Edmonton·Podcast

The Ledge: Former UCP nomination candidate disillusioned with UCP under Jason Kenney

A conservative politician who campaigned for nearly a year to be the United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Meadows is speaking out against leader Jason Kenney's decision to overstep the local nomination process.

A popular local conservative politician says Jason Kenney assured his family of an open contest

Arundeep Singh Sandhu is well acquainted with the ups and downs of politics. But he was shocked when UCP leader Jason Kenney suddenly appointed a high profile candidate to run in his riding. (Facebook)

A conservative politician who campaigned for nearly a year to be the United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Meadows is speaking out against leader Jason Kenney's decision to overstep the local nomination process.

On Feb. 21, Kenney named Len Rhodes, former president and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos, to run as the UCP candidate in the riding in the upcoming provincial election.

Before the appointment, three candidates were competing for the nomination.

Full interview on The Ledge

During an interview on the CBC political podcast The Ledge, Arundeep Singh Sandhu expressed his "extreme disappointment."

A longtime conservative politician, who campaigned for almost a year to be the United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Meadows, is speaking out against UCP leader Jason Kenney, and his decision to overstep the local nomination process. 21:39

"We had 2,500-plus people ready to vote in the nomination here in the Meadows," Sandhu said.

"It's rubbed a lot of us the wrong way and it's rubbed me the wrong way as well," he added.

What's particularly disappointing, Sandhu said, is that Kenney gave his assurance the nomination in Edmonton-Meadows was open.

"We actually sat down with Jason, my family and I," said Sandhu who emphasized Kenney made it clear there was no preferred candidate.

Sandhu said Kenney encouraged him to run and supported his campaign.

"It's one thing in politics to run. It's another thing to run against the leader's wishes," said Sandhu, who has previously run for a seat on Edmonton city council.  

Sandhu said he is disillusioned with the UCP under Kenney.

"It's hard to wrap my head around why this happened here," he said.

Sandhu is pondering running as an independent candidate or even for a different party.

"I'm a conservative, but I don't believe I can run for the UCP as long as this leadership and this leadership team is in there." 

"This is a community with a lot of hardworking people, a lot of hard working conservatives," Sandhu said. "They're not going to blindly support a party. They want to make sure that whoever they elect is going to represent them."

Won't engage

Sandhu said a lot of people in the community are upset.

"I'm not sure they're going to be engaging in this next election," he said.

When introducing Rhodes, Kenney said the UCP constitution allows him to name up to four candidates, to allow high-profile people like Rhodes to run.

Sandhu is adamant Kenney gave no prior indication Edmonton-Meadows was one of those ridings.

To hear the interview with Arundeep Singh Sandhu,  listen to the newest edition of The Ledge.

Kim Trynacity and Michelle Bellefontaine also review the growing list of interesting candidate nominations from other parties and the surprising decision of Alberta's Election Commissioner to level stiff fines for obstructing an investigation.

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