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Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership

There’s considerable optimism among social conservatives in Alberta right now. Earlier this month, former federal Member of Parliament Jason Kenney was elected the new leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party. He ran on a platform of “uniting the right” – bringing the Alberta PC’s and the Wildrose Party back into a single organization to campaign against the NDP in that province’s next election. Kenney won the leadership at a delegated convention, garnering about 75% of the vote on the first ballot.

Kenney has a long history of supporting socially conservative policy positions in his days in the federal Parliament.

In my opinion he will live up to our expectations  

John Voorhorst was one of the delegates at the leadership convention, and he’s optimistic Kenney won’t back down on the important issues. “In my opinion he will live up to our expectations because even in his acceptance speech he made mention – and not just in passing, but deliberate mention – of the work that the current government is doing on the school curriculum; that they’re doing this work in secret, and that this is something that he wants to address very quickly.”

The day after the leadership vote, the left-wing “Press Progress” website published a piece critical of Kenney’s past policy positions. It was entitled “6 Severely Abnormal Things Jason Kenney Says He Believes“. Among those “severely abnormal” things was the notion that government gets its authority from God, that CO2 emissions are good, and that public schools brainwash children with anti-conservative beliefs. Voorhorst says the attacks are not surprising, but he doesn’t expect Kenney to cave under the pressure. “I believe he can survive (this criticism),” Voorhorst says, “because I believe that the general populace in Alberta is going to come aggressively to his defence, and that we’re not going to stand for this kind of attack like we might have two or four years ago.”

Kenney’s next challenge is to find a way to form a new party with the cooperation of Wildrose Leader Brian Jean; both men have indicated they would run for the leadership of that group. Alternatively, they could try to merge the Wildrose and PC brands; there’s ongoing legal research on whether that would even be a possibility under Alberta elections law.

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