NDP hope for an early election by way of no-confidence vote

Alberta's NDP are hoping for an early election by way of no-confidence vote. The party is calling on MLAs to work together and get rid of Premier Jason Kenney but will their plan work?. Saif Kaisar reports.

Alberta’s New Democrats are urging MLAs to issue a non-confidence vote when it comes to what they’re calling ‘Jason Kenney’s horrible, no-help provincial budget.’

If the NDP plan is successful, then an early election will be triggered.

“18 members of the government caucus is all it takes to defeat this budget and show that the legislature really has lost confidence in Jason Kenney and his incompetent leadership,” said Rakhi Pancholi, NDP children’s services critic, on Wednesday.

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“We can’t support this budget because it doesn’t support Albertans.”

She says there’s no need to wait until the April 9th leadership review to get rid of Premier Jason Kenney.

“Why wait for the UCP special general meeting? If this is really about supporting Albertans, serving their interests, and changing the leadership at the top in the form of the premier, you have the opportunity to take a stand tomorrow and vote with us against this budget.”

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But how likely will the New Democrats’ plan work?

“This is a really tricky, tricky situation, because many of those within the UCP who currently oppose Jason Kenney, support the party or like the idea at least of a United Conservative Party, and are hopeful that a new leader will move in a direction of better governance, and taking more seriously concerns being raised by constituents,” Mount Royal University Political Scientist Lori Williams told CityNews.

When former Wildrose leader, and currently a UCP MLA-elect, Brian Jean visited the legislature last week, he was given a standing ovation from over a dozen UCP members.

“Many Albertans are telling me they don’t want an NDP government either, so we’ve got 13 months or so to figure this thing out. It’s incumbent on the UCP MLAs and UCP members to figure this out,” said MLA Drew Barnes who sits as an independent after being kicked from the UCP.

“Clearly, UCP members do not want Jason Kenney to be our premier or our leader.”

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While some MLAs were vocal about wanting to replace Kenney, others stood by him when asked on Wednesday.

“I absolutely support Jason Kenney, he’s the only guy who should be running the province,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver. “Cause he’s doing a great job has for the entire time he’s been here, and I support him completely.”

“I’m with the premier,” said Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. “I’m in his cabinet, I have confidence in his leadership.”

The budget vote will also take place on Thursday.

“I think we’re going to pass the budget,” Finance Minister Travis Toews said.

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Williams notes some MLAs may choose to abstain from the vote or not show up to avoid giving the appearance they support Kenney.

“This gets so much more complicated because of the lack of trust in the leadership process,” she added.

“There are a lot of people who don’t trust the process, who don’t know if this will be the effective way of replacing Jason Kenney, and for those who don’t trust that process, I think it’s going to be very tempting to vote against the budget.”

The leadership review was set to be an in-person event in Red Deer on April 9, but it will now be an online event with a mail-in ballot due to an increase in UCP memberships.

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