Alberta conservatives pick new leader

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The Highwood MLA is looking forward to getting down to work now that United Conservative Party members selected their leader over the weekend.

Jason Kenney, former Progressive Conservative Party leader and former Conservative MP, was named the party’s leader on Oct. 28 after three days of voting.

Kenney won with 61.1 per cent of the vote, while former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean came in second with 31.5 per cent and Doug Schweitzer came in third with 7.3 per cent.

The party’s MLAs held their first caucus meeting with Kenney as leader on Monday morning.

Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson said everyone is ready to move forward with a unified front now that the leadership vote is over.

“It seems like we’ve been in perpetual campaign mode with the Unite the Right, and then a combination of municipal elections and finally a leadership convention, and I’m glad it’s over,” he said.

While Anderson supported Jean during the leadership campaign, he said he has a good working relationship with Kenney.

“Jason is a formidable politician, he’s well-versed in the processes, he understands teamwork,” he said. “He’s very open, there’s no negativity whatsoever as far as anybody who backed either Jason, or Brian or Doug.”

With the vote behind it, the fledgling party will now move to host its founding annual general meeting and convention as well as the development of its policies.

Anderson believes the party will take a common sense approach as it develops its policies, something most Albertans support.

Key priorities are reducing government spending and balancing the budget, parental involvement in the educational process and eliminating the provincial carbon tax.

“As conservatives – the legacy PCs and the legacy Wildrose – we’re fairly close on our policies, so we’re looking forward to the AGM and convention to start developing our policies,” he said.

Kenney will soon have a chance to secure a seat in the provincial legislature.

Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney announced his retirement after the leadership vote, leaving an opening for the new UCP leader. Kenney announced his intention to run in a byelection in the riding.

“In the days and weeks ahead I look forward to meeting the families of Calgary-Lougheed and sharing with them the United Conservative Party’s goal of a government that is not afraid to stand up for the best interests of Alberta whether that be here in Alberta, with the Trudeau Government in Ottawa, or anywhere else our Province is under attack,” said Kenn

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