Jason Kenney on list of past Alberta premiers to resign amid party strife

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced in May that he would be stepping down as United Conservative Party leader after receiving 51.4 per cent support in a leadership review. He joins a list of former premiers who also resigned.

The soon-to-be former UCP leader is the latest addition to the list of past premiers who left office early

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is set to leave his job as Alberta's premier on Thursday after his party announces a new leader. ((Jason Franson/The Canadian Press))

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced in May that he would be stepping down as United Conservative Party leader after receiving 51.4 per cent support in a leadership review. Kenney said the result did not show enough support for him to stay on and he would step down when a new leader could be chosen.

A new leader and premier is to be elected Thursday. Here are some past Alberta premiers who resigned amid party strife:

Ralph Klein (1992-2006):

The folksy one-time Calgary mayor led Alberta's Progressive Conservatives to four straight majority governments. But toward the end of his tenure, Klein's popularity was buffeted by austerity measures, labour conflict and questions about his behaviour. He garnered 55 per cent support in a March 2006 leadership review and stepped down later that fall.

Former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein stepped down after only receiving an approval rating of 55 per cent in a leadership review. (John Ulan/The Canadian Press)

Ed Stelmach (2006-2011):

Stelmach won a come-from-behind victory to replace Klein as party leader and premier. A review of oil and gas royalty rates the following year drew anger in many quarters.

Though he led the PCs to a resounding majority in the 2008 election and garnered 77 per cent approval in a 2009 leadership review, some caucus members took issue with his handling of the economy. In early 2011, he announced he would not be seeking re-election.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach reacts to winning his leadership review with 77.4% at the Alberta PC party's annual meeting in Red Deer Nov. 7, 2009. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Alison Redford (2011-2014):

Redford became Alberta's first woman premier when she succeeded Stelmach as leader. The PCs won a majority in the 2012 election, despite predictions that they would be toppled by the upstart right-wing Wildrose Party.

She, too, won 77 per cent party support in a leadership review. But revelations of lavish travel expenses — like $45,000 to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa — led to Redford's undoing.

Following weeks of caucus turmoil, she resigned in March 2014.

Former Premier Alison Redford stepped down after after 2½ years as premier in 2014. (CBC)

Jim Prentice (2014-2015):

The respected former federal cabinet minster left politics for the private sector, only to return to the fray for a run as PC leader.

Former Alberta PC Premier Jim Prentice alongside UCP hopeful and former Wild Rose Party leader Danielle Smith. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

He handily won the leadership, but his party suffered a historic defeat to the New Democrats in the 2015 election, ending more than four decades of PC rule in the province.

Prentice stepped down as party leader and MLA on election night after his party ended up in third place.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?