Grande Prairie was the first stop on Jason Kenney’s campaign trail Wednesday night as he seeks the leadership of the Alberta PC Party. His primary goal is to unite the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose. Speaking in GP, he doesn’t see a challenge in convincing Albertans it’s the right move.
“This province is struggling; it’s suffering and the NDP’s making it worse, and they don’t want to take a risk of a repeat of the NDP government. You know what? They want an approach that leads to unity; they want clear, strong leadership and a clear plan that gets us to a united, free-enterprise party. That’s my message.”
Kenney argues the current NDP government is spending too much time on political ideaology, and believes getting support for a united party will be easy. His hope is to create a provincial version of the Conservative Party of Canada.
“Which was created 13 years ago from a merger of the Reform Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party, and people can look at our record to see what that was: we won three elections and we were the longest-serving Conservative government in the 20th century.”
Even before he made his announcement, Kenney was criticized by fellow Calgary MP Sandra Jansen. She argued he has shown support for the Wildrose during the last three provincial elections.
“Those concerns are hugely exaggerated. I actually do not see any significant policy differences at all between the Wildrose and PC parties, which really makes me question why there’s division these days at all. We already have three, broadly speaking, left-of-centre parties in this province… two of which are liberal parties; we don’t need a fourth one.”
Kenney spoke to a crowd of about 200 people at the former Pomeroy Arabians location. It included former Peace River MP Charlie Penson, former Smoky River/Grande Prairie -Smoky MLA Walter Paszkowski and current GP – Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale.
When asked what would happen to the carbon levy if elected, Jason Kenney had a one word answer: “Gone.” The PC party will elect a new leader to replace interim Ric McIver at a convention on March 18th, 2017. If chosen, Kenney says he’s get a conversation going with Wildrose leader Brian Jean.