Despite surviving the leadership review, Jason Kenney announced that he will resign as leader of the UCP and Premier of Alberta, having only secured 51.4 per cent of the vote.
As previously reported by The Counter Signal, Premier Jason Kenney promised to step down if he didn’t receive 50 per cent plus one. In all, nearly 60,000 ballots were sent out, and 34,298 ballots were cast. 17,638 (51.4 per cent) voted “yes,” to Kenney staying on as leader, while 16,660 voted “no” (48.6 per cent).
Nonetheless, the leadership review has highlighted a severe lack of confidence in Kenney’s leadership, which Kenney says is reason enough to step down.
Before the vote, Kenney looked confident, attending several interviews and even speaking with US Senators to advocate restoring the Keystone XL pipeline project. All in all, Kenney made it look like it was business as usual.
Whether he won or lost, the UCP was set to a major shake-up, as Kenney stated that he’d 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 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.”
Of note, MLA Brian Jean has openly criticized Kenney’s leadership.
“It is one of the most important caucus meetings in history for the UCP’s existence,” said Jean. “Because if we don’t renew it, it is going to be gone.”
Jean also stated that a 50 per cent plus one vote wasn’t sufficient and that Kenney should have to achieve 80 per cent or more to retain his position.
“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.”
It appears that Jason Kenney is “honourable” as defined by Jean, and has resigned as Premier and UCP leader.
A leadership race to replace Kenney as both leader of the UCP and Premier will now begin.