Jason Kenney lays out plan for uniting the right in Alberta
'I’m not asking people to vote for me because of a set of policy proposals, because I’m Mr. Congeniality'
Jason Kenney made it clear Thursday he is not running for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservative party for any reason other than uniting the right.
"This is not a conventional leadership campaign. I'm not asking people to vote for me because of a set of policy proposals, because I'm Mr. Congeniality," Kenney said in a 40-minute news conference in Edmonton.
"I am asking people to vote on whether or not they support the concept of uniting free-enterprise Albertans."
- Jason Kenney should take unpaid leave, taxpayers group says
- Jason Kenney's post-Harper quest to restore conservatism in Alberta
The MP laid out in detail how he plans to unite the Alberta PCs and the Wildrose party. Kenney dismissed that fact that both parties have made clear they have no interest in coming together under a single banner, saying he needs to bring in "tens of thousands" of new members to make his plan work.
The five-point plan would begin with him winning the contest to become the next PC leader, in March 2017.
"If I win the PC leadership, with a clear mandate for it to pursue unity, that means the vast majority of members support it," he said.
Kenney would immediately negotiate an agreement framework between the PC and the Wildrose. He said that would be challenging but similar to what he and his colleagues accomplished at the federal level in 2003 when the Canadian Alliance merged with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
The parties would then submit the agreement to their members in a referendum, he said.
- Kenney's 'Unite Alberta' campaign will unite his political enemies: Chris Hall
- Jason Kenney urges united right as he launches Alberta PC leadership bid
If approved, the new party would be constituted in mid-2017 and in 2018, the newly-named party would begin recruiting a "dream team" of candidates, he said.
As for the new name for the party, Kenney offered his favourite, the Conservative Party of Alberta.