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'For me there is no going back': Jason Kenney on Alberta leadership bid
Stewart Shaw, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, July 7, 2016 12:07PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 7, 2016 6:25PM MDT
MP Jason Kenney, who announced Wednesday he would seek the leadership of a united conservative party, reaffirmed his commitment at a news conference in Edmonton Thursday.
Kenney calls a united free-enterprise political force in Alberta inevitable, saying that it's "not a question of if, but a when." This is in response to what Kenney calls the "reckless economic mismanagement of the NDP".
As leader of a united free-enterprise party, he says he would replicate in Alberta at a provincial level the enormous success of the federal coalition created by Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay in 2003.
Representing the riding of Calgary-Midnapore since 1999, Kenney says he's not necessarily interested in taking over the leadership of the Alberta PC Party, and that his unity project is about more than just PC plus Wildrose. "The whole is greater than the sum of its part, that is what unity brings" according to Kenney.
Kenney then unveiled a detailed timeline that shows his path towards leading a united party. His plan is to first win the PC leadership in March 2017, then open up negations with the Wildrose about a merger.
If the majority of party members vote in favour of the merger, the parties would then unite. Next winter there would be another leadership race to determine who would head a brand new party, that Kenney suggested would "take of like a rocket."
Kenney says that his polling indicates a united free-enterprise party would clearly win the next provincial election.
When asked about a new name for the united party, Kenney thought that the 'Conservative Party of Alberta' had potential.
As far as his current seat in the House of Commons is concerned, Kenney says he has unfinished business in Ottawa and that he'll stay on until the official leadership race begins in October. Kenney has been taking some heat on social media by those who say he is already campaigning and should step down.