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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Alberta United Conservative Party to select leader Reply with quote

( not a lot has been said about the UCP united conservative party leadership race in alberta )

October 11, 2017 8:19 pm Updated: October 11, 2017 8:40 pm

Whoever wins Alberta UCP leadership contest likely on ‘path to premier’s office’: poll

By Phil Heidenreich
Online journalist Global News

Regardless of who wins the race to become leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) later this month, the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) says that man “will find himself on a relatively promising path to the premier’s office,” based on the latest results of a quarterly poll.

The ARI survey gathered opinions on the frontrunners in the UCP leadership race – Brian Jean and Jason Kenney – as well as thoughts on the party as a whole and on the governing New Democrats (NDP).

The poll, released Wednesday, found that 70 per cent of respondents “agree” they see Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s “government is out of touch with what Albertans really want” and that both Kenney and Jean are viewed more favourably than Notley.

The results of a quarterly poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute suggest Albertans think their NDP government “is out of touch with what Albertans really want.”

Forty-nine per cent of respondents approved of Jean and 38 per cent approved of Kenney, compared to 29 per cent approving of Notley.

“They match what you would think in your gut,” Duane Bratt, a political analyst at Mount Royal University, said of Wednesday’s polling numbers. “There is clear unhappiness and unease with the Notley government in how they have governed, particularly on financial issues and the issues around the debt and bringing in the carbon tax and the lack -so far – of pipelines being built.

“This leads naturally to support for the primary opponent, which would be the UCP.”

READ MORE: UCP leadership candidates promise health-care reform in Alberta

Watch below: On Aug. 1, 2017, Lisa MacGregor filed this report after a new poll suggested Alberta’s United Conservative Party would form a majority government if an election were held that day.

Play Video

The trajectory of Notley’s approval rating, based on quarterly polls conducted by the ARI, has generally been downward since June 2015

The results of a quarterly poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute indicate Premier Rachel Notley’s support from Albertans has been steadily decreasing since June 2015.

CREDIT: Angus Reid Institute

“While hardly the worst approval rating among sitting premiers, Notley’s approval numbers – and their trajectory since she took office – are likely not encouraging to New Democratic Party strategists in the province,” the ARI said in a news release.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks about a new hospital that will be built in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.



READ MORE: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley popular nationally, not so much at home: poll

When asked if they would prefer to see Jean or Kenney leading the UCP into the next provincial election, 33 per cent of respondents said Jean, 22 per cent said Kenney, 22 per cent said neither and 23 per cent said they didn’t have a preference.

The ARI poll also found support for Jean and Kenney increases the older voters are. Of respondents in the 18-34 age range, Jean enjoyed 39 per cent support and Kenney had 33 per cent support, in the 35-54 demographic, Jean saw 48 per cent support while Kenney saw 38 per cent support and among respondents 55 and older, support for Jean rose to 60 per cent while Kenney enjoyed 45 per cent support.

Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney shake hands after announcing a unity deal between the two in Edmonton on May 18, 2017.

Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney shake hands after announcing a unity deal between the two in Edmonton on May 18, 2017.

Jason Franson/Canadian Press

But while the ARI poll painted a rosy picture of how respondents perceive the UCP two years ahead of its first election campaign, the survey did highlight ongoing concerns about where the party stands on the political spectrum.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents expressed concern that the UCP will be too right-wing.

The Angus Reid Institute released the results of a quarterly poll on Oct. 11, 2017.

CREDIT: Angus Reid Institute

“There’s also some unease that people have about the UCP about whether they may be too far right,” Bratt said. “This is a snapshot in time… if an election was held today, the UCP wins but the people still have their doubts about them.

READ MORE: Jason Kenney and Brian Jean response to anti-gay comments ‘cowardly’: Rachel Notley

“It’s interesting that when Brian Jean ran the Wildrose Party, he was dismissed as too far right,” Bratt added. “But in comparison to Jason Kenney, he looks pretty moderate. In fact, he has tried to play that in his leadership race and so I think there’s a lot more concern and unease around Jason Kenney than there is about Brian Jean.”

Sixty-three per cent of respondents said “the PC-Wildrose merger will be a good thing for Alberta, overall.” However, 57 per cent of respondents also agreed with the statement “Conservatives in Alberta think they’re entitled to govern.”

-With files from 630 CHED’s Scott Johnston.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jean raises concerns over UCP leadership voting process

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

Published on: October 11, 2017 | Last Updated: October 11, 2017 7:18 PM MDT

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney announce Thursday they have reached a deal to merge the parties. David Bloom / Postmedia Network

Leadership candidate Brian Jean sounded the alarm over the electronic voting system in the United Conservative Party’s leadership contest, saying Wednesday thousands of party members may not be able to vote because they aren’t registered with the party.

But with the deadline for party members to register less than two days away, UCP officials say the process is running smoothly aside from a few hiccups.

To select the new party’s first leader, UCP members will vote online or by phone in the three-day period ending Oct. 28. UCPers had to have their party membership by Sept. 29 and then register, providing proof of identity, by 5 p.m. this Friday, either by mail or online.

But in a news release and Facebook video released Wednesday, Jean said that under the “complicated” and “cumbersome” system, many members don’t even realize they have to register as the second step in the process.

Many of those who do try to register are encountering technical problems, especially in rural Alberta where Internet service is slower, said the Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA and former Wildrose leader.

“Unfortunately, our party committee has chosen a leadership election system where, if things don’t change, over 40,000 party members may not be able to vote,” said Jean.

“I’m not happy at all with the system. It’s not built to be easy for members.”

The UCP is not officially releasing membership numbers, though Ed Ammar, chair of the party’s joint interim board, said last week the party’s ranks number about 115,000 members.

The party’s executive director, Janice Harrington, rejected the contention there are problems with the system beyond a few stumbling blocks.

In an interview, she said there were already 50,000 members registered by Wednesday afternoon, with party staff registering members at a rate of seven per minute.

“Considering that past leadership experience have shown that 65 per cent of members at most participate, I’m very confident that as many members who want to register will get registered,” said Harrington.

“It’s working extraordinarily well, actually.”

Harrington said less than eight per cent of memberships had been rejected, mainly because the members hadn’t provided required information. Party staff work with those members to ensure they can register, she said.

The UCP has also worked hard to ensure members know they must register, to the point that the party has annoyed some members because of too much contact, said Harrington, adding that campaigns also play a role in spreading the information.

The other leadership campaigns acknowledged some issues with the registration process, though they declined to criticize the party.

Evan Legate, campaign manager for Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer, said in an interview there is “very low awareness” of the registration deadline and the campaign has been hearing “frustrations” about the system.

“There’s definitely been some technical issues, but we understand the need for the vote to be secure and follow the guidelines,” he said.

Blaise Boehmer, spokesman for former Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney, said the campaign has set up 30 kiosks across the province to help members register.

He said in an email statement that Jean had pushed for an early leadership vote in the unity discussions between the Wildrose and PC parties that led to the formation of the UCP, which helped lead to the current system.

“While the voting system established by the party is not what we preferred, we’re doing our best to enfranchise every UCP member in this very important vote. Criticizing the system seems counterproductive at this point,” said Boehmer.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

United Conservative Party leadership candidate Jeff Callaway drops out of race, endorses Jason Kenney

Clare Clancy Clare Clancy
More from Clare Clancy

Published on: October 4, 2017 | Last Updated: October 4, 2017 5:00 PM MDT

It’s a three-man race in the bid for United Conservative Party leadership after candidate Jeff Callaway quit the race to back Jason Kenney.

“There are three weeks left in this race; I’m just going to work hard to try to put Jason Kenney over the top,” Callaway said Wednesday.

Kenney, former leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, will square off against former Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer. The UCP will announce a leader Oct. 28 after votes are cast in a one-member, one-vote preferential ballot system.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, Callaway said he had made no deal with Kenney either before launching his campaign or in making his decision to withdraw.

Callaway had touted a series of “big ideas,” including having the Alberta government purchase the Port of Churchill in Manitoba as an outlet for a new oilsands pipeline. But he drew the most notice for his attacks on Jean over his leadership style and issues such as a potential deficit in the UCP caucus.

Jean’s campaign called Callaway’s decision an “ineffective Kenney campaign stunt” in a statement Wednesday.

“Brian thanks Jeff for his past service to the Wildrose, but our campaign is not at all surprised with how this has played out,” the statement said. (Callaway was a former Wildrose party president.)

The hefty $95,000 price tag to run for UCP leadership includes a $75,000 fee and a $20,000 refundable good-conduct bond. Callaway’s campaign paid a deposit amounting to half the fee and the full refundable bond — totalling $57,500.

The deadline for the second instalment is Thursday. Callaway said finances didn’t play a role in his decision to withdraw from the race.

Schweitzer said in a statement he was disappointed Callaway dropped out: “As we start out building this new party, I think it’s critical that we have a diverse set of voices and ideas coming to the table.”

Callaway said the Red Deer leadership debate Tuesday spurred him to drop out.

All four candidates in the debate said they would get rid of farm safety legislation, which puts farms under occupational health and safety rules and gives paid farm labourers the right to workers’ compensation.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorne Gunter: Brian Jean stumbles in UCP leadership race

lorne gunter
By Lorne Gunter , Edmonton Sun
First posted: Thursday, September 21, 2017 05:22 PM MDT

Shortly after the UCP leadership debate at Calgary’s Mount Royal University wrapped up on Wednesday, Brian Jean’s campaign team sent out a news release proclaiming him the winner.

That’s not unusual.

But the Jean team’s release contained an unusually lame boast: Jean, “has received the support of 11 of his former Wildrose caucus colleagues.”

So? There were 21 Wildrose MLAs before that party merged with the Tories to form the UCP. You might think that getting the endorsements of only a little more than half of them wasn’t such a remarkable achievement.

If you’re job is promoting Jean, you might not want to draw attention to the fact that those who know his work best have been somewhat unenthusiastic about getting onboard.

Jean’s chief rival, former Tory leader Jason Kenney, has endorsements from six former Wildrosers. And Jean has no endorsements from former Tory MLAs.

Also, one of the other candidates in the leadership contest, Jeff Callaway, was the president of Wildrose under Jean.

Callaway’s decision to seek the leadership in his own right may just be a mark of his personal ambition. But it could also be seen as a slag against Jean.

Finally, remember that before he was shamed out of the UCP caucus for questionable expense claims and a hit-and-run charge, former Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt was a vehement critic of Jean’s leadership style.

And former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr (who has yet to announce an endorsement), publicly criticized Jean’s use of the Wildrose budget when it was revealed the caucus was overdrawn by more than $300,000.

Kenney’s endorsement by his former party’s MLAs hasn’t been unanimous either.

Richard Starke, who Kenney defeated for the Tory leadership in March, refused to join the UCP. Calgary Tory MLA Rick Fraser left the UCP on Thursday to sit as an independent. And Grande Prairie MLA Wayne Drysdale has endorsed Doug Schweitzer, a Calgary lawyer and former Tory fundraiser, who is also seeking the UCP’s top job.

Still, when you add it all together, I’m not sure Jean should be bragging that (not including himself) he has a 55 per cent approval rating.

Half way through the UCP race, it’s hard to tell who’s winning, though.

Jean has been ahead in every poll so far. And it’s better to be ahead than behind, if only for the sake of morale and momentum.

However, no pollster has a UCP membership list. So, the polls are not being taken among the people who will actually do the voting on October 26 to 28.

Rather, pollsters are simply surveying the general public – including, for instance, NDP supporters and provincial Liberals.

If you consider that Kenney’s team has sold tens of thousands of memberships for the Tory leadership vote this spring, for the unification vote this summer and for the current UCP leadership; then you add in the fact that the UCP has more than twice as many members in areas where Kenney is stronger than Jean, the edge at this point probably goes to Kenney.

Schweitzer could also pose a problem for Jean.

I suspect there will be a Stop Kenney movement. People who want to prevent the former federal cabinet minister from winning will look to line up behind one of the other three.

Schweitzer did himself the most good at Wednesday’s debate by appearing informed, articulate and credible (an upgrade from completely unknown). Jean seemed to do the worse by being flat, reading too often from prepared notes and referring to himself in the third person: “Brian Jean is this … Brian Jean will do that …”

Calgary voters who want an alternative to Kenney could easily choose Schweitzer over Jean, which would split the vote in Kenney’s favour.

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Alberta United Conservative Party to select leader

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