While he may have announced his intentions to step down as leader of the United Conservative Party earlier this week, Jason Kenney said there is still a lot of work to be done before he leaves his post.
After receiving 51.4 per cent support in his leadership review, Kenney announced Wednesday evening that he plans to step down as UCP leader. Following a caucus meeting Thursday, the decision was made for Kenney to remain in his post until a new leader can be chosen.
“I’ll be doing so as soon as the party has elected a new leader,” Kenney said during a media availability Friday morning ahead of a cabinet meeting in Calgary.
Kenney said the decision to keep him on as leader allows the government a chance to maintain continuity and stability, as well as focus on the people’s priorities until a new leader is elected.
“To me that’s the most important thing. This is a critical time in Alberta’s history. We are determined to keep our eye on the ball, to continue to lead Canada in economic growth and job creation, to keep our commitments to fight for a stronger Alberta,” Kenney said. “We have a lot of important business in front of us.
“This is a demonstration that Alberta’s government continues to do the people’s business, continues to fight for this province, to work for a strong economy, to make life better for Albertans.”
Some of that work, Kenney said, includes pushing forward following a “historic win” last week regarding the federal government’s environmental impact law.
The Alberta Court of Appeal’s strongly worded opinion said the Impact Assessment Act is an “existential threat” to the division of powers guaranteed by the Constitution and has taken a “wrecking ball” to Constitutional rights of the citizens of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“I am working to get as many Canadian provinces and key organizations representing First Nations, businesses and others who care about the future of Canada’s economy to support us as we go to the Supreme Court of Canada. I’ll be doing that next week at the Western Premiers Conference in Regina,” Kenney said.
Kenney also noted the government will continue its momentum from a trip to Washington last week.
“We saw some of the most powerful people in the United States congress supporting Alberta’s pitch to become a larger part of North American energy security.”
Kenney said said Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon and Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take another trip to Washington next month with oilsands producers to discuss their plans to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The premier said his government will also continue to work on addressing the rising cost of living, inflation, food and energy prices.
“We will continue to focus… on the challenges faced by the uncertainty in the global economy. Obviously growing signs of inflation in Canada and around the world concerns us a great deal,” he said.
“We will continue to provide real action to support Albertans through that.
“We will be discussing what more can or should be done to protect Albertans from this inflationary environment.”
Kenney did not take questions from reporters following his speech.
United Conservative Party caucus chair Nathan Neudorf said Thursday the timing of the leadership vote is yet to be determined.
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