarre,' says Jason Kenney camp

'Cheeky' NDP campaign 'trying to draw attention to the kind of people [Kenney] is surrounding himself with'

By Kim Trynacity, CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2016 7:00 AM MT| Last Updated: Dec 18, 2016 7:00 AM MT

ALberta NDP reach into the closet and dust off memories of past PC MLAs

The Jason Kenney campaign team is calling a new Alberta NDP social media campaign on twitter as "desperate and bizarre."

Entitled Ghosts of PC Past, the reel contains names of six past PC MLAs who support Jason Kenney's leadership bid.

The six include Sohail Quadri who it says spent $12,500 hosting a "lavish Christmas party. Billed to taxpayers."

It also pokes fun at former Canadian Alliance leader and Alberta cabinet minister Stockwell Day and his infamous news conference on a jet ski as a "highlight in a long series of low-lights."

Kenney spokesperson Blaise Boehmer said in an email, he finds it "bizarre" the NDP is attacking a three-week-old news release that names more than 50 former PC MLAs who endorse him.

"It's clear that the NDP is desperately looking to distract from their multi-billion-dollar, job-killing carbon tax that starts hitting Albertans' wallets in less than 2 weeks," he said.

Meant as 'a little fun'

The NDP said the social media post is meant as "a little fun," now that the legislative session has wrapped.

"He (Kenney) is a very public figure," Roari Richardson, NDP provincial secretary, said.

"He's put his name out there in terms of the leadership race and we're just trying to draw attention to the kind of people he is surrounding himself with."

But Richardson does take issue with how the Kenney camp characterizes the campaign.

"I certainly don't think it's desperate. It's maybe a little bit cheeky," he said, predicting there will be much more "back and forth" with the Kenney campaign leading up to the PC leadership election on Mar. 18.

Kenney is one of four candidates seeking the leadership of the PC party. So far, he is the only one targeted in the "ghost" campaign by the NDP.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'We need to raise the bar': PC Alberta concludes harassment investigation

Investigation ordered after former leadership candidate Sandra Jansen alleged harassment at party convention

CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2016 3:25 PM MT| Last Updated: Dec 18, 2016 8:43 PM MT

Both Jason Kenney and Sandra Jansen reported experiencing bullying at the PC convention in Red Deer in November.

Despite incidents of "rude and ill-mannered behaviour" during the Alberta Progressive Conservative party's convention last month, a report released by the party's board of directors on Sunday said there is no evidence showing any leadership candidate had their supporters target another campaign.

The two-page report from an independent third party investigator comes after former Alberta PC party leadership candidate Sandra Jansen alleged harassment at the party's convention in Red Deer left her "quite shaken."

"There were clear findings that there indeed were incidences of harassment and intimidation," PC Alberta president Katherine O'Neill said. "But what the investigators could not find was a link to say that any specific party directed this behaviour."

Jansen — who later in November crossed the floor to join the Alberta NDP caucus nine days after dropping out of the PC leadership race — submitted a formal complaint about behaviour at the conference to the party's leadership election committee.

PC leadership contender Jason Kenney also submitted a complaint, saying he was also intimidated and harassed.

O'Neill said though Kenney was subjected to verbal abuse, "by no means was it to the same extent that Ms. Jansen alleged to have had that behaviour directed at her." The report said Jansen experienced verbal harassment that made her feel unsafe and rude remarks were written on nomination papers.

According to the report, four other female PC party members spoke to the report's investigators about experiencing verbal abuse at the conference due to their political beliefs.

But O'Neill said she doesn't believe there is a sexism issue within the party.

"I think there's just a lot of passion and a lot of people that are wanting to express their views," she said.

"I think that's a very concerning message if women don't feel welcome at the table. They are — they always will be within our party."

'He-said, she-said'

The report concluded some allegations were believed to be unfounded and that certain actions could have been the result of differing opinions within the party.

Investigators determined there was evidence that some campaign supporters acted abusively toward attendees, but that there was no evidence showing either campaign directed these supporters to target others.

"Unfortunately, there was a lot of he-said, she-said and no actual witnesses to it," O'Neill said, adding the witnesses who did come forward often weren't able to identify the people in question.

O'Neill said she's disappointed by the actions of some party members, and they will act on the findings of the report by "developing processes" at their meetings. They are also looking at increasing security, as well as adopting an opt-in code of conduct for all members to abide by.

"Nobody should come to a meeting and feel that they're going to be intimidated or bullied," she said. "We've been sent a message that we need to do better, and we will do better."

Candidates' response

Representatives from Kenney's campaign said in an email Sunday afternoon that they are happy with the results of the report.

"Neither Jason nor any member of the campaign staff has engaged in personal attacks against other candidates," director of communications Blaise Boehmer said.

"The report also notes the reality that campaigns have 'very little control' over how members of the public at large might act."

When reached by CBC News, former PC leadership candidate Jansen said she will review the document before making a comment


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( there is also an alberta liberal leadership race although no named candidates yet )

Alberta Liberal Party leadership race kicks off Jan. 16

Emma Graney
More from Emma Graney

Published on: December 20, 2016 | Last Updated: December 20, 2016 4:45 PM MST

Alberta Liberal interim leader David Swann speaks to the media after the NDP delivered their provincial budget at the Alberta legislature, in Edmonton on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Alberta Liberal Party interim leader David Swann David Bloom / Postmedia

Alberta Liberal Party president Karen Sevcik sees the leadership race announced Tuesday as the first step in rebuilding her party, but fervently hopes the level of drama in the Progressive Conservative leadership battle doesn’t show its head in the Liberal race.

The Alberta Liberal Party put its leadership race on ice in January, bumping the vote from this past April to spring 2017, giving the interim leadership reins to lone Liberal MLA David Swann.

Voting will now take place online between May 27 and June 3, with the winner announced at the Liberal annual general meeting June 4 in Calgary. The nomination period begins Jan. 16.

Sevcik said Tuesday the party has been talking with half a dozen potential candidates, and is confident there will be a legitimate race, not just a coronation.

She’s banking in part on what she sees as a polarization in Alberta politics, with a hardening on the right and the governing NDP out on the left.

“I think there is an opportunity for centrism, for middle-of-the-road parties like what traditionally Liberals have represented,” she said.

That doesn’t mean Sevcik sees the party going from a single MLA to governing the province.

“That would be ludicrous,” she said, adding nor does she see swaths of hardline Progressive Conservatives flooding the Liberal membership list.

But she does envision plugging the gap in the middle.

“If (voters are) not happy with how the NDP handled government this term, and they aren’t going to be real happy with the Jason Kenney hard social conservatives, maybe there is an opportunity for us — if we can present them with a good third alternative,” Sevcik said.

The Liberal race will be the first campaign governed by new election financing rules pushed through the house by the provincial government this past session.

Sevcik said the change will undoubtedly present problems for her party, which is currently in talks with Elections Alberta to figure out the intricacies of managing fundraising and the leadership race.

It will begin that work in earnest Jan. 1.

While the Liberals have just one MLA in the legislature, losing four seats in the 2015 election and 31 since 1993, Sevcik points out the party is no longer in debt.

“Maybe people think I’m a bit crazy and a little optimistic, but I feel we’re in a good place,” Sevcik said. “There’s change afoot, and there’s opportunity when there’s change.”


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( leadership candidate Stephen Khan seems to think kenney only has a small lead in terms of delegates so far after around 29 delegate selection meetings with many more planned to take place )

Khan wins all 15 hometown delegates

Wednesday, Dec 21, 2016 06:00 am

By: Jennifer Henderson

PC Leadership candidate Stephen Khan won support of all 15 delegates selected in the St. Albert delegate selection meeting. Five alternate delegates say they would vote for Jason Kenney.

Stephen Khan has swept the slate and picked up all of the available delegates at a strong showing at his hometown delegate selection meeting.

The former St. Albert MLA picked up all 15 of the available delegates at Monday night’s delegate selection meeting (DSM) in the Progressive Conservative leadership race that is underway.

“I’m always just humbled and incredibly grateful for the incredible support I get from St. Albert,” Khan said.

However, the five alternate delegates selected all pledged their support for Jason Kenney’s unite the right cause. This means if one of the chosen delegates pledged to Khan cannot travel down to Calgary on March 18 to vote for the next leader, one of the five alternates will take their place.

Overall, 11 aspiring delegates stood up to voice their support for Kenney during the one minute speaking time, while 13 stated they were firmly in the Khan camp.

Although Kenney didn’t win any selected delegates on Monday night, the renew camp made up of Khan, MLA Richard Starke and lawyer Byron Nelson, is still trailing Kenney in the race.

“Overall I think we have closed it back down to about 15 delegates or so,” Khan said, although he is not sure of the official numbers.

But Khan is still optimistic the renew camp can catch up. He said Kenney campaigned months longer than the rest of the leadership contestants and only holds a small lead.

“I think this (St. Albert DSM) gives us some momentum and I’m really excited about the delegate selection meetings coming ahead,” Khan said.

Monday night’s event drew a large crowd, with 206 ballots cast for the delegates. This was the second largest delegate selection meeting so far, trailing only the Vermilion-Lloydminster vote, where 302 people cast their votes. Starke, with the home field advantage, walked away with all 15 delegates in his riding.

Two youth delegates selected on Monday night were Sydney Martin and Kyeler Tymafichuk.

The board members selected at the meeting were Richard Plain, Glenna Bell, Tim Holt and Neil Korotash.

The rest of the selected delegates are Beth Bell, Brent Francis, Glenn Connell, Kent Davidson, Darwin Martin, Allen Evaniew, Nicole Rondeau and Eamon Malloy.

The acclaimed delegate was Ben Brodhead.

The alternates voted in were Shawn Veenendaal, Dominic Kondratskik, Scott Payne, Liam Connelly and Ester Hofstede.

The St. Albert DSM was the 29th successful vote. A total of 87 delegate selection meetings need to be held before delegates head to Calgary to vote for the new party leader on March 18, 2017.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC party wracked by deep divisions as leadership race heads into new year

James Wood, Calgary Herald
More from James Wood, Calgary Herald

Published on: December 31, 2016 | Last Updated: December 31, 2016 6:13 AM MST

PC leadership candidates (clockwise from top left) Richard Starke, Byron Nelson, Jason Kenney and Stephen Khan.

The Progressive Conservative party is likely the strongest it’s been since the Tory dynasty went down to defeat in the 2015 election, with the race for the PC leadership boosting membership and attracting attention from the media and public.

Yet as the campaign heads into the new year — and its climax at March’s leadership convention — the party is perhaps also wracked by deeper divisions than at any moment in its history.

The race has been marked by former Conservative MP Jason Kenney’s call for the PC party to merge with the Wildrose to form a new conservative party — a stance sharply opposed by the other three candidates in the race: Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke, Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson and former St. Albert MLA Stephen Khan.

Khan — who has been perhaps the most vocal critic of Kenney among the contenders — said the party that governed Alberta for more than 40 years is facing a moment of truth in 2017.

“I trust we will see more of this as we come out of the Christmas break … people coming back and getting engaged and recognizing that should one candidate win, the PC party ends. It’s over,” said Khan, who suggested Kenney’s vision calls for an “ultraconservative” new party that would leave the Tories’ legacy in the dust.

Kenney, not surprisingly, disagrees with that negative assessment.

He said he’s aiming to reunite the same kind of inclusive conservative coalition that existed under legendary Tory premiers like Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein that has been split asunder into two warring factions for nearly a decade.

“As long as we’re divided, we’re weak,” said Kenney.

For the first time since 1985, the party is using a delegate system to pick its new leader. Tory members will vote for a slate of 15 delegates in each of the province’s 87 ridings, with the leader to be elected at a convention March 18 in Calgary.

There were 29 delegate selection meetings held in November and December, with the rest slated to be held between Jan. 9 and February 16.

“It’s going to feel really crammed with meetings, so the logistics are going to be crazy,” said Nelson.

Kenney said he’s won either a majority or all of the delegates in at least 25 of the 29 meetings held in 2016 and he’s hoping to win big at the convention to show that conservative unity is the product of a “grassroots consensus.”

But the former Calgary Midnapore MP acknowledges he’s been thinking about the split in the PC party, even as he’s focused on the divide between Tories and Wildrose.

“There will be a four-week period between the end of delegate selection meetings and the actual convention,” said Kenney.

“It’s my intention to spend that month reaching out to people from all campaigns and different views in advance of the convention.”

Other candidates in the race have different plans for that period, however.

Starke’s campaign believes it is not that far behind Kenney and the MLA notes that “there are going to be delegates who are going to change their mind between now and March 18.”

“We are very much speaking to the selected delegates and the alternates and that will continue to shift and for that last month … that will be a very concentrated period where we will reach out specifically to elected delegates,” said Starke.

Both Starke and Khan warn that a Kenney victory won’t mean a united party. Even if he succeeds in his attempt to get members of each party to vote in favour of a negotiated merger deal, there will be defectors from both Wildrose and the PCs, they maintain.

The race has had its share of tumult. Calgary MLA Sandra Jansen pulled out as a candidate — and later crossed the floor to the NDP government — citing bullying by supporters of Kenney at the party’s November convention.

A party report into the convention said Jansen had been harassed by some delegates but not at the instigation of another campaign.

The other woman who had been seeking the party leadership, former MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans, dropped out the same day as Jansen, though she said harassment was not the issue. She said she was uncertain there was room for a centrist voice in the party and that she expects Kenney to win.

Kenney’s campaign was also fined $5,000 for running a hospitality suite and having the candidate on site at the first delegate selection meeting, in Edmonton Ellerslie, which was annulled.

Nelson said he believes the party can emerge united after the campaign no matter who wins the leadership but the turmoil has taken a toll.

“I don’t want to have an overall race where the PC brand is negatively affected and I think it’s fair to argue it has been, certainly at times through the first two and a half months of this race.”

“You hope at the end there will be a party to win — I do think there will be.”


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 30, 2016 8:35 am Updated: December 30, 2016 8:18 pm

Ric McIver confident voters are ready to give Alberta PCs another chance

TOM By Tom Vernon
Provincial Affairs Reporter Global News

After governing for more than four decades and suffering a crushing electoral defeat in May 2015, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party is at a crossroads. The party is having a hard time fundraising, its leadership contest has created deep divisions and it’s not exactly clear the brand will even exist when the next election is called.

Despite all of these challenges, the party’s placeholder leader feels there is momentum behind the movement and Albertans shouldn’t be counting them out.

“People will grab me in a public place by the lapel and they’ll say, ‘you better be ready for the next election so we can vote for you,'” Interim PC leader Ric McIver told Global News during a year-end interview.

“They’re expressing support and anger all in the same sentence. It’s really interesting.”

An Insights West poll found the party is tied with the NDP at 27 per cent support provincially, trailing the Wildrose Party by seven points.

In the spring, a poll conducted for Global News by Ipsos pegged PC support at 32 per cent support among decided voters, six points up on the Wildrose and 11 points higher than the New Democrats.

“Albertans are shopping for another government already.”

What the party looks like by 2019 is still up in the air

Progressive Conservatives are in the process of selecting who will lead the party into the next election. Four candidates are vying for the top job. There are former provincial cabinet ministers Richard Starke and Stephen Kahn, Calgary businessman Byron Nelson and former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney.

Starke, Kahn and Nelson are running on renewal campaigns, while Kenney has based his campaign on collapsing the party and merging it with the Wildrose to form one united conservative party.

“There is always more than one path, there’s always more than one choice,” said McIver, who is not publicly supporting any of the candidates.

“I’m just happy that everybody is up front about it and then members of our party can make a choice based on what their candidate says.”

But the race has been divisive.

Both Donna Kennedy-Glans and Sandra Jansen dropped out early. Kennedy-Glans said she left because politics in Alberta is polarizing with limited opportunity for a centrist voice, while Jansen said she left because of the harassment she faced during a PC policy convention in Red Deer that also hosted a leadership forum.

Just days after dropping out of the race, Jansen crossed the floor from the PC party to the governing New Democrats, stating the PCs were unwelcoming to moderate women.

“It is what it is. I don’t have any regrets,” said McIver, who was criticized for not reaching out to Jansen in the days following her dropping out of the race.

As for the assertions that there isn’t room for moderate women in the conservative movement, McIver pointed to interim federal leader Rona Ambrose and PC party president Katherine O’Neill as proof there is.

“Women have a lot of responsible decision-making positions within our party and always have and I expect, always will.”

McIver concerned about toxic nature that has taken over political discourse

That doesn’t mean McIver isn’t concerned about where the tone of debate seems to be headed – not just in Alberta, but around the world.

“It’s not acceptable… nobody benefits from it and I’m not happy about it.”

Jansen now has a security detail after being the target of even more violent and often sexist comments. Premier Rachel Notley has been the targets of similar comments.

McIver feels a couple of things are at play here. In Alberta, he believes the discontent with the NDP government was born because people were voting against the PCs in the last election, not for the New Democrats.

He also believes this discourse is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed and it starts with political leaders.

“We will hammer the government on every policy we disagree with and we will not be gentle with it, but we will not sink to personal attacks.”

There are policies from NDP government McIver feels need to be hammered

One of the policies McIver feels Albertans are most upset about is the carbon tax set to take effect in the New Year.

The NDP has launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the plan and has shifted the speaking notes of ministers to call it a made-in-Alberta plan, as opposed to one imposed by Ottawa.

“Frankly, I think the premier and her cabinet are learning just how unpopular this is and what a bad policy it is,” McIver said.

“Consequently, they’re trying to deflect the blame to Ottawa.”

The federal Liberal government is moving to impose a price on carbon across the country, reaching $50 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2022. The Alberta plan initially called for a $30 price by then, but the premier has since signed on to the higher ceiling.

The move has angered Conservatives both federally and provincially and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall refused to sign on. McIver believes Alberta should be following Saskatchewan’s lead.

“They should fight it like Brad Wall is.”

The NDP government argues the climate leadership plan – that not only includes a price on carbon but an emissions cap for the oilsands and the accelerated phase-out of coal power – lead to the approval of two pipelines.

After the Liberal government gave the green light to the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain expansion and the Enbridge Line 3 replacement, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr called Alberta’s climate plan the building blocks of the approvals.

McIver doesn’t believe that argument holds any water.

“Brad Wall in Saskatchewan gets just as much benefit from the pipeline as Alberta does, some could argue more on the one that goes through the States (Line 3) and he continues to rail against the carbon tax and the federal government.”

Next few months pivotal for future of PC party

Progressive Conservatives will select a new permanent leader for the party at a convention in Calgary in March. The winner will either work to renew the party as it currently stands or move to tear it down and create an entirely new one.

Whoever PC members choose, McIver is confident the party is rebuilding and on the right path.

“We will be a contender in the next election, which means we’ve come a long way since May 5th last year.”


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calgary MLA Richard Gotfried endorses Jason Kenney for PC leader

The MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek says unity is needed amongst Alberta conservatives

Jason Kenney has one more endorsement from a PC party MLA.

By: Brodie Thomas Metro Published on Wed Jan 11 2017

Jason Kenney has yet another backer in his bid to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservatives and ultimately unite the right.

Calgary-Fish Creek Richard Gotfried announced his support for Kenney at a Calgary rally attended by about 700.

Gotfried said he’s been hearing from his constituents that they want a united conservative front for the 2019 election.

“Jason Kenney is both the right person and the best person to re-unite Alberta conservatives,” said Gotfried in a statement. “He’s smart, experienced, articulate and resourceful. He’s a consensus builder with the gifted leadership skills needed for a new, big tent party for Alberta conservatives.”

In the same statement, Kenney said he’s grateful for the support.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenney tells supporters on merger with Wildrose, he can “get ‘er done”

Calgary,Alberta / News Talk 770 (CHQR)

John Himpe

Posted: January 11, 2017 11:37 pm

Kenney tells supporters on merger with Wildrose, he can "get 'er done"
Jason Kenney speaks to supporters at a town hall event in Calgary on January 11, 2017. Photo Credit : John Himpe / News Talk 770

It took two rooms to hold all the people who came out to be part of a town hall meeting hosted by Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Jason Kenney on Wednesday night.

Supporters – including current and former conservative-aligned politicians – devoured Kenney’s talking points. The overriding theme of the evening was Kenney’s belief in the importance of unifying centre-right voters currently split between the PCs and Wildrose Party.

“It is time for us to park the labels, to park the brands, to park the egos, and the resentments,” said Kenney. “It’s time to put Alberta first.”

When pressed by supporters as to whether Wildrose Party members may have reservations toward a merger with the Progressive Conservatives, Kenney said he believes there is an appetite on the part of Wildrose leader Brian Jean to talk.

“In two recent polls, approximately 85 per cent of Wildrose voters expressed support for unity,” said Kenney. “Brian Jean has said repeatedly that he is on the dance floor wearing his dancing shoes, waiting for a willing dancing partner.”

But Kenney also acknowledges splicing the two parties into one isn’t an easy task.

“There are issues and challenges we’d have to work through with sound advice and strong and prudent leadership. But since when did we Albertans become the can’t-do province,” questioned Kenney. “I think our unofficial provincial motto is ‘get ‘er done,’ and we are gonna get this thing done.”

Among the politicians in the room was Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried, who is the latest to lend his endorsement to the Kenney campaign on Wednesday night. Gotfried had been a member of the Progressive Conservative leadership election committee, but says he has resigned that post now that he is backing Kenney.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason Kenney challenged on unity plan by fellow Alberta PC leader candidates

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, January 15, 2017 8:04PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:58PM EST

EDMONTON - The gloves came off at Alberta's Progressive Conservative leadership debate Sunday, with three candidates telling former Conservative MP Jason Kenney his plan to unite with the right-leaning Wildrose is cynical and shortsighted folly.

"Folks, this is a hostile takeover of our Progressive Conservative party," candidate Stephen Khan told the 650 people who came to the debate at a southside Edmonton hall, to a smattering of cheers and boos.

PC legislature member Richard Starke referred to Kenney as "the career politician" and said political parties have to be about principles and not simply "a quest for power."

"The career politician is focused on the next election, but I am focused on what happens after that," said Starke, the MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster.

Kenney is the only one of the four candidates running on a platform to dissolve the party and seek a merger with the fellow right-centre Wildrose party.

Kenney said vote splitting is harming the conservative movement and allowing Premier Rachel Notley's NDP to come up the middle to victory to implement policies that are hurting families, killing jobs and stifling initiative.

Kenney told the crowd Alberta "is the beating heart of free enterprise in Canada and we cannot afford to have that beating heart stilled by an ideological socialist government."

The Wildrose party began more than a decade ago as a splinter group of provincial Tories disaffected with a party they believed had become fiscally wasteful, was governed from the top down and didn't respect private land rights.

While Kenney said he believes all conservatives share core values of limited government and free enterprise, the other candidates say the social conservatism of the Wildrose makes it a poor fit for their big-tent party.

"I can't stand by and allow our conservative family to be torn apart by the contrived and hollow promise of unity," said Khan.

"(It's) an undertaking that will not only result in four more years of NDP rule but will surely be the end of the party that (former PC premier) Peter Lougheed built."

Candidate Byron Nelson, a Calgary lawyer, agreed, saying a merger is "an unrealistic, unworkable plan that will only lead to the destruction of the party and the re-election of the NDP."

Party members will convene March 18 in Calgary to select a new leader in a delegated convention.

The idea has exposed divisions in the Wildrose. Leader Brian Jean is taking a wait-and-see approach, while finance critic Derek Fildebrandt is openly pushing for merger.

PC Party president Katherine O'Neill confirmed Sunday that the party has pulled the party membership of Kenney organizer Alan Hallman for a year and banned him from events during that time.

O'Neill wouldn't say why, but Hallman said it was over two tweets he made where he used coarse language in reference to political foes.

"It's abolutely asinine that they would go ahead and suspend me for something as trivial as a couple of tweets from my private Twitter account," Hallman said Sunday evening.

Kenney said Hallman will no longer be working on his campaign but said a double standard was at work.

"If every member of the party who has said far more vicious things about me were held to the same standard there would be a lot of people losing their memberships," said Kenney.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( this article claims some in the pc's old guard might try and kick Kenney out before he can win and dismantle the old party )

Don Braid: Alberta PCs consider kicking out Jason Kenney before he can dismantle the party

Don Braid | January 18, 2017 10:37 PM ET
More from Don Braid

Will the Alberta Progressive Conservative party dare to kick out Jason Kenney at this late point in the chaotic leadership race?

The PC board members might just do it.

The fight for the old party is no longer political. It’s existential.

Does the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, winner of 12 straight elections, simply follow Kenney’s prescription and vote itself out of existence, or fight on with its own identity?

The question was theoretical when Kenney began his run last year, although worrisome enough that some key PC players wanted him rejected at the start.

The argument for banning him was quite credible. Leadership candidates are supposed to promote the best interests of the party. Arguably, abolishing the party doesn’t quite meet that standard.

But many PCs still believed the membership would spit out Kenney like a bad clam. So they let him run, and were immediately stunned by his organization, money and bloodthirsty will to prevail.

Now a Kenney victory is stark reality. He’s running away with the race and everybody knows it. One riding after another is picking slates of Kenney delegates for the March convention.

And so, an endgame debate about Kenney is raging among the traditional PCs who still dominate the board. The talk hasn’t risen to the level of a formal board meeting, but that could be close.

Everybody’s still using code, but it doesn’t take much brainpower to decipher comments from interim party leader Ric McIver, who hasn’t declared himself but is clearly in Kenney’s camp.

“Efforts to look for excuses to disqualify a contestant so some other contestant in the leadership can win are faulty efforts,” he told Postmedia’s James Wood. “If we’re going to be a successful party going forward, we must, must, must let our members decide who the next leader of our party is.”

Kenney’s people are fully expecting a move to oust him. If it happens, they’ll raise hell, prompting a ferocious backlash from tens of thousands of Alberta conservatives who want a united front against the NDP.

But some PC board members believe that taking the abuse is preferable to abolition of the party they’ve supported for decades. They hope to hunker down until the storm passes, and rebuild later on their old foundation.

That’s not entirely delusional. Many PC voters do not want their party buried by Kenney and his crew of Harper loyalists.

This fight goes back nearly 50 years, to Peter Lougheed’s first victory over Social Credit. It played out in split loyalty between federal PCs and the Reform party, in Ralph Klein’s leadership victory over Nancy Betkowski in 1992, in the 2009 split of Wildrose from the PC government.

But this conflict is different, and even more emotional, because it doesn’t just involve the leadership of the party. It’s about the very survival of the party. That’s why the PC board might just eject Kenney.

The pressures are already cracking the party wide open.

The new president of the youth wing, installed by Kenney loyalists, blasts the main governing board for kicking out Kenney campaign organizer Allan Hallman.

Kenneyites in the youth group even thumbed their noses by making Hallman their honorary chair. This is unprecedented — like sea cadets jeering the admiral.

On Twitter, some of Kenney’s loyalists come close to calling for the overthrow of the main governing board. That would be one way to keep the board from overthrowing him.

Ejecting Kenney would be complicated. Hundreds of his delegates have already been voted in. Four of eight PC MLAs endorse Kenney. There would be a civil war unlike anything we’ve seen since Wildrose first split off from the PCs.

But when the alternative is death, PC traditionalists might just start the war.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Former MLAs back Kenney for PC leader

By Collin Gallant on January 20, 2017.



Southeast Alberta’s former MLAs are throwing support behind Jason Kenney’s campaign to win their party’s leadership, then create a new party to challenge the governing New Democrats.

The former federal cabinet minister was in Medicine Hat Wednesday to reiterate before a town hall crowd of about 200 his plans to form a combined Progressive Conservative-Wildrose Party.

Len Mitzel and Lorne Taylor had lent their support to the drive.

Those men respectively represented the riding of Cypress-Medicine Hat from 1993 to 2012, while Alan Hyland (MLA from 1974 to 1991) says he is also considering the plan.

The current MLA, Wildrose representative Drew Barnes, has said he’s considering what a merger might mean.

Taylor said the issue essentially comes down to math and the importance of defeating the NDP in an election in 2019.

“My position is very clear,” said Taylor. “In the last election there were 30 or so seats where a combined conservative would have won, including in the city of Medicine Hat.

“The question is whether we can learn from the past? It clearly indicates that if you have split parties, you end up with a socialist government.”

Mitzel is out of the country but confirmed to the News on Thursday he has told Kenney that he has his support.

Hyland said he is still formulating a final opinion.

“I like what Jason is saying, but I don’t know if I’m there yet,” Hyland told the News.

Barnes, who beat Mitzel in a spirited contest in the 2012 election, said “about 70 per cent” of constituents he’s heard from “are so fearful of another NDP government that whey want conservatives to be talking to each other.”

“At the same time, they say that the entitlement and waste of the PC governments can’t be replicated,” said Barnes.

Releases from the Kenney campaign state that more than 50 former PC MLAs have thrown their support behind his candidacy. The list includes four of the nine current PC MLAs.

As the New Democratics won a majority of seats in the 2015 provincial elections, Hatters elected NDP candidate Bob Wanner with 38 per cent of the vote.

Right-leaning observers have often pointed out his total of 6,159 votes was only 399 ahead of Wildrose candidate Val Olson, while PC incumbent Blake Pedersen earned about 3,200 votes.

The argument is that a single “conservative” candidate would have earned 54.4 per cent of the vote and the seat.

Since last spring, Kenney has argued that negotiating some single party arrangement with Wildrose Party officials and members is the best strategy to unseat the NDP.

The PC leadership contest, which includes MLA Richard Starke, lawyer Byron Nelson and party activist Stephen Khan, will be decided at a party convention in Calgary on March 18.

That will involve voting by locally-elected delegates (a process that happens here in mid-February).

Taylor, as a former cabinet minister, is guaranteed a vote in March that he says will go to Kenney.

“We have to unite the right, or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “Jason Kenney is the only (PC leadership candidate) that support PCs and Wildrose coming together in one party.”

Until recently, Taylor headed the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency, an outside agency formed by the PC government in 2012 improve analysis of oilsands pollution.

He has been critical of the New Democrat government since it decided to return that work back inside the ministry last spring.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calgary PC MLA Richard Gotfried says many in party brass open to booting Jason Kenney out of leadership race

By Rick Bell, Calgary Sun
First posted: Saturday, January 21, 2017 08:22 PM MST

Forget the Notley NDP government for just 10 minutes, if you can.

Read this column and it may remind you why, not so long ago, you were disgusted with the PC establishment, the movers and shakers of Toryland.

The story is simple.

The Progressive Conservatives are now electing delegates who will vote for a new party leader at a convention in March.

The bone of contention is whether or not conservatives should quit fighting each other and unite in one party to defeat the NDP in 2019.

No more PCs. No more Wildrose. One new party.

Jason Kenney is for the unity idea. The three other leadership candidates are not.

So far, Kenney has won the lion’s share of the delegates.

Now, there’s all kinds of chatter about some PCers wanting to boot Kenney out of the race. They don’t want to unite with anybody.

Calgary’s Richard Gotfried is a PC member of the legislature. He was also on a committee overseeing the leadership contest until he had seen enough.

Now he supports Kenney.

Does Gotfried believe the party brass could go for the politically nuclear option and throw Kenney out of the PC leadership battle?

The answer is disturbing.

“I believe there is a predisposition amongst many of the PC party board members, possibly a majority, to try to find ways to disqualify Jason Kenney,” says Gotfried.


He feels it is possible they may act because the behaviour of PC party higher-ups has been “unpredictable and irrational.”

“There’s a volatile situation here which is concerning to everybody. There’s an uneasiness.”

“There appears to be a really vocal ABK, Anybody But Kenney movement, albeit small, which appears to be emanating from within the leadership of the party, aka the insiders.”

He questions how far they’ll go. He hopes “cooler heads will prevail.”

When Gotfried was on the committee handling the leadership battle he felt like the odd person out.

He didn’t like how the group wanted to limit the power of regular party members in favour of insiders.

He didn’t like how they would reject compromise.

He didn’t like how they were heavy-handed in dealing with the Kenney campaign, especially in suspending longtime PC organizer Alan Hallman from the party for sending out two tweets using derogatory language.

Gotfried insists he just wants to reflect what the party membership wants.

On Saturday, he talks to PC party members in his area and they want unity and they support Kenney.

Gotfried says he is hopeful the party notables are listening and won’t do anything rash.

“I am going to put my faith in human nature they will not go to those extremes.”

But he worries about “the reality of their neutrality.”

Gotfried warns the PC bigwigs.

“If they were to make any move to disqualify Jason, the blowback from the party grassroots would be monumental,” he says, in a most serious tone.

“Any such move by the leadership, and more specifically from the president of the party, would be a huge step toward the political and financial demise of the PCs.”

That is one serious mouthful.

Earlier this week, the PC party board said it “never contemplated this action.”

That is, showing Kenney the door.

“The will of the members will be heard and respected.”

So they said.

Meanwhile, the race goes on.

Results come in from PC party members in riding after riding.

In northwest Calgary, Kenney wins big.

Ditto in a riding in north central Calgary. Ditto in the southwest of the city.

Two in southern Alberta. Kenney.

Central Alberta. Kenney. Further north. Kenney. Southeast Edmonton. Kenney.

The Kenney juggernaut racks up the wins.

The idea of one unified conservative party couldn’t gain more traction if Kenney’s Dodge truck had studded tires.

Time is running out.

If the PC brass has a bomb they better drop it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC leadership candidates make Grande Prairie stop

By Kevin Hampson, Daily Herald-Tribune

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 5:31:03 MST PM

The leadership candidates for the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party will be speaking in Grande Prairie at a town hall Friday.

Candidates Jason Kenney, Stephen Khan, Byron Nelson and Richard Starke will make their respective pitches for the future of the PC Party at the Pomeroy Hotel from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission is $15, with funds going to the Grande Prairie-Wapiti and Grande Prairie Smoky PC Associations and PC Alberta.

“It’s nice to have all the leadership candidates in town all at once and we’re looking forward to a good discussion,” said Jackie Clayton, local regional director for the PC Party.

They’re expecting about 200 people to come to the evening, which should last about 1 hour and 45 minutes, Clayton said.

Clayton said a broad list of topics would potentially come up, including the carbon tax, Bill 10, parental rights, taxation and the future of the PC Party.

The format is as follows. The candidates will give opening statements, and then answer six questions. Each candidate will get two minutes to answer each question, followed by an opportunity to give a 30-second rebuttal to other candidates’ comments. There will also be questions submitted by the audience and read by a moderator. Each candidate will get two questions from the floor. To wrap up, candidates will give two-minute closing statements.

In previous encounters, Kenney has clashed with the other three candidates over his proposal to merge the PC Party with the Wildrose in order to oust the NDP.
Grande Prairie-Wapiti PC MLA Wayne Drysdale is backing candidate Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( another candidate has quit the alberta pc race )

January 27, 2017 1:28 am Updated: January 27, 2017 1:35 am

Stephen Khan quits Alberta PC leadership race, cites ‘vitriol, anger and division’

CroppedPhilResized By Phil Heidenreich
Online journalist Global News

An already tumultuous race to select a new leader for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative (PC) Party took another turn as Stephen Khan announced he was ending his campaign and throwing his support behind Richard Starke on Thursday night.

Just hours earlier, Starke announced that he hoped to work with the party’s conservative rivals in the Wildrose Party.

Watch below: Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Richard Starke announces plan to have the PCs and Wildrose parties work together to defeat the NDP government. Julia Wong reports.

Play Video

Khan said in a release that he was leaving because the campaign had become hostile. His departure from the race came just over two months after Sandra Jansen dropped out of the race and joined the Alberta NDP, alleging a “hostile takeover” within the PC Party.

“I was confident that this race would be one of ideas and hope for Alberta’s future and I expected it to be a well-run and principled campaign,” Khan’s statement said. “Instead, it has devolved into vitriol, anger and division. As such, I can no longer participate in this race in good conscience, nor ask my family, volunteers and supporters to do the same on my behalf.

“We have seen the reputation of the PC Party damaged so badly over the course of this campaign that our credibility may be beyond repair.”

Khan also said he was concerned by harassment and threats endured by various people in the party.

Like Jansen, he said he believed “there is no room in this race for competing ideas” and that his party had seen “more anger and division in the last three months than in the half-century legacy of this party.”

The St. Albert MLA first joined the leadership race in November and at the time said there was a need to rebuild trust on the constituency level between the party and party officials, which he said would help rebuild the party after its devastating loss to the NDP in 2015.

“In November, I was incredibly proud to launch my modern conservative movement and run for leader of the Progressive Conservative Party,” Khan said in Thursday’s statement. “My team of supporters and I were excited to join a race based on ideas, values and a vision the future of our party and province.

“As I step down, I know other candidates in this leadership race will carry on the fight. I will remain a proud member and volunteer with the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. Going forward, I will put my support behind Richard Starke and I would ask my supporters to do the same.”

Aside from Khan and Jansen, Donna Kennedy-Glans also withdrew her leadership bid in November. At the time, she said she was sorry if Jansen dealt with bullying or harassment during her campaign, but it wasn’t something she faced.

Three candidates remain in the running to become leader: Starke, Jason Kenney and Byron Nelson.

Kenney has campaigned on a pledge to try to unite Alberta’s conservative parties: the Wildrose and the PCs. On Thursday afternoon, just hours after Starke held a press conference to say he hoped to work together with the Wildrose but without officially merging the two parties, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean released a video in which he announced conservatives in the province should “pursue unity.”

“I am announcing today, that if our members approve a unity agreement with the PC Party, I am prepared to stand down as leader of the Wildrose and to seek the leadership of our single, principled, conservative party in a race to be conducted this summer,” he said.

Watch below: With PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney campaigning on a platform to merge his party with the Wildrose, there has been growing talk about the potential to unite-the-right in Alberta politics. On Thursday, Wildrose leader Brian Jean signalled he is now open to the idea after being cool to merger talks earlier. Fletcher Kent reports.

In December 2014, then-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith crossed the floor to join the PCs and took eight members of her former party with her. The move was met with a public outcry as many voters said they felt the move was a betrayal.

In May 2015, the Progressive Conservative Party’s 44-year-reign over Alberta came to an end when it was defeated by Rachel Notley and the NDP in the provincial election.

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will vote to elect a permanent leader on March 18 in Calgary.

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Alberta PC leadership race

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