Can Jason Kenney win UCP leadership review?
Posted Mar 8, 2022 03:35:20 PM.
Last Updated Mar 8, 2022 04:45:06 PM.
As the United Conservative Party leadership review approaches, many are wondering whether Premier Jason Kenney can come out on top.
Kenney has made several announcements over the last few weeks ranging from school capital funding to expanding healthcare to providing Albertans a discount on fuel as oil prices skyrocket.
Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams says Kenny is trying to appeal to conservatives who may have lost faith in him.
“I don’t think there’s any question that pretty much everything the premier is doing at this point in time is with [a] view to try and win that leadership race and he knows that he could be in jeopardy,” she said.
“He’s hoping a lot of people that are pleased by the announcements that he’s making will show up on April 9th.”
When asked what threshold of support he’s looking for to remain leader, Kenney previously responded, “In a democracy, a majority is 50 per cent plus one.”
“He’s saying 50 per cent plus one is enough, but obviously he wants a lot more than that,” Williams said.
Williams points out both Allison Redford and Ed Stelmach won their respective leadership reviews by 77 per cent and were still pushed out of their parties.
“So, even if Jason Kenney wins the leadership review on April 9, the story may not yet be over. There may be continued pressures from within the party for him to step down,” she added.
“It’ll be a test of his leadership as to whether he can hang on, but hanging on as leader is one thing, winning an election is another, and it’s that view of the election that has [many] worried.”
CityNews previously reported there are some MLAs and other conservatives who have been heard garnering support at townhalls to kick Kenney from his leadership role.
In a partial recording CityNews obtained, MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, Dave Hanson, can be heard sharing concerns over “interference” in the leadership review.
She says several groups are concerned or angry with Kenney whether it’s over his handling of the pandemic, the Coutts blockade, and other broken promises.
“A lot of MLAs feel squeezed between their constituents and the premier’s office, and this could be a grassroots movement against Jason Kenney that evades his control,” she added.
“I think it’s quite interesting some of these groups are actually questioning whether the votes will be counted fairly, that even if they do vote that some manipulation will happen at that point. That just speaks to the level of distrust that’s associated with the activities of this government historically.”
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Vitor Marciano, an advisor to former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, tells CityNews that there have been around 200 meetings aimed at removing Kenney as UCP leader.
He says he’s personally spoken at six of them.
The review will be held in Red Deer on Apr. 9.