Sandra Jansen threatens to quit if Jason Kenney becomes PC leader

If Jason Kenney makes a successful run to become leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen says she will quit the party.

Also considering a leadership bid of her own

Sandra Jansen on Jason Kenney PC leadership

7 years ago
Duration 4:56
Featured VideoCalgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen on a possible PC party leadership bid by Jason Kenney.

If Jason Kenney decides to be in, Sandra Jansen will be out.

The Calgary-North West MLA said she will quit the provincial Progressive Conservatives if Kenney makes a successful run for leader of the party.

"I would leave, I would not be a member of the party anymore," she told CBC News Calgary at 6.

"I think there are enough people who feel the way I feel that we would look for a different alternative, but I don't think we have to."

Jansen said she takes issue with what she sees as support for the Wildrose from Kenney during the last three provincial elections.

"I think Jason has never been a friend of the Progressive Conservative party, there's nothing progressive about Jason Kenney," she said.

"I think it's an interesting strategy, the idea of coming in to a party that stands for very little of what he stands for to try to take it over and create a merger where we certainly haven't asked for one."

Rumours of Kenney jumping from federal to provincial politics have swirled for months and came to a head Tuesday when University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan revealed on CBC News Calgary at 6 he'd discussed the idea with the Calgary-Southeast MP during a recent dinner.

MLA Sandra Jansen said she will quit the PC party if Jason Kenney makes a successful run for leader. (CBC)

Kenney has remained coy about a potential leadership run.

"I've been encouraged  by a lot of members of our federal Conservative Party to pursue the national leadership, but also a lot of folks back here at home in Alberta to help bring together free enterprise Albertans so we can get this province back on track," he said, adding he will make a decision in the "near future."

Flanagan said his discussions with Kenney centred on uniting the PC and Wildrose parties in Alberta.

But provincial PC members voted against pursuing a merger with Wildrose at the party's AGM in May, said Jansen.

"So the idea that someone is going to come in who is not progressive and wants a merger is diametrically opposed to everything that the general PC membership stands for," she said.

No rush

There's no rush for Kenney to make a decision or an announcement, said political commentator and pollster Janet Brown.

"We're three years away from the next election, the right, if they're going to unite, they probably have to be united at least a full year before the next election, but there's a two-year time period for them to sort of do their negotiations," she said.

"[Kenney] could jump into the race in the new year and have plenty of time to organize a good campaign."

Being seen as a saviour from Ottawa might not work in Kenney's favour, said Brown.

"It's hard to predict these things, but, we've seen in recent years that the saviour from Ottawa, the obvious frontrunner, that's not really a good position to be in if you want to be PC leader," she said.

"Just ask Jim Prentice."

Jansen is also considering a run at the PC leadership, she said.

"The fact is, I think there are a lot of things to consider when you're going to do that and that's certainly a conversation I'm having with my family," she said.

"I'm talking to all sorts of people and it's certainly not an idea I've ruled out."

With files from CBC News Calgary at 6