Jason Kenney critical of Alberta PC leadership race rules, but will 'happily comply'

Jason Kenney says he doesn't like the "two-tier" delegate system the Alberta Progressive Conservative party is returning to, but he isn't letting the new rules deter his campaign for the upcoming leadership contest.

Rules create 'two tiers of members,' Kenney says

Jason Kenney says his campaign will respect and comply with all the rules of the PC leadership race, despite his reservations about some of them. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Jason Kenney says he doesn't like the "two-tier" delegate system the Alberta Progressive Conservative party is returning to, but he isn't letting the rules deter his campaign for the upcoming leadership contest.

"These rules mean that 45 per cent of delegates to the PC Leadership election will be 'super delegates,'" he said in a statement, referring to the PC association board's rules for the 2017 leadership election.

Kenney says he would prefer all party members have an equal say in choosing their new leader.

"I believe that the rules should maximize the democratic participation of grassroots members, not create two tiers of members," Kenney said.

Critics say the rules adopted over the weekend — such as punishment for damaging the party brand, or disclosing all pre-campaign fundraising — were put into place to specifically target Kenney.

Kenney, who's running on a platform to merge the PCs with the Wildrose Party, did not comment on how that could be seen as harming the brand, or on his campaign financing.

The Calgary MP — who has said he will give up his seat in October — has been raising money in the pre-campaign period through a third-party organization known as Unite Alberta. 

But Kenney says his campaign will "happily comply by the rules that are adopted."

Brian Jean weighs in

Meanwhile, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he is staying out of the fight between the conservative party and Kenney.

"We know for certain at this stage that Mr. Kenney and the PCs will be involved in a divisive battle," Jean said.

"And we don't think it's helpful for the Wildrose or for Albertans for us to be part of that battle."

Under the rules, the PC party has decided candidates must disclose all spending and donations received in the pre-writ period, from June 30 to Oct. 1, when the race officially begins.

Each of the 87 constituency associations will vote to send 15 delegates to the March 18 convention in Calgary. Of those 15, five will be from the local constituency association boards and 10 from members at large.

Interim PC leader Ric McIver, who is also weighing a leadership run, has also said he would rather see all 15 delegates come from members at large.


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