Edmonton

Alberta Party brings centrists, possible leadership candidates, to Red Deer

Red Deer will be the epicentre of provincial politics Saturday as the Alberta Party holds its annual general meeting there while conservatives gather nearby for a conference hosted by the Manning Centre.

Party is facing a leadership race now that Greg Clark is stepping down

Former Alberta Party leader Greg Clark says he is considering entering the party's upcoming leadership race. (CBC)

Red Deer will be the epicentre of provincial politics Saturday as the Alberta Party holds its annual general meeting there and conservatives gather nearby for a conference hosted by the Manning Centre.

The Alberta Party convention is fully sold out. The surge of interest has coincided with the creation of the United Conservative Party and Jason Kenney's ascendance to the party leadership.

Kenney, meanwhile, is the closing speaker at the Manning Networking Conference at Red Deer College.

Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, now the UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin, and Nathan Cooper, the UCP MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, are also addressing the conference. 

Some former Progressive Conservatives who think the UCP will be too socially conservative are looking to the Alberta Party as a centrist option.

Greg Clark's recent decision to step down as Alberta Party leader has triggered a leadership race that could give the Alberta Party a higher profile. No timeline has been set for the leadership vote but Clark said he expects it to happen in February.

Radio host Ryan Jespersen, former Morinville mayor Lisa Holmes, and Chima Nkemdirim, chief of staff to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, have been named as possible candidates.

Kerry Cundal, who lost the Liberal leadership race to David Khan, has switched her political allegiances to the Alberta Party. She says she may enter the race but is also interested in backing a strong female candidate.

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