Jason Kenney facing confidence vote ahead of Alberta election

Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney is facing a confidence vote in April with only one month to go before the provincial election.

The motion for a confidence vote in the UCP will be tabled before Christmas. The debate on the proposal is expected to occur Feb. 6.

The term “confidence vote” is calculated by dividing the number of members present at the time by 50, or one-half of 1 per cent.

According to internal party documents obtained by FOX31 Denver, the motion will state that the party is “extremely concerned with Mr. Kenney’s actions to date and the direction of the party under his leadership” and that the party wants to improve its finances before the election.

Former interim leader Nathan Cooper proposed the motion on behalf of the membership.

“In consultation with the membership, we believe the platform and platform unity, and the ability to carry out programs, are very important,” Cooper said in a UCP news release. “This motion will provide that opportunity to the membership and make the stakes too high not to vote.”

Cooper said the time is now right for the party to chart a course to victory at the polls on April 23.

“This has been five years in the making,” Cooper said. “There are sufficient signs of cracks in the brand, weaknesses in the volunteer base and financial disarray to warrant a review to see where we are and where we can be. We believe this is the time to act.”

The motion stated that the chairman and executive would “affirm the decision of the (party) executive to request a confidence vote, to be held on April 22, 2021.”

A spokesperson for Kenney said he supports the move.

“The party should have already discussed plans on working to build a strong and united future for our party,” NDP Minister Stephanie McLean said. “Instead, we have found out that the party will go to vote on the question of voting on Kenney’s leadership in April, just over a month before the vote. That’s awfully sketchy.”

The official candidate for leadership of the UCP, Doug Schweitzer, did not respond to FOX31 Denver’s request for comment.

Kenney announced he will not step down ahead of the confidence vote.

“The vote will be voluntary,” Kenney said in a statement. “These things always tend to go down to the wire. That’s why this decision is made earlier than usual but not less because members are being encouraged to vote.”

The Alberta NDP did suggest the UCP leadership vote would help fund Kenney’s election campaign.

“We applaud UCP members who have joined up for a number of reasons, including Mr. Kenney’s shifting positions and questionable actions,” NDP House Leader Brian Mason said in a news release. “It is entirely appropriate for Albertans to have a say about Kenney’s leadership in April. We have requested that the Board of Directors hold an emergency meeting immediately to remove the stain of leadership that has been laid on our political party.”

Kenney has only officially joined the campaign to win the province’s Progressive Conservative leadership race, and he faces a race against at least nine others vying for the position.

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