Ken Hughes to 'listen' before running for Alberta PC leader

Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes announced Monday that he might take a run at the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party, but he needs to hear what people think first.
Ken Hughes, former minister of municipal affairs, is running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, he announced on Friday. (CBC )

Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes announced Monday that he might take a run at the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

However, he told reporters at a news conference in Calgary that he wants to talk to people first before making a final decision. 

“I’m prepared to have a thoughtful conversation with Albertans, I’m prepared to listen,” he said.

“I think it’s really important that the PC party and the government of Alberta today demonstrate that they can listen and that they’re prepared to listen to Albertans.”

Hughes is one of several cabinet ministers thinking about making a bid to be party leader after Alison Redford stepped down as premier and party leader on Sunday.

Other ministers also consider running

Finance Minister Doug Horner, Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, Environment Minister Diana McQueen and Justice Minister Jonathan Denis haven't ruled themselves out of the race. 

Dave Hancock is leading the province and the party on an interim basis. A new leader must be chosen no later than six months after Redford’s resignation.

Denis plans to announce his decision in a few weeks. 

"I also think it's time to put aside old fights. And I think it's time that we look at bringing back the two who had left  Len (Webber) and Donna (Kennedy-Glens)  back into the caucus."

Hancock, who was sworn into the job of premier Sunday, says cabinet ministers who run for the leadership should be prepared to resign their posts. 

"That's been the tradition over the last two (leadership races)," Hancock said. "That if one wants to run for the leadership one should step out and do that with their full focus." 

NDP MLA Rachel Notley suggested that anyone who even tries testing the waters needs to resign their cabinet post and she thinks Hughes should step down now.

“You're in a position to make very significant policy decisions and the perception is that that power should not rest with someone who is at the same time out there asking for money and support in order to become the premier,” she said.

Like Denis, Hughes plans on making a decision on a leadership bid in a few weeks.