By Western Standard
May 13, 2021
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership was dealt another serious blow as the first MLA in his own caucus called for him to step down.
Todd Loewen, UCP MLA for Central Peace-Notley in northwest Alberta, published a scathing letter around midnight in the first minutes of May 13, saying Kenney refuses to listen to the public and to caucus members, that his leadership has failed, and UCP supports have abandoned Kenney specifically.
Loewen used the letter to inform Kenney he was immediately stepping down as chairman of the UCP caucus.
First elected in 2015 under the Wildrose banner for Grand Prairie-Smokey, Loewen is a popular figure in the caucus and normally maintains a low profile.
The letter takes direct aim at Kenney’s caucus management, premiership, and leadership over the party.
“I no longer believe caucus can function properly; meetings have been cancelled without members’ consent, significant decisions of government have been made without notice to members, and our input as elected members is rarely considered,” wrote Loewen. “Additionally, I feel it is best to resign this position [caucus chairman] to be able to speak freely.
“The government’s response to a hostile federal government has been perceived as weak and ineffective. Albertans have lost trust in the leadership of our government and are no longer willing to extend to us any benefit of the doubt on most issues.”
Loewen’s remarks also took direct aim at Kenney’s personal leadership.
“The caucus dysfunction that we are presently experiencing is a direct result of your leadership. The people of Alberta have lost trust in this government because you have not brought needed balance and reason to the discussion. Albertans and our UCP party members deserve better,” he wrote.
“Albertans perceive our government as out-of-touch and arrogant, and they expect our caucus to bring their issues of concern to the government. Many of us have tried to do so repeatedly, only to be ignored and dismissed. When the Premier chooses not to listen to caucus, is it any wonder why the people choose to stop listening to the government? Our supporters and those I represent can no longer tolerate this. These folks have not abandoned the principles and values of the UCP, but they have abandoned you specifically.
“Along with so many Albertans, our understanding was we in the UCP had united around our shared principles, integrity, and common-sense approaches to governing – in short, an Alberta ‘strong and free.’ We did not unite around blind loyalty to one man. And, while you promoted unity, it is clear that unity is falling apart. I know that many Albertans, including myself, no longer have confidence in your leadership.
“I thank you for your service, but I am asking that you resign so that we can begin to put the province back together again.”