November 15, 2021

-Global News


About two dozen United Conservative Party constituency associations are demanding a leadership review of Jason Kenney within three months.

In an announcement on Monday, several United Conservative Party constituency association presidents said a procedural threshold was recently met. They said more than 22 constituency associations passed a special motion demanding a leadership review be held before March 1, 2022.

“Therefore, having attained at least 22 constituency associations (being over one quarter) necessary as set out in section 5.7 of the party bylaws, we have met the threshold to trigger a Special General Meeting for the purpose of conducting a leadership review,” the letter from the constituency associations to party president Ryan Becker reads.

“We expect that this process will be held in accordance with the aforementioned conditions endorsed by our boards.

“We look forward to your response acknowledging receipt of this notice prior to the commencement of the AGM on Friday, Nov. 19.”

“More motions continue to come in,” said Jack Redekop, Calgary-Fish Creek constituency association president.

He said, as of Monday, more than 22 constituency associations have voted for the motion and three boards have voted against.

“Several are going to have meetings this week and they’re going to vote on it,” Redekop added.

Redekop said they are asking the leadership review be held at a special general meeting rather than an annual general meeting so that “every member of the party can vote” rather than just those attending the AGM.

He also said the constituency associations want the entire review process audited by an independent auditing group to assure the public that votes are counted “with absolute integrity and accuracy.”

Kenney has come under fire from members of his party, including some UCP MLAs, over decisions he has made to deal with the COVID-19 public health crisis, particularly the fourth wave.

Some have criticized him for doing too little, too late to address this summer’s onslaught of coronavirus hospitalizations in the province, while others say he has infringed on people’s individual rights with his public health measures, like the recently announced vaccine passport program.

Redekop said this push is about timing.

“Leadership reviews are actually mandated by our Constitution.

“We knew we were going to have a leadership review… We asked: what is the best timing for a leadership review for the members… the party?”

He responded that yes, having the leadership review earlier would allow the party to “get behind” a new leader or Kenney — depending on the results — before the next provincial election.

“Yes, we had some concerns with what was happening in the party and what was being legislated through COVID-19, through all of the other issues. Those were expressed personally to the leader.

“Do we have some members displeased with the leader? Of course we do. Do we have some members in support of the leader? Yes we do.”

Kenney’s next leadership review was not expected to take place until late 2022. But a leadership review has been scheduled for April, a compromise struck during a raucous caucus meeting in September.

“There are definitely boards who do not support the premier, and there are definitely boards who do support the premier,” said Samantha Steinke, constituency association president for Central Peace Notley.

“My CA board… overwhelmingly does not support the premier. But that is not the reason all boards voted on the motion.”

Steinke added that association presidents made the announcement Monday because “we have the numbers to force this special general meeting.”

Derrick Casey, constituency association president for Grande Prairie, MLA Tracy Allard’s constituency, said his board narrowly passed the motion.

“My board was split,” he said.

Casey said the reasons they voted on the motion were varied.