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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( in another twist , wildrose leader Brian Jean is willing to endorse a merger but now wants to run for the leadership of the new party )

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean endorses a plan to unite the right, wants to lead it

By Emma Graney
First posted: Thursday, January 26, 2017 04:32 PM MST | Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017 07:24 PM MST

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean set the stage Thursday for a head-to-head battle with Jason Kenney in a bid to lead a new, united, right-wing party in Alberta.

In a video message posted online to supporters, Jean said if his party members approve a unity agreement with Progressive Conservatives, he will stand down as leader of the Wildrose and seek leadership of a united conservative party this summer.

In the video, he doesn’t name former MP Jason Kenney — who gatecrashed Alberta’s politics scene last year with a plan to win Progressive Conservative leadership and start a new conservative party with the Wildrose — but says if PC members “select a dance partner that we’ve been looking for,” his party should move forward to merge conservatives into a single brand.

Kenney thanked Jean Thursday for putting to bed any doubts on where the Wildrose leader stands on the question of unity.

Jean hasn’t been shy about wanting conservatives to work together, but voicing the wish to fight under a single banner is a distinct change in tone.

After October’s Wildrose convention in Red Deer, he told Postmedia he was “100 per cent open to whatever my members want,” but said he wasn’t going to interfere with the PC leadership race.

“Once they decide what they stand for, it’s going to be much easier to see us move forward together, if that’s what the members want,” he said at the time.

The question of a merged conservative force has divided the PC leadership race.

Of the four candidates, only Kenney supports the idea, though on Thursday fellow leadership hopeful Richard Starke acknowledged conservatives have to work together to stamp out vote splitting.

Hours before Jean's video was posted, Starke proposed his own plan to media, arguing for a coalition-like agreement between PC and Wildrose.

Calling it a “necessary adjustment” to his campaign, the Vermillion-Lloydminster MLA said his idea was a reaction to Albertans who see Kenney’s unity plan as the only way to defeat the NDP in the next election.

Starke thinks Kenney's proposal is far too risky and will leave conservatives scrambling to get a new party organized before the 2019 election.

Under Alberta election laws, cash and assets can’t be transferred from one party to another, so a new party would also be starting from scratch financially.

Starke said Thursday he hadn’t spoken with anyone in the Wildrose Party about his idea.

He didn’t want it to smack of the kind of backroom deal that caused trouble in Alberta politics in the past but was confident Wildrosers would get on board — a prospect that, after Jean’s announcement, seems unlikely.

Jean’s support for unification comes with caveats.

He wants Wildrose’s legal framework to be the foundation of a consolidated conservative party, and said members must decide its name.

He also listed a raft of shared visions for the new party: Individual freedoms, fiscal responsibility, religious and civil liberty, equality of opportunity, welcoming to Albertans of all backgrounds and a focus on the grassroots.

“Our party must never be a home for cronies who want to use government and politics for their own personal gain,” he said, taking a jab at the former PC administration.

“In the last election, Albertans soundly rejected those who put personal ambition ahead of principles.”

Jean said while he’s confident Wildrose would defeat the NDP on its own in the next election, uniting conservatives under a single banner will best serve future generations.

But he made no bones about the fact he wants to lead the party and has his sights set on the premier's chair.

Jean and Kenney both returned to the province from Ottawa after stints as MPs, although Jean's two years of Widlrose leadership has rewarded him with solid popularity ratings in the polls.

Kenney said he hopes Jean will run for leadership of the party, but wouldn't wade into the potential battle with his former federal Conservative colleague, pointing out he still has to win the PC leadership vote on March 18.

While he has been publicly claiming victory at scores of delegate selection meetings, when it boils down to it, delegates can vote for whichever candidate they choose.

If he does emerge victorious in March, Kenney said he's looking forward to sitting down with Jean and the Wildrose caucus to work out an agreement in principle for the new party.

Jean didn't comment Thursday, instead letting his video do the talking


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC hopefuls square off in the Hat

By Gillian Slade on February 2, 2017.

Each of the PC leadership candidates drew strong applause from the audience at Wednesday evening’s debate, but some of the party faithful are not in favour of merging the Wildrose and PC parties.

Jason Kenney is the only candidate in favour of collapsing both the PC and the Wildrose parties and establishing a new party that he feels would be in a better position to defeat the NDP government in the 2019 provincial election.

“The key message that I got was that the unity message that Mr. Kenney has been proposing has been laid bare for the lie that it is,” said Jim Taylor. “It is simply not possible. It is not feasible and it’s certainly not what the party voted for back in May at our AGM.”

Richard Starke, currently an MLA, said it was risky to create a new party. The process would take too long, and what worked federally, merging the Reform party with the Conservatives, cannot necessarily be applied at the provincial level. Starke also noted it took several elections for the Conservatives to win a majority after that merger.

Jason Kenney’s assertion that a referendum on a merger would allow the people to decide, rather than the party leadership, drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Signals from the Wildrose on the matter are more consistent with a “takeover” than a merger, said Byron Nelson. The Wildrose is already seeking nominations in preparation for the next election, which is a very strong indication they are not interested in a merger.

“Clearly the Wildrose isn’t interested and the grassroots of the PC party isn’t interested,” said Taylor. “I think Mr. Kenney’s dream is a pipe dream.”

Taylor says the PC party has been working hard since the last provincial election, about 18 months ago, to turn things around. They have got their financial house in order as a party, have strong constituency associations in all 87 ridings, and now need a strong leader.

“I thought Dr. Starke was exceptional tonight … I think he is certainly the man for the job,” said Taylor.

It was Kenney’s response to a question about property rights that provoked a strong reaction from Jim Horsman, a former cabinet member of the PC party during his career in politics from 1975 to 1993.

“I cannot believe that I heard a man who wants to be premier of Alberta being prepared to abdicate the responsibilities under section 92.13 of the constitution which provides that property and civil rights are the sole responsibility of the province,” Horsman said. “To have somebody advocate adopting Pierre Trudeau’s efforts on property rights in the federal charter 1982, which was defeated by the provinces. It shocks me.”


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC hopefuls square off in final leadership debate

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

Published on: February 8, 2017 | Last Updated: February 8, 2017 6:23 AM MST

Richard Starke speaks during the final PC leadership debate with Byron Nelson, left and Jason Kenney at the Royal Canadian Legion #1 on Tuesday evening February 7, 2017.

As Jason Kenney pitched his plan for uniting the Tories with the Wildrose in the final debate of the Progressive Conservative leadership race, his rivals took aim at what they said was an unworkable scheme to create “Wildrose 2.0.”

The leadership contest, which culminates in a delegated convention in March, has been dominated by the question of whether the PCs should come together with the Wildrose to take on the NDP in the 2019 provincial election.

But while Kenney wants the membership of the two parties to join together to form a new party, Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson said the former MP’s plan amounts to the Tories — who governed Alberta for more than four decades — being “absorbed into Wildrose version 2.0.”

Nelson noted that while Brian Jean has recently announced he supports a united conservative party, the Wildrose Leader has insisted it must be done with his party as the legal mechanism. As well, Elections Alberta says there is no legal mechanism for parties to merge.

“There is 0.0 per cent chance that within the time to contest the next election we will have a single small-c conservative entity,” Nelson told the crowd of just under 400 gathered at the downtown Royal Canadian Legion.

“If you believe in the myth we lost because we split the vote last time, get ready for us to have three bloody conservative parties in 2019.”

Starke, the MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster, noted that the models Kenney points to, the federal Conservatives and Saskatchewan Party, both lost the first elections they fought under a unified banner.

He said any question put to members has to be not only about unity but also whether they are in favour of deregistering the PC party and forfeiting more than $1 million in assets held by the party and its constituency associations.

“Let’s tell people the whole story,” said Starke.

“Brian Jean has laid out the parameters under which he would create unity and it would simply be the second version of Wildrose 2.0.”

But Kenney — the frontrunner in the race with the largest contingent of supporters in the crowd — said unity was a means of fixing a “broken political system that allowed the NDP to win with 40 per cent of the vote.”

“Let’s not look at this party as an organized act of nostalgia that’s trying to defend the past. Let’s instead secure the future. Let’s look through the windshield instead of the rear-view mirror,” said Kenney, a former federal cabinet minister who resigned as the Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore last fall.

Kenney received some good news earlier Tuesday, as the Wildrose association at the University of Calgary announced that it had passed resolutions supporting a united conservative party and endorsing Kenney, not Jean, as the hypothetical party’s prospective leader.

The exchange on conservative unity saw the most sparks fly during the evening, but there were also other areas of disagreement as the candidates were quizzed on policy.

Nelson was the only contender to speak favourably of a potential Calgary bid for the Winter Olympics, while Starke and Kenney said the idea would be too expensive given the province’s current financial situation.

There was also a clashed over Kenney’s contention he would as premier sue to block a federal carbon tax, with Nelson scoffing at the notion the province held the legal ability to fight the Liberal government on the issue.

The Tories will select a new leader at a delegated convention in Calgary next month. Each of the province’s 87 ridings are sending 15 delegates, voted on at selection meetings, while there are an estimated 400 automatic delegates, including party officials and past and present PC MLAs.

The race has been a marathon since it began last fall but it is culminating in a sprint.

On the same night of the debate, there were three delegate selection meetings, with 21 more crammed into the next week. One final DSM will be held on Feb. 20 before a four-week lull ahead of the March 18 convention.

It has also been rife with controversy. All the leadership candidates save Kenney have opposed the unification idea and want the party to be rebuilt over the PC brand. But three candidates have pulled out, including Sandra Jansen, who crossed the floor to the NDP after experiencing harassment at the party’s November convention


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ambrose backs unity push; another complaint filed against Kenney

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

Last Updated: February 10, 2017 6:13 AM MST

MP and interim federal Conservative leader Rona Ambrose talks with guests before a speech at the Metropolitan Centre in Calgary on Thursday February 9, 2017. GAVIN YOUNG/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Rona Ambrose says the future of Alberta depends on provincial conservatives uniting into a single party.

In a speech Thursday night to the Alberta Can’t Wait pro-unity group, the interim federal Conservative leader reiterated that she wants members of the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose to bridge the current divide and join together.

Ambrose said emulating the process that saw the federal Conservative party come together from the federal PCs and the Canadian Alliance is a necessity on the provincial level to defeat Premier Rachel Notley’s government, which she castigated for raising taxes and not controlling spending.

“It’s time to give Albertans a chance to choose something better than the NDP,” said the Sturgeon River-Parkland MP.

“And that’s a principled alternative, led by courageous, compassionate Albertans, that will lift up our most vulnerable and set free our most ambitious. Those are the Albertans that will set this province right again and make sure its best years are yet to come. So it’s not us versus them, it’s time for us to come together. It’s time for us to unite.”

When asked if she would consider running for the leadership of a united conservative political party in Alberta, Ambrose answered: “no.”

“My real commitment right now is to help bring all the people I love in both parties together and that’s what I’m really focused on,” she said following her speech.

Meanwhile, there was more intrigue in the Alberta PC leadership race Thursday, as Calgary lawyer Jeff Rath filed a complaint with the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta against Jason Kenney, alleging “numerous violations” of the PCAA constitution and leadership election code of ethics, which states that candidates must avoid causing harm to the PCAA brand.

“He has no interest whatsoever in leading the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta in the next election to a victory against the NDP, but his plan is…to deregister and destroy the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and start a new party that he then wants to be leader of,” Rath said.

Kenney called the accusation that his campaign has caused damage to the reputation of the PC party “laughable and counter-factual.”

“This would be analogous to somebody trying to disqualify Stephen Harper or Peter MacKay from seeking the leadership of the merged Conservative Party of Canada because they sought a new beginning together,” he said.

“The vast majority of grassroots PCs are saying that they prefer the path of unity to that of division. They have a right to have their views expressed in the election of the leader on the convention floor and our campaign is the vehicle for that.”

Kenney said he was very disappointed that “another campaign would seek to disqualify my candidacy.”

While Rath has supported Richard Starke’s leadership campaign, a spokesperson for Starke said the complaint was not from his campaign, but that Rath was acting as an individual PC member.

“I saw the complaint the same time as everybody else,” said Darren Cunningham.

“It is not from our campaign. Jeff just happens to be a member who works on our campaign and does some fundraising stuff.”

Janice Harrington, a member of the PC Alberta leadership election committee, said the PC association received the complaint this afternoon.

“Like any complaint, there’s a process by which it’s going to be discussed and reviewed, which will happen at our regularly scheduled leadership executive committee meeting on Sunday,” she said.

The issue of uniting the right has dominated conservative politics since last summer, when Kenney announced he would run for the Tory leadership on a platform of uniting the PCs together with the Wildrose in a new party.

Kenney’s opponents in the race, Starke and Byron Nelson, oppose Kenney’s plan and want to rebuild the party under the PC brand. The Tories will pick their new leader in a delegated convention in March.

Party mergers are not allowed under Alberta law, according to the province’s chief electoral officer.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean recently announced he supported unity and would step down to seek the leadership of the new entity if it is approved by members. However, his conditions — including an accelerated timeline and the use of Wildrose as the legal framework for the party — are seen by some Tories and Wildrosers as potential stumbling blocks.

In her speech, Ambrose paid tribute to both Kenney and Jean — who each served as Conservative MPs — for their actions.

“This is the spirit of respect and compromise that brought our federal parties together, and now it is bringing Alberta conservatives together too,” said Ambrose, who last summer backed Kenney’s initiative


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tory leadership election committee rejects complaints against Jason Kenney

Ryan Rumbolt
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Don Braid, Calgary Herald
More from Don Braid, Calgary Herald

Published on: February 12, 2017 | Last Updated: February 12, 2017 10:54 PM MST

MLA Richard Starke speaks to his constituents about his vision for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

The Progressive Conservative executive are huddling today to discuss a complaint by another member calling for leadership front-runner Jason Kenney to be ousted from the race. Last night, half the caucus signed a letter calling for the board to dismiss the complaint. Taylor Hermiston / Vermilion Standard/Postmedia Network

The Progressive Conservative leadership campaign is back on track after complaints filed against front-runner Jason Kenney by a rival’s former fundraiser were rejected Sunday night.

Kenney rival Richard Starke asked his lead campaign fundraiser Jeffrey Rath to resign after Rath submitted two complaints against Kenney’s campaign this week. In the first complaint filed on Thursday, Rath states Kenney has been damaging the PC “brand” by exploring options to unite members of the provincial Tories and the Wildrose.

The party’s leadership election committee voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, which called for the disqualification of Kenney, says a news release.

“The committee determined that the platform of Jason Kenney does not cause harm to the PC brand and furthermore that any and all decisions regarding the future of the party must be made by the members in a free and transparent manner,” said the release.

“The party takes all complaints seriously and after reviewing the complaint submitted by Mr. Rath, we believed that there was no violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethics,” PC Alberta president Katherine O’Neill said in the release.

The committee further noted “its concern over the public nature of the complaint and will be reminding all campaigns to engage in a more respectful discourse.”

Starke said in a statement he “neither directed, requested, nor encouraged” Rath to file the complaint. Starke said he has asked Rath to withdraw the complaint and requested he remove himself from Starke’s campaign.

Rath’s second complaint, filed Sunday morning, said his office has received “abusive telephone calls and emails from Mr. Kenney’s supporters.” Rath said he will not back down from his position, despite alleged “personal attacks” on himself and his staff.

Rath said he was not motivated by Starke to file the complaints but said he felt obligated as a member of the party, calling Kenney’s drive to unite the right by creating a new party with the Wildrose “misleading and disingenuous.”

“I filed this complaint as a matter of conscience, and I want a historical marker put down as to whether or not the leadership election committee … and the board of directors of the PCAA are prepared to stand and be counted in regard to their obligation to protect the association or to protect the organization and its brand.”

Kenney responded on Twitter to Starke’s comments, thanking his opponent for asking for the complaint to be withdrawn.

On Sunday, four Conservative MLAs submitted a request to the leadership election committee to withdraw the complaint against Kenney.

In a statement, Kenny campaign spokesman Blais Boehmer said Rath’s complaints are an attempt “to undermine our PC leadership election.”

“Over 80 per cent of PC members have cast their votes for the PC leadership,” Boehmer said. “The vast majority have voted for unity by supporting our unite Alberta campaign. This legal manoeuvre is an effort to scrap those votes by blocking Jason’s candidacy precisely because of the unity message that members are voting for.”

Starke said any political party going through a tight leadership race runs a risk of damaging their “brand” in the eyes of the public.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( kenney was just cleared over another "complaint " but now a new meeting has been called to look into the issue again and he faces possible disqualification , )

Kenney faces disqualification (again) in PC leadership race as party VP calls emergency meeting

February 15, 2017 11:52 am

By James Wood

Jason Kenney could once again face disqualification from the Progressive Conservative leadership race as a party vice-president has called an emergency meeting of the PC board to hear a complaint against the former MP and his campaign.

On Sunday, the party’s leadership election committee (LEC) dismissed a complaint filed by Calgary lawyer Jeff Rath seeking to have Kenney punted from the leadership race for damaging the PC brand.

But Darcy Schumann, the party’s vice-president for Calgary, said in an email to board members that while the committee ruled that Kenney had not violated the code of conduct for candidates, it is up to the board to determine whether there has been damage to the PC brand and breaches of the constitution.

Progressive Conservative party president Katherine O'Neill speaks about a $5,000 fine levied against PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney during a news conference at PC Party headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta on Monday, November 21, 2016. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia Photo to go with Emma Graney's piece 1121 news kenney fine.

Progressive Conservative party president Katherine O’Neill speaks about a $5,000 fine levied against PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney during a news conference at PC Party headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta on Monday, November 21, 2016. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia Kucerak, Ian / Postmedia

While party president Katherine O’Neill, a member of the LEC, refused to have a meeting of the board to hear the complaint, Schumann used a provision of the party constitution to call a meeting to be held on Feb. 24.

“We will invite Mr Rath to appear in person to present his concerns, and we will invite Mr Kenney’s campaign to appear, immediately following Mr Rath, to respond to the allegations contained in the complaint,” Schumann said in his email. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

Janice Harrington, a member of both the party board and the leadership election committee, said the LEC opposed the board revisiting the complaint but Schumann is acting within his rights.

“The LEC feels very confident that the ruling that they made was within their jurisdiction but it’s the board right — they’re the bosses,” said Harrington.

“We’ll be there and we’ll explain our rationale … it’s a bit frustrating from our perspective.”

Kenney is running for the leadership on a platform of uniting the PCs with the Wildrose.

Rath alleged numerous infractions by Kenney of the party’s constitution and code of ethics.

“His plan is … to deregister and destroy the Progressive Conservative party of Alberta,” he said last week.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the motion has been defeated )

Last-ditch bid to turf Jason Kenney from Alberta PC leadership race fails

By The Canadian Press — The Canadian Press — Feb 16 2017

EDMONTON — A last-ditch attempt to get Jason Kenney kicked out of the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race has failed.

Party president Katherine O'Neill has ruled a bid by another board member to call an emergency meeting on the issue is out of order.

O'Neill says the next meeting of the board will proceed as scheduled on March 19, after the new leader is picked at a delegated convention in Calgary.

This was the second time a party member has tried to get Kenney expelled from the race based on his promise to try to join forces with the Wildrose party should he win.

The committee running the race has already ruled that Kenney's plan doesn't violate rules that prevent candidates from doing anything that harms the party or its brand.

O'Neill has stressed that the members need to decide the future of the party and will have their say on March 18.

The Canadian Press


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the old guard of the alberta pc's seem to already have accepted the possibility of a Kenny win and demise of the party , some already have plans to leave , but I think overall they will be left with a better alternative if there is just 1 party )

Some PCs ready to walk away if Kenney wins

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

Published on: February 16, 2017 | Last Updated: February 16, 2017 5:28 PM MST

PC Alberta leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk speaks during the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership forum in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday Aug. 21, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

As Jason Kenney appears increasingly likely to become captain of the Progressive Conservative party, some longtime Tories are prepared to jump ship.

Kenney, the former federal cabinet minister running on a platform of uniting the PCs with the Wildrose, has claimed to already hold a majority of the delegates to next month’s leadership convention in Calgary. While the other candidates in the race — MLA Richard Starke and Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson — are pushing back against the narrative that Kenney has it in the bag, there’s little question the former MP is in the lead.

Former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, a longtime critic of Kenney, said he has no doubt that Kenney will win at the March 18 convention.

“The first thing I will do . . . is cut up my PC membership and proceed to engage in a constructive, positive dialogue wherever the platform may be,” he said in an interview this week.

“Whether there will be one to join or there will be one to create, I am not sure yet. But I’m sure that there will be one for me to find a home.”

Kenney’s plan calls for negotiations with the Wildrose to reach a unification deal that would be approved by membership of each party. Since Elections Alberta says party mergers aren’t allowed under provincial law, Kenney is advocating the formation of a new single united conservative party.

The idea of winding down the PC party, which governed Alberta for 44 years before its 2015 defeat by Rachel Notley’s NDP, doesn’t sit well with many Tories. There is also a concern among many, including Lukaszuk, that Kenney’s plan for a new party will include a significant rightward shift, especially on social issues.

Former PC MLA, leadership candidate and senator Ron Ghitter said he gave up on the Tories months ago when he saw the writing on the wall that Kenney would win.

“My party’s being stolen away from me,” said Ghitter with a wry laugh.

Ghitter noted that while Kenney says he wants to rebuild the coalition that existed under former premier Peter Lougheed, he “bears no resemblance” to the Alberta political icon.

“(Lougheed) always said you win elections and you provide good government by being in the middle. There’s none of this right or left; you do what is right for people. So when someone like Mr. Kenney invokes the name of Peter Lougheed, I don’t accept that,” said Ghitter.

Another former MLA who served under Lougheed said he will wait and see whether Kenney wins and how he proceeds.

“There are three ways a person can deal with their vote; they can vote for the party they voted for before or they can switch to another political party or they can stay at home,” said former cabinet minister Jim Horsman.

“And I’m considering all three options.”

A number of PCs say they will give Kenney a chance as leader but acknowledge they are prepared to walk out the door if they don’t like what they see.

“I would kind of want to see where Jason Kenney takes us in terms of issues that are important to me,” said Susan Elliott, who managed the party’s successful 2012 provincial election campaign.

“He and his supporters have a tendency to say ‘well, we agree on 80 or 90 per cent of things.’ And that may or may not be true, but the 10 or 20 per cent of things on which we don’t agree are important. Some of it is just a tone or attitude,” said Elliott.

Kenney has said from the start of the campaign that he wants to build a big tent coalition that will welcome the progressive wing of the PCs but acknowledged that some will fall away.

In an interview earlier this week, Kenney said his success so far in the race is due to having support within all factions of the party, noting the large number of former MLAs backing him.

“But we need to keep reaching out and I intend to do that. That’s what I’m doing for much of the next month. There is a very deliberate effort to reach out to the folks who have not supported us to date to encourage them to stay involved. There’s a critically important role for them in this party,” he said.

Kenney has dismissed concerns he would take the party in an overtly social conservative direction, noting that as federal minister he had introduced the first program to resettle gay refugees and in nearly two decades as an MP he never proposed a motion or gave a speech about abortion.

Joey Oberhoffner, a former member of the PC board, acknowledged Kenney has struck a reassuring note in the campaign but yet at the same time retains strong support from groups such as anti-abortion activists.

He said he’ll give Kenney an opportunity if he wins, but admits it’s likely he will end up leaving the party he joined when Ralph Klein was leader.

“I don’t hold out a lot of hope that I’m going to hear a lot as a social progressive that gives me cause for optimism that I have a place at the table,” said Oberhoffner


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the mainstreet poll indicates growing discontent in alberta for both the provincial ndp and federal liberals , both of who trail badly , the ndp in 3rd and federal liberals only polling 24 % , where is wildrose and federal cpc surging )

Albertans favour uniting the right, and Wildrose is most popular party in the province: poll

James Wood, Postmedia News | February 21, 2017 12:46 AM ET
More from Postmedia News
The Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race is in the home stretch and Jason Kenney is the frontrunner.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshThe Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race is in the home stretch and Jason Kenney is the frontrunner..

CALGARY – Albertans are in favour of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties joining together, according to a new poll that also shows both of those parties more popular than the governing NDP.

The Mainstreet Research survey conducted for Postmedia shows 54 per cent support among respondents for merging the two parties, with 37 per cent opposed.

The support is highest among PC voters, at 72 per cent, while 65 per cent of Wildrose supporters were in favour of bringing the two parties together.

Mainstreet president Quito Maggi said that with former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney pushing the idea of uniting the right as a PC leadership candidate and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean declaring himself open to the idea, conservative unification is seen as increasingly desirable.

I think the PC supporters are more establishment, they’ve been in government a long time and they’re looking forward to getting back there
“The longer that goes on, the more the general population becomes comfortable with that notion,” he said in an interview.

Maggi said the slightly lesser amount of support for unity among Wildrose supporters compared to Tories may spring from Wildrose’s anti-establishment roots.

“I think the PC supporters are more establishment, they’ve been in government a long time and they’re looking forward to getting back there,” he said.

The poll shows Wildrose as the most popular party in the province, with 38 per cent support among leaning and decided voters, followed by the PCs at 29 per cent and the NDP trailing at 23 per cent.

The Liberals and Alberta Party each have five per cent support provincewide.

In more sour news for the NDP, Premier Rachel Notley’s performance was disapproved by 57 per cent of respondents, compared to 37 per cent approval.

Jean in contrast had an approval rating of 64 per cent, with only 22 per cent disapproving of his performance as Opposition leader.

The Wildrose leader recently came out in favour of forming a single conservative party if it was approved by members and said he would step down to contest the leadership of the new party if it goes ahead.

Jean could end up squaring off against Kenney, who has pushed conservative unity on to the provincial agenda in his run for the PC’s top job.

Tyler Marr /Postmedia

Tyler Marr /Postmedia Wildrose Leader Brian Jean..

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said there is little in the poll that is surprising.

He noted that while there are obstacles to unification — provincial law doesn’t allow official party mergers, so Kenney wants a new party while Jean wants unification to occur with Wildrose as the legal mechanism — but the prospect of a united party is looking likely.

“I thought this was going to be much more difficult before Kenney launched it but every indication that I’ve seen now is that it’s going to happen,” said Bratt.

The poll also shows strong support for the federal Conservatives in Alberta, with 67 per cent support among leading and decided voters, compared to 24 per cent for the Liberals, six per cent for the NDP and four per cent for the Greens.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a disapproval rate of 58 per cent while 38 per cent of Albertans approve of his job performance.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham Thomson: Jason Kenney looks set to win PC leadership race, but then what?

Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal
More from Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal

Published on: March 3, 2017 | Last Updated: March 3, 2017 6:21 PM MST

Jason Kenney, who is running for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives, addresses the audience during a town hall at the Solara Resort and Spa in Canmore, Alta. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.

Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney spelled out his plans following the vote for the new party leader to Journal columnist Graham Thomson over breakfast Friday morning. Postmedia

If you follow Alberta politics casually, you probably know that March 18 will be a pretty big deal. That’s when Progressive Conservatives will choose a new leader at their convention in Calgary.

However, if you follow Alberta politics closely, you’ll know that the big date is really March 19.

That’s because we already pretty much know what will happen on the 18th. Jason Kenney will win the leadership race. The big question is what happens the day after when he moves forward on his strategy to form a new conservative party by uniting the PCs with the Wildrose.

I could be wrong about Kenney winning, of course. There’s a first for everything (feel free to take a moment to guffaw your coffee all over this column).

But nobody really thinks Kenney can lose. Oh, the anti-Kenney forces have various long-shot scenarios where he won’t win. Those storylines involve numerous complacent Kenney supporters staying home to rob him of a majority, remorseful supporters jumping ship at the last-minute to PC-stalwart candidate Richard Starke or, more likely, an asteroid hitting the Calgary convention centre.

The numbers all seem to be in Kenney’s favour.

He’s happy to go over them with you, too, especially if you’re a skeptical columnist.

He and I met for breakfast Friday morning (I was dying for bacon and eggs, but he ordered oatmeal, which left me no choice but to do him one better by ordering granola).

Kenney is affable, articulate and smart. While a federal MP, he literally won awards for being the hardest-working politician in Ottawa.

As if to prove he’s also part calculator, he proceeded over breakfast to give me a detailed rundown of the memberships sold by the party over the past two years, the memberships sold by his campaign over the past eight months and a breakdown of the delegates selected for the convention.

He figures he has 80 per cent of the delegates chosen at constituency meetings since the race began last October — plus up to three-quarters of “super delegates” including former MLAs.

That doesn’t mean he expects to win 75 to 80 per cent of the total vote — but it does sound like he easily has enough for a first-ballot victory.

“Nothing is decided until the votes are cast,” he said. “We’re going to stay humble and work hard. Our supporters have to show up, but we’re feeling confident.”

So, what happens the day after the convention?

“If I have the honour of getting a mandate on the 18th, I would meet with the PC board on the 19th and discuss the way forward,” he said.

That’s going to be an interesting meeting, to say the least, considering some members of the PC board of directors had wanted to hold an emergency meeting recently to discuss booting Kenney from the race. They’re understandably upset because his goal is to pull the plug on the party to make way for a merger with the Wildrose.

(Kenney makes it clear during our discussion that he take umbrage at people — including me — saying he wants to destroy the PC party. He says he is “reconstituting” the two halves of Alberta’s big-tent PC party that split a decade ago into “progressive” PCs and the Wildrose.)

There’s speculation anti-Kenney board members would try to trip him up March 19. But there’s also speculation they would simply resign.

Anyway, Kenney already has plans for the 20th — “I would hope to meet with Brian Jean early that week to discuss the process and framework for negotiations between the two parties leading to a draft unity agreement which could then be submitted to the membership for ratification.”

That will be an interesting meeting, too. Jean has said he’s in favour of uniting the right but, unlike Kenney, he wants to do it under the Wildrose umbrella (with a new name).

Jean will be asking his members to support that plan at their annual general meeting expected in late June.

So, it seems that even if Kenney wins the leadership March 18 and bulldozes the PC board March 19, he might have to wait until the summer to know if his particular plan to form a new conservative party can move ahead.

That’s barring an asteroid strike in two weeks.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alberta Tories prepare for a historic and defining leadership vote

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

Published on: March 10, 2017 | Last Updated: March 10, 2017 8:57 PM MST

Richard Starke, Byron Nelson and Jason Kenney take part in the PC leadership final debate at the Royal Canadian Legion #1 on Tuesday evening February 7, 2017. GAVIN YOUNG/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

They were elected at the same time and served together around the cabinet table, but two former Tory finance minister illustrate the deep split among many long-time Progressive Conservatives as the party heads toward a defining leadership vote.

After a bruising and bitter contest dominated by Jason Kenney’s call to unite the PCs with the Wildrose, Tory delegates will select the party’s new leader at its convention next Saturday in Calgary.

Kenney is seen as the overwhelming favourite to beat out MLA Richard Starke and lawyer Byron Nelson to take the Tory helm, which will set off a tumultuous period in Alberta politics as he launches talks to bring together conservatives into a new party.

Doug Horner, first elected under Ralph Klein and a major player in the cabinets of Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford, wonders where he will fit in if that happens.

“If Jason wins, and the people that are currently around him are the key parts of that new win, then I would probably be considered too progressive and a Red Tory to be a party to that group. And there’s a lot of people who are hearing that kind of thing, ‘you’re a Red Tory, you’re really not a conservative. And that offends me,'” said Horner, who as Redford’s finance minister delivered the only balanced budget in Alberta in the last decade.

Horner’s roots run deep in the Progressive Conservative dynasty that governed Alberta for more than four decades before losing to the NDP in 2015. His father, Hugh “Doc” Horner, was part of the first group of Tory MLAs elected to the legislature under Peter Lougheed in 1967, serving as the Alberta icon’s right-hand man in cabinet after the PCs won government in 1971.

In an interview this week, Horner endorsed Starke as the best person to rebuild the party. He said he likes Kenney but believes he represents a rightward shift that’s out of touch with the inherently centrist inclinations of Albertans.

But Lloyd Snelgrove, who served as finance minister under Stelmach but left the PC caucus when Redford won the leadership, has little use for nostalgia and believes the policy and personality differences that divided the Tories and the Wildrose are in the past.

Snelgrove said he wasn’t necessarily a fan of Kenney when he served as a federal cabinet minister — the Harper and Stelmach governments were often at odds — but he’s bringing forth a sorely-needed vision that has his support.

“There’s one reason really and one reason only and that is because he is the only one who appears to understand how critically important it is to move forward and unite the conservative-minded people in these parties,” said Snelgrove, who, like Horner, was first elected in 2001.

“The slim chance the NDP would get a second term would leave Alberta in a hole so deep that I don’t know who would want to try and fix it,” added Snelgrove, one of more than 50 former MLAs backing Kenney.

Horner however sees major flaws in Kenney’s plan to unite the Tories and the Wildrose in a new party. If he wins the leadership, the former MP has pledged to begin negotiations with Wildrose and, if an agreement can be reached, put it to the membership of each party for approval.

Horner said the process could fall apart at any stage and, even if it is successful, could lead to an exodus of moderate PCs from the new party’s ranks.

Lethbridge College political scientist Faron Ellis said the divide between Horner and Snelgrove is common among the top rank of the PC party — former MLAs, Tory officials — but the desire for unity runs much higher among ordinary party members, many of whom have joined the PCs for the first time.

A spate of polls — including one conducted by Ellis — have shown high support levels for conservative unity among PC backers.

“There will be dissenters, no doubt, (Kenney) just needs to assure them that he plans to prove their doubts wrong (social conservative hidden-agenda stuff) and win back their support,” said Ellis in an email interview this week.

Ellis said the bigger challenge facing Kenney if he wins the leadership is actually putting his unification efforts into practice. Elections Alberta says party mergers aren’t allowed under provincial law and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean — while backing unity — has said it must be done under Wildrose’s legal framework.

For Kenney’s opponents, that uncertainty is one of the key reasons they think Kenney is not a sure thing at the convention, which will see members who were elected at delegate selection meetings (DSMs) in each of the province’s 87 ridings, along with automatic delegates such as former MLAs, choose the new leader.

“The unity thing is perhaps not as easy as some first thought and might actually be the best way for the NDP to get re-elected,” said Nelson.

“To me, this race is very much in question. And of course, Jason has no question won the majority for sure of delegates in the DSMs. That being said … the delegates elected are human, they’re not robots.”

Starke said delegates — who aren’t bound to any candidate — are also being given pause by events such as a recent controversy around the University of Calgary’s Wildrose on Campus Club, which has endorsed Kenney.

Both candidates say they plan to stick with the party no matter who wins the leadership, but some difficult days lay ahead.

“Clearly, whoever is successful on March 18 is going to have a lot of work to do to bring together the divisions that are going to be there after the leadership because the two visions for the pathway forward for our party are so clearly opposite of each other,” said Starke, the Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA who has been rolling out his own string of endorsements this week.

Kenney said 90 per cent of his delegates have registered for the convention and he’s feeling confident — though not cocky — about both the leadership ballot and its immediate aftermath.

“I fully expect there will be a small number of people who make a show of being unwilling to accept the democratic decision, so mark my words, I’m sure that’s going to happen … I think that’s regrettable but somewhat unavoidable,” he said, comparing the situation to the what happened with the formation of the federal Conservative Party.

“While we meet lose a few dozen … we will have gained tens of thousands of Albertans joining this cause.”

But Horner said Kenney is mistaken to view the Alberta unity movement as following the federal experience.

“I literally had nowhere else to go as a Progressive Conservative other than to the Conservative party. I think there’s going to be options that Mr. Kenney hasn’t counted on that will emerge almost immediately if he wins,” he said.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alberta PCs to elect new leader amid talking of merging with Wildrose Party

Jason Kenney
Jason Kenney is shown announcing his bid for leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party in Calgary on July 6, 2016. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 4:24AM EDT

Alberta's Progressive Conservatives gather in Calgary on Saturday to pick a new leader, capping a potentially watershed campaign defined by the existential question of whether the party should even exist.

Leadership candidate Richard Starke said the exchange of ideas was eclipsed in the race by debates over the plan put forward by rival candidate Jason Kenney to wind up the party and seek a new coalition with the fellow right-centre Wildrose to defeat the NDP in the next election.

"There has been very little talk about policy, and that's frustrating to me," said Starke in an interview.

"It's politicians that think about the next election and that's where their focus ends. People who are nation builders think not just about the next election, they think about the next generation."

Candidate Byron Nelson said he was surprised at the extent to which Kenney's plan dominated the campaign.

"The unity issue was the single largest ballot box question (when it came to picking voting delegates)," said Nelson.

Kenney, through his campaign team, declined an interview.

The 48-year-old ex-MP and Conservative cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper has been the centre of attention since he launched his campaign last summer, months before the race officially opened.

His team says he has enough delegates to win a majority and capture the leadership.

A victory for Kenney will accomplish the first step on a timeline he released last July to unify conservatives.

The next step would be to negotiate a framework agreement with the Wildrose to create a new party. Alberta election rules forbid two parties from merging. Instead they must fold up and surrender their assets.

After that, goes the plan, members in both parties would approve the new entity later this year and then candidates and constituencies would be put in place in 2018 to fight the next election, scheduled for the spring of 2019.

Nelson said it's a road map with no road but a lot of potential detours, adding that the party leader is but one voice on the executive.

"There's nothing in the constitution to fold up the party," said Nelson.

"No one anticipated the end of the party. You can amend the constitution to add that but at current you can't just have a vote and say 'OK, the party's done.'

"It's potentially a process that will take months and years."

There's also the Wildrose. Party leader Brian Jean has said he is open to a merger, but on Wildrose terms.

"The Wildrose is in favour of unification as long as it's done so under the Wildrose legal framework and we maintain our principles and legal structure," said Jean.

Starke and Nelson have said they would be open to some kind of working arrangement with the Wildrose, as yet unspecified.

But they have otherwise committed themselves to following the vote of party members a year ago to not join forces with the Wildrose but seek to rebuild the party that ran Alberta for more than four decades until the May 2015 election loss to Premier Rachel Notley's NDP.

The leadership race opened rifts over where the party stands on progressive issues.

Three candidates - Sandra Jansen, Donna Kennedy-Glans and Stephen Khan - dropped out of the race, suggesting to varying degrees that Kenney's team was moving the party away from embracing progressive issues, such as LGBTQ rights, to the more socially conservative platform of the Wildrose.

Starke said he worries about that shift.

"If we end up with a binary situation, where you have a left-wing ideological party (the NDP) and a right-wing ideological party and you have a whole mass of Albertans who are non-ideological centrists, they're gonna say 'Where the heck do we go?' And then it will be a race to the centre," he said.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC leadership convention: Candidates make closing arguments before voting begins

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

Published on: March 18, 2017 | Last Updated: March 18, 2017 1:32 PM MDT

Cole Cooper during the PC Alberta's 2017 Leadership Election at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alta., on March 17, 2017. Ryan McLeod/Postmedia Network

Cole Cooper during the PC Alberta's 2017 Leadership Election at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alta., on March 17, 2017. Ryan McLeod/Postmedia Network Ryan McLeod / Ryan McLeod/Postmedia Network

With provincial Progressive Conservatives poised to select a new leader Saturday after a campaign dominated by the issue of uniting-the-right, candidate Richard Starke drew cheers and boos as he laid out the case against unity.

As candidates made their closing arguments in speeches Saturday morning, Starke warned that a new united conservative party as called for by frontrunner Jason Kenney would be vulnerable to repeats of Wildrose controversies of the past and present.

If a new party is formed “then we hold our breath,” said Starke.

Dr. Richard Starke speaks during the PC Alberta’s 2017 Leadership Election at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alta., on March 17, 2017. Ryan McLeod / Postmedia Network

“This is where it gets interesting. We hold our breath hoping that none of our candidates believe that gay people spend eternity in a “lake of fire,’ hold our breath that one of our campus clubs doesn’t send out an email saying feminism is cancer,” he continued as he was drowned out by rumbling boos filling the hall at the Telus Convention Centre.

A candidates’ comment about a ‘lake of fire’ was a key factor in Wildrose’s loss in the 2012 election the party was favoured to win. More recently, the group Wildrose on Campus at the University of Calgary — which has endorsed Kenney for leader of a united party — sparked outrage over an email saying ‘feminism is cancer.’ The group has apologized.

Starke also noted that provincial law does not allow for the merger of political parties, meaning the formation of a new party could lead to three conservative parties on the scene. And while Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he supports unity, he wants it done under his party’s legal framework and principles, amounting to a “surrender” by the PC party that governed Alberta for more than four decades before losing to the NDP, said Starke to applause.

But Kenney — a former Conservative MP and cabinet minister — is seen as the overwhelming favourite to win as the approximately 1,400 to 1,700 delegates vote this afternoon. He has racked up significant support for his campaign from players such as the federal Conservative party, whose interim leader, Rona Ambrose, seconded Kenney’s nomination and introduced him Saturday.

In his speech, Kenney noted how former PC Premier Ralph Klein had been a key backer of uniting the right on the federal level, which ultimately led to the Conservative Party of Canada.

“Let’s listen to Ralph. Let’s not debate history this weekend, let’s make history in Alberta,” Kenney said to cheers.

Jason Kenney speaks during the PC Alberta’s 2017 Leadership Election at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alta., on March 17, 2017. Network Ryan McLeod / Postmedia Network

The third candidate in the race, Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson, like Starke believes in rebuilding the party under the PC brand.

Nelson lamented in his speech that the issue of conservative unity had become so dominant — “the elephant in the room” in the Tory contest.

Byron Nelson speaks during the PC Alberta’s 2017 Leadership Election at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alta., on March 17, 2017. Ryan McLeod/Postmedia Network Ryan McLeod / Postmedia Network

He said the PC party had to learn from the lessons of the past, from premiers like Klein and Peter Lougheed, in order to rebuild the party to take on the challenges of the future.

“For too long we have been responsive instead of being proactive,” said Nelson.

“We have collectively lost our mojo. We lost our sense of purpose.”

Results from the vote are expected to be announced at around 4:30 p.m.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( kenney has won the leadership of the alberta pc's )

Alberta Progressive Conservatives pick Jason Kenney as new leader

Alberta Conservative MP Jason Kenney
FILE -- Alberta Conservative MP Jason Kenney speaks to media as he begins the Unite Alberta Truck Tour, in Edmonton, on August 1, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:45AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:01PM EDT

CALGARY -- Jason Kenney is the new leader of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives.

The former Calgary MP and federal Conservative cabinet minister beat two rivals on the first ballot in delegate voting in Calgary.

Kenney now plans to meet with the Opposition Wildrose party to work out a process to combine the two parties if members on both sides approve.

Under Alberta rules, parties cannot merge, but must instead surrender their assets and form a new party.

Kenney's unite-the-right campaign has exposed deep divisions in the PC party, given that just last year members voted overwhelmingly not to merge but to rebuild.


inRead invented by Teads

Both of the defeated candidates, Richard Starke and Byron Nelson, ran on promises to keep the PCs going.

The PCs ruled Alberta for four decades prior to their defeat by the NDP in 2015.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm shocked! :)
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Alberta PC leadership race

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