Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney resigns as MP

“I am concerned that our democratic life is moving away from ordinary prudential debate towards a polarization that undermines our institutions and fundamental principles,” he wrote.

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Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday evening that he had resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Kenny posted a resignation letter on social media shortly after the Lt. Governor. Salma Lakhani delivered the throne speech to open the fourth session of the 30th legislature.

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In the letter, he thanked the constituents of Calgary-Lougheed he had served since 2017 and added that he was proud to have served as Alberta’s leader of government.

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“I hope to continue contributing to our democratic life by sharing some of what I have learned on a range of issues,” his letter read.

He also cited the start of government under Prime Minister Danielle Smith and the upcoming spring election, writing « now is the best time for me to step down. »

Kenney’s resignation is effective immediately and comes after 25 years of service in federal and provincial governments.

His letter ends with several reflections on democracy, parliamentary government and the state of Canadian politics.

« I fear that our democratic life is drifting away from ordinary prudential debate towards a polarization that undermines our institutions and fundamental principles, » he wrote.

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He goes on to attack « the far left » for what he called « efforts to undo our history » and to divide society along identity lines. He also criticized what he called the far right for its « vengeful anger and toxic cynicism ».

He ends by expressing his optimism that these two forces will fade over time.

« I am hopeful that we will overcome this period of polarization to renew our common life together in this incredible country of unlimited opportunity. »

Kenney served as Alberta’s 18th premier between April 2019 and October this year.

He announced he would step down last May after winning 51.4 per cent support in a leadership review of his United Conservative Party members.

This marked the surprising end of his leadership of the party he helped create when he united the political right in Alberta through the merger of the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties.

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He arrived on the Alberta provincial political scene in 2016 as a well-known former federal cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

He became prime minister after his party won a resounding election victory in 2019, winning 63 of 87 seats.

His legislative agenda of fiscal prudence and resistance to Ottawa was quickly sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in early 2020.

As the pandemic progressed, he found himself trapped between those in his party who thought public health measures went too far and those who thought they didn’t go far enough.

In early 2021, 16 UCP MPs, mostly representing rural constituencies, signed a public letter opposing further restrictions even as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

These forces eventually pushed him to promise a speedy leadership review that would eventually force him out of the post of head of government.

— With files from Lisa Johnson and Ashley Joannou

Twitter @ByMatthewBlack

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