Alberta UCP selects committee to set leadership race rules

The United Conservative Party has appointed 12 people to a committee to establish the rules for choosing a new party leader.

New United Conservative Party leader will be Alberta premier

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks in response to the results of the United Conservative Party leadership review in Calgary on May 18, 2022. Kenney announced he would be offering his resignation as leader of the United Conservative Party. Kenney received 51.4 per cent support from the party in a leadership vote. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

The United Conservative Party has appointed 12 people to a committee to establish the rules for choosing a new party leader.

The party also says it will no longer accept cash payments for memberships after June 1 at 5 p.m. to "secure the integrity" of the voting process.

The victor of the upcoming leadership race will replace Jason Kenney as premier and party leader. He announced his resignation earlier this month after earning 51.4 per cent in a party leadership review.

In a news release Friday night, the UCP says labour lawyer David Price will head the leadership election committee.

The committee will determine the procedures for the race, including the timelines of the contest, the entry requirements, determine how members will vote and appoint a returning officer.

Existing rules say leadership votes must use a preferential ballot and each party member gets a vote.

Other voting members of the leadership election committee include:

  • Constituency association presidents Casey DesChamp, Larry Spagnolo, Tim Heger and Ron Young
  • Former members of Parliament Devinder Shory and Rick Casson
  • Former Whitecourt mayor Maryann Chichak
  • Former UCP president Ryan Becker

Non-voting members of the committee are UCP president Cynthia Moore, chief financial officer Maxwell DeGroat and vice-president Joe Friesenhan.

Leading up to Kenney's leadership review vote, his opponents raised concerns that six credit cards were used to buy about 4,000 party memberships, leading to accusations of bulk membership buying. Elections Alberta has opened an investigation.

Last year, the legislature passed a law that allowed people to buy party memberships for others, among other electoral financing reforms.

UCP bylaws say only a member, or their immediate family member, can pay for their membership fee.

The RCMP also continue to investigate allegations of voting irregularities in the party's 2017 leadership race.

Thus far, past Wildrose Party leader and media personality Danielle Smith and past Wildrose Party leader and Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Brian Jean have expressed interest in running for UCP leader.


Janet French

Provincial affairs reporter

Janet French covers the Alberta Legislature for CBC Edmonton. She previously spent 15 years working at newspapers, including the Edmonton Journal and Saskatoon StarPhoenix. You can reach her at janet.french@cbc.ca.