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Campaign look back: UCP Leader Jason Kenney
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 2:50PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:35PM MDT
July 6, 2016
When United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney jumped into provincial politics on July 6, 2016, his mission was to prevent what he called the “accidental” NDP from winning a second term.
“Which would be catastrophic to the long term future of Alberta,” said Kenney.
But first, the right had to unite.
May 18, 2017
Brian Jean’s Wildrose Party merged with Jason Kenney’s Progressive Conservatives creating the UCP.
October 27, 2017
Kenney defeated Jean to become leader of the new United Conservative Party. He then went on to win a Calgary by-election and has been campaigning ever since.
Kenney promised to scrap the carbon tax and blamed Rachel Notley’s NDPs for the failure of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.
“I think it’s extremely embarrassing for our premier,” Kenney said.
But in early 2018, problems within the party started to emerge.
UCP MLA Don MacIntyre resigned after being charged with sexual assault against a minor and Derek Fildebrandt was kicked out of the party after a string of controversies.
A few months later, MLA Prab Gill resigned following an internal investigation into ballot stuffing.
Then, when Kenney rejected Bill 24, which made it illegal for a school to ‘out’ a child for joining a gay-straight alliance, the UCP was banned from marching in the 2018 Pride Parade.
As the election neared, there was more trouble for the UCP amid allegations the party ran a ‘kamikaze’ campaign to beat Jean in the leadership race. These allegations are still under investigation by the RCMP.
There were also allegations of voter fraud: that hundreds of fake emails were used to cast ballots in support of Kenney.
The UCP has denied this.
“We’re happy to assist either the Office of the Elections Commissioner, the RCMP or anyone else,” said Kenney.
Kenney has also been questioned on the ideological integrity of several UCP candidates.
Despite the ongoing controversies, the UCP and its leader remained ahead in the polls. The party focused on jobs, pipelines and the economy.
Kenney also criticized the province’s mounting debt.
“They’re banking their entire fiscal plan on a pipeline that’s already delayed by a year,” he said.
The UCP said it has a plan to achieve a $714 million dollar surplus by 2023.
“This is a very mainstream, balanced approach to gradually getting to balance without any absolute reductions in spending,” Kenney said.
“But we will only get there if we grow the economy,” he added.
The UCP has also promised a constitutional referendum on equalizations payments and corporate tax cuts to create thousands of jobs.
The party would also scrap the NDP’s K-12 curriculum review and do a revamp of its own.
“We will reform our education system to offer more practical, experiential and apprenticeship learning for everything from computer coding to the trades, so that we have a workforce that is ready for the future,” said Kenney.
With files from Dan Grummett…