Jason Kenny appears to have endured yet another challenge from within his own caucus.
The no-confidence motion against the Alberta premier was withdrawn on Wednesday, but he committed to a previously planned leadership review, which would be conducted well before Alberta’s 2023 general election.
Mr Kenny is facing sharp criticism from within his own party, as well as low turnout numbers among Albertans. His government a. struggled to control The COVID-19 capacity crisis in the province’s hospitals, and his party and the caucus are divided over COVID-19 measures, including the province’s new vaccine passport system. He removed his longtime health minister from his portfolio on Tuesday.
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According to a UCP legislator, during Wednesday’s meeting in Calgary, a member of Mr Kenny’s United Conservative Party caucus triggered a no-confidence effort by presenting a non-binding motion.
The legislator said the motion called for a secret ballot on whether the caucus should continue to support Mr. Kenny’s leadership. The Granthshala is not naming the legislator because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the party’s internal affairs.
During the caucus meeting, some legislators spoke out in support of the premier, while others offered stories of their constituents’ lack of confidence in his leadership, which others were present.
According to the legislator, the premier spoke in a conciliatory manner. Mr Kenny said he understands his leadership is at the heart of concerns About his party’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. But he also said that he will not step down as the next UCP leader will face the same turmoil, and he wants to give any new leader a fresh start.
There was debate as to whether voting on the motion should proceed by secret ballot. Then some caucus members, citing the importance of re-establishing trust with Albertans, said the question of leadership should be kept from party members, the legislator said. The Premier agreed for an early review of the leadership. The offer was withdrawn.
A leadership review, in which party members vote to begin the process of selecting a new leader, will now be held early next year. A review was originally scheduled for the fall of 2022.
Mr Kenny’s executive director of communications and planning, Brock Harrison, said the premier “spoke to the party president today and asked him to review the AGM and accompanying office in the spring.”
A letter from UCP President Ryan Baker, sent to constituency union presidents, said The change in timing would allow the party to “deal with any leadership issues before the next election”.
“We all know that the government’s recent decisions in response to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused anger and frustration among some party members and a growing desire to review the leadership,” Mr Baker wrote late Wednesday. .
UCP constituency associations are circulating a separate resolution, calling for a leadership review before March 1.
This isn’t the first time the Alberta premier has faced resentment from within. In May, Mr Kenny protested open criticism from backbench legislators. Two of the disgruntled legislators, Todd Lowen and Drew Barnes, were kicked out of the caucus.
Two Alberta cabinet ministers spoke out against Mr Kenny’s actions after photos were released showing him dining with other government officials in the courtyard of the government office “Sky Palace”. Ministers alleged that the meeting was in violation of the province’s COVID-19 health restrictions.
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s caucus meeting, Spruce Grove-Stony Plain legislator Searle Turton said her priority is to make sure Alberta’s “health care system doesn’t have overcapacity, our ICUs are looked after.” And the families are taken care of. Those who have trusted me as an MLA know that someone is in their corner. I think the caucus is integrated into that approach.”
Referring to the meeting, he said, “Discussions took place about the party, about unity, how we got here, about COVID.”
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