Former Alberta premier Jason Kenney resigns as MP

EDMONTON — Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tendered his resignation as a member of the province’s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday evening.

In a letter sent to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Nathan Cooper, Mr. Kenney announces that his decision to step down as Member of Parliament for Calgary-Lougheed is effective immediately. Mr. Kenney has represented that constituency since 2017.

In a press release accompanying his letter of resignation, Mr. Kenney thanked the voters of his riding, as well as those who carried him to power as an MP between 1997 and 2016.

“Going forward, I hope to continue contributing to our democratic life by sharing some of what I’ve learned on a host of topics, such as immigration, national security, Indigenous economic development, within the federation, economic growth, energy and more,” Mr. Kenney wrote.

“But for now, I end with this reflection. Whatever our faults or imperfections, Canada — and I believe Alberta — is the envy of the world in many ways. It is not an accident of history.”

He said he was proud of the work accomplished during his 25 years in politics, both provincially and federally, but he added that he feared the polarization of the debates between the extreme left and the extreme right.

“The far left wants to erase our history, delegitimize our institutions and our traditions, in addition to dangerously dividing society according to identity criteria. And from the far right, we see a vengeful anger and toxic cynicism that often seeks to tear things down, rather than build and improve our flawed institutions,” Kenney observed.

It is therefore a chapter that ends for the one who was Premier of Alberta between 2019 and 2022. He also held several ministerial positions under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, notably in National Defense and at Immigration.

The 54-year-old announced in May his intention to step down as prime minister after winning 51.4% support in a vote of confidence in the United Conservative Party. He was eventually replaced by Danielle Smith.

During the leadership race to find his successor, Mr Kenney had strongly criticized Ms Smith’s proposal for an Alberta sovereignty bill.

On Tuesday, shortly before Mr Kenney announced his resignation, details of the legislation were revealed.

The bill would give Premier Smith and her cabinet sweeping powers to rewrite provincial laws behind closed doors in a bid to thwart Ottawa, rather than having to go through a debate in the Legislative Assembly.

The bill would also allow the cabinet to order “provincial entities” — organizations controlled by the Crown, municipalities, school boards, higher education institutions, municipal police, regional health authorities and any social agency receiving provincial funds — not to use provincial resources to enforce federal rules deemed detrimental to Alberta’s interests.

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