The Alberta government could see a major shakeup following the results of the leadership review, which will be known in just two days on May 18.
As previously reported by The Counter Signal, Premier Jason Kenney has promised to step down if he doesn’t receive 50 per cent plus one. In all, nearly 60,000 ballots were sent out, and over 15,000 were returned.
While recent interviews have seen Kenney acting assuredly — a clear indicator he’s confident of his position — many dissenters within the party fear a shake-up regardless of the result and have called for a caucus renewal.
In particular, MLA Brian Jean and UCP candidate Danielle Smith (formerly of the Wildrose Party) have both openly criticized Kenney’s leadership.
“It is one of the most important caucus meetings in history for the UCP’s existence,” said Jean, who only recently won his position after being nominated in December. “Because if we don’t renew it, it is going to be gone.”
Jean also stated in a Facebook video that the standard for confirming confidence in the Alberta leadership review should be significantly higher, 80 per cent or more.
“If he cannot get a survivable number, he will leave. If he cannot get a number that shows that he has the moral authority to run our party and all our political lives, he will leave,” Jean said.
“It’s the honourable and decent thing to do.”
Smith also voiced concerns that Kenney retaining leadership over the UCP could create fracturing within the party, especially considering that Kenney has stated he’s been “too tolerant” of internal opposition and expects more unity in the future.
“Sometimes [Harper] was criticized for being too strong in maintaining that discipline, but in retrospect, I think it was necessary to maintain the unity and coherence of our government, party and movement,” said Kenney during a Facebook town-hall meeting.
“If I’ve made a mistake in the past three years, perhaps it’s [that] I’ve been far too tolerant of public expressions of opposition,” he continued.
“There are totally legitimate times when MLAs should be able to speak out for their constituents or share somewhat different views on policy. But if that becomes nothing but a constant effort at an internal civil war, I don’t think that’s acceptable.”