Central Peace—Notley MLA Todd Loewen has been turfed from the United Conservative Party. Loewen, along with Cypress—Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, is without a party after a vote by UCP caucus members on Thursday.
“There is simply no room in our caucus for those who continually seek to divide our party and undermine government leadership, especially at this critical juncture for our province,” said UCP Caucus Whip Mike Ellis in a statement.
Earlier Thursday morning, Loewen announced he was stepping down as UCP Caucus Chair via a Facebook post, which also suggested Premier Jason Kenney do the same. In the 1 a.m. letter, addressed to Premier Kenney, Loewen listed his reasons for resigning, namely wanting the ability to speak freely on the issues he sees in the provincial government.
Before the decision, Loewen spoke to MyGrandePrairieNow.com, saying he wouldn’t leave the party under his own free will, however, that decision was made for him. Loewen said the government still has an opportunity to do great things, but they simply aren’t getting them done. He says there was added frustration when it came to how he felt MLAs were being listened to, or more specifically, not listened to.
“We’ve had two caucus meetings that have been cancelled, and caucus members haven’t even been told they were canceled. That’s our opportunity as MLAs to learn government direction and have some opportunity to input, so cancelling caucus meetings has been pretty frustrating.”
When it comes to suggesting Premier Jason Kenney should step down, Loewen believes the people of Alberta are losing trust in his leadership. He adds he felt that he had to take a stand to represent his constituents to the best of his ability, and that’s what he’s done.
“The unrest that Albertans have right now, and the lack of trust is an issue, we need to deal with that in order to move forward positively. It’s all about doing the right thing, I feel like I’m doing the right things now, and that my constituents are overwhelmingly behind me on this.”
There are now 60 UCP MLAs in the Alberta Legislature, with 24 NDP MLAs, and three independents.