Jason Kenney to decide on Conservative leadership bid by summer's end

Jason Kenney is mulling over whether or not he'll put his own name forward as a Conservative leadership candidate, but he says if he does, he thinks he he'll see "very broad and deep support" from the party.

'I feel that if I did decide to run, I would have a very broad and deep support in the party'

Jason Kenney is mulling over whether or not he'll put his own name forward as a Conservative leadership candidate, but one thing is certain - he won't be a 'pale pink imitation' of a Liberal. 12:45

Jason Kenney is mulling over whether or not he'll put his own name forward as a Conservative leadership candidate, but he says if he does, he thinks he he'll see "very broad and deep support" from the party.

"People want a choice and not an echo," he told Chris Hall in an interview on CBC Radio's The House.

"Conservatives lose when they seek to become a pale pink imitation of the Liberal Party. It's important to me that we have in this race someone who is able to build a governing coalition, but who is also a conviction conservative."

The longtime MP feels confident he has the backing within the Conservative party to make a leadership bid.

"I feel that if I did decide to run, I would have a very broad and deep support in the party, but this still doesn't make this an automatic decision for me," Jason Kenney told Chris Hall in an interview on CBC Radio's The House.

"There's an awful lot to reflect on and that's what I'm taking time to do."

Speaking from the convention floor in Vancouver where the Conservatives are currently meeting, Kenney said he'll make up his mind on whether or not to run for the party leadership by the end of the summer.

The Conservatives are set to vote for a new leader at next year's convention, on May 27, 2017.

As Conservatives meet in Vancouver for the party's convention today, delegates will be looking for the next Tory to enter the party's leadership race with Jason Kenney a key name to watch. 1:44

One of the things Kenney has to consider is the time commitment involved, as well as his own aversion to a "U.S.-style, endless campaign."

"I've been resisting this momentum of having a year-long leadership election in our party," he said. "I've been trying purposefully to avoid playing into this. It would just have us talking about ourselves and wasting resources, rather than reaching out to Canadians and holding the government to account."

Tories created 'enemies rather than friends'

Kenney has had plenty of time to reflect on how best to reach out to those very Canadians he hopes will vote Conservative in the next election.

"Where we went wrong as a government was typically on tone and communications," he said.

"We didn't seek to persuade, we too often sought to kind of dictate our message … and too often seemed to go out of our way to create enemies rather than friends."

But Kenney said the party is already "getting it right" with interim leader Rona Ambrose.

"She's strong and principled. I think she's just done a phenomenal job," he said.

The Conservatives will also be going into the next election a stronger, more unified party — something that can be credited to former leader and prime minister Stephen Harper, he added.

Conservative MP Jason Kenney delivered his final speech in the House of Commons, Thursday. (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)

"I think Stephen Harper demonstrated that this really is a united party. It's the one unsung achievement of his leadership. The old fights, the blues versus the reds...all of those factions do not exist in this party."

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