Edmonton

Richard Starke, Donna Kennedy-Glans launch PC leadership bids

The number of people running to be the next leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party doubled Thursday when two more candidates entered the race.

Four candidates now in the race to lead party

Donna Kennedy-Glans and Richard Starke launched their PC leadership bids on Thursday. (CBC)

The number of people running to be the next leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party doubled Thursday when two more candidates entered the race.

Former Calgary MLA  Donna Kennedy-Glans and Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke announced they are running to lead a reinvigorated PC party.

The two join former Conservative MP Jason Kenney and Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson in the race to fill the spot vacated by former leader Jim Prentice.

If he wins, Kenney has stated he will fold the PC party and pursue a merger with the Wildrose Party.

Starke, a retired veterinarian and tourism minister in the last PC government, said he has no interest in that option as it does not reflect the wishes of party members who voted in favour of continuing with the party. 

No merger

"They made it very, very clear that a merger was not on," Starke said.

"And in my opinion, It's important for anyone who aspires to the leadership of the party to listen to party members and that's what I'm doing."

Kennedy-Glans​, a lawyer and former energy executive, thinks a good number of Wildrose supporters aren't really aligned with the party's beliefs.

"If you are a Progressive Conservative and you know Wildrose members, ask them why they're Wildrose," she said.

"If it was for governance reasons, or to make a point, then it's time to invite them back. A lot of people are in that party — [it] doesn't have to do with ideology."

Starke dismissed concerns that having right-wing vote will be split if conservatives are not united under a single party. 

"The 2015 election saw the result of both PC and Wildrose supporters essentially abandoning their parties, staying home or voting elsewhere because they were basically mad at a top-down attempt to merge the parties. I was there. I saw it happen," he said. 

"That created a lot of resentment and created a lot of anger and quite frankly, lost us a lot of support."

The next leader will be chosen in a delegated convention on March 18.

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