Kenney Claims Party Unity on Rise after UCP Convention
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has left his party's annual general meeting in a good mood. The premier claims confidence in his leadership is solid, despite low approval ratings and public disagreement among conservative political rivals and party MLAs.
He told reporters Sunday that he heard nothing but support in Calgary.
"I feel more confident about my leadership today than, frankly, I have in a very long time," Kenney said during a news conference.
This is a somewhat unexpected comment, especially considering the fact that several MLAs have recently criticized the premier. Brian Jean, the former Wildrose Party Leader who is seeking the UCP nomination to run for the vacant Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA seat, has called for Kenney to step down as party leader.
"FOR THE GOOD OF THE UCP, FOR THE GOOD OF ALBERTA, IT IS TIME FOR JASON KENNEY TO RESIGN," Jean's most begins. "I have been thinking about this for the last several days, as I watched Premier Kenney take another relatively minor issue and turn it into a political crisis. I was disappointed that the Premier and his chosen inner circle made a mess of following the COVID rules that he placed on all Albertans. But I was much more disappointed that when he was clearly in the wrong he just wouldn't apologize. And that got me thinking about how often I have been disappointed in how this government does things."
Jean went on. "The Kenney government has a real "how" problem. Even when they do things that Albertans overwhelmingly support, they somehow manage to do them in a way that offends and angers the most people possible. This government likes to fight too much. Too often they are fighting Albertans for no reason other than the government's poor attitude. The Premier seems to think that everyone who isn't 100% loyal to Jason Kenney, is an enemy of this government. This brutal attitude has migrated its way into the political staff who still support Kenney and many of his ministers. It leaves you with the impression that many people at the top levels of this government don't actually like Albertans."
Former cabinet minister Leela Aheer also lambasted Kenney over the Shandro debacle earlier this fall: “This is a failure of leadership from the premier. The only thing that should have happened today is that the premier says he had failed and is stepping down.
“We need to heal our province right now and that requires people who have failed in their leadership to step down and admit their mistakes."
Twenty-two constituency associations also just passed motions asking for a review of Kenney's leadership before March.
A resolution, drafted by the Edmonton North West constituency association, was presented at the convention Friday. It proposed upping the number of constituency associations needed to call a leadership review from 22 to 29, making it harder to initiate such a review.
The resolution failed, however, only receiving 57 per cent support. It needed 75 per cent to pass.
A leadership review was slated for some time in April.