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UCP Leadership Review: Kenney wins simple majority, then resigns


Jason Kenney resigned as leader of his party and premier of Alberta on Wednesday night after receiving a slim majority of support in his review of the leadership of the United Conservative Party.

“While 51% of the vote exceeds the constitutional majority threshold, that is clearly not enough support to continue to lead,” Kenney told a crowd gathered at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.

“I’m sorry, but my friends, I sincerely believe that we must move forward united. We must put the past behind us, and many of our members have asked for an opportunity to clear things up through an election at The direction. “

The party announced the results at 6:30 p.m. in a virtual address broadcast on the UCP website and Kenney delivered his speech immediately afterwards.

Before leaving the stage, Kenney praised his party for its balanced budget and said he had delivered 90% of his promises as prime minister.

There were gasps in theaters when Kenney resigned and Finance Minister Travis Toews told CTV News Calgary he was “surprised”.

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver confirmed that the PCU would hold a caucus meeting on Thursday and that further information on the future of the party could be announced afterwards.

“We knew it could be tight and it could be controversial,” said Conrad Van Hierden, president of a riding association. “I respect Jason’s decision. We need to come together as a party and we need to find a leader who can do that because we are currently divided.”

“Honestly, I was shocked,” member Tarick Khan said, though he applauded Kenney’s resignation. “Fighting Notley was the best decision.”

Exactly 34,298 members cast their ballots, party officials said, in a postal voting process that began April 9 as part of a virtual extraordinary general meeting.

Ballots were sent to nearly 60,000 eligible party members with the simple question: “Do you approve of the current leader?” Yes or no?”

‘I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST’: TRUDEAU

Rival and UCP MLA Brian Jean thanked Kenney for his public service and “honorable concession”.

“In the coming days, I expect the party to announce a leadership race, and I intend to put my name forward,” its statement read.

“My campaign will demonstrate how we can do things differently, together, to reclaim the enthusiastic support of the more than one million Albertans who elected us in 2019. I will talk more about these issues in the coming days.”

NDP Leader Rachel Notley also thanked Kenney and said she would have more to say on Thursday.

“Obviously there’s a lot we disagree on, but that doesn’t negate the time and sacrifice it takes to take on the role of Prime Minister,” she tweeted.

“The work is never easy. The days are long and often difficult, as today I am sure. I wish Jason the best.”

Some, including Jean and other UCP MPs, complained about the process and raised doubts about whether the vote would be fair or not.

UCP officials said more than 14,000 people watched a live broadcast of the vote check, amid concerns over legitimacy.

Kenney’s 2017 managerial win over Jean is still under investigation by the RCMP.

Last week, correspondence obtained by The Canadian Press indicates that Elections Alberta is investigating allegations of illegal bulk buying of party memberships during Wednesday’s vote.

Kenney set his target at 50% plus one to stay ahead.

According to the party statutes, he could have kept the post by a simple majority.


With files from Chelan Skulski of CTV News Edmonton and The Canadian Press



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