Jason Kenney resigns after Danielle Smith presents his act of sovereignty

EDMONTON — About an hour after Premier Danielle Smith introduced her first bill in the Alberta Legislative Assembly, her predecessor, Jason Kenney, announced his resignation as a member of the same chamber that she had just represented.

“I am proud to have led a government that delivered 95% of its election commitments to Albertans,” Kenney wrote Tuesday of his resignation as MLA for Calgary Lougheed.

“However, a different government is in place and the next elections will take place in a few months. So, after much thought and consultation, I have concluded that now is the best time for me to step down as an MP.

Kenney, who is never afraid of certain political analyses, added that he was “concerned that our democratic life is moving away from ordinary prudential debate towards a polarization that undermines our institutions and our fundamental principles.

“From the far left, we see efforts to undo our history, delegitimize our historically grounded institutions and customs, and dangerously divide society along identity lines,” he wrote.

« And from the far right, we see a vengeful anger and a toxic cynicism that often seeks to tear things down, rather than build and improve our flawed institutions. »

His resignation caps a decades-long political career for the former premier of Alberta who was ousted from office by troubled party members divided over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenney’s career took him from a Reform MP in his twenties to Minister of National Defense in Ottawa under Stephen Harper’s government.

He subsequently returned to Alberta where he campaigned to unite two warring right-wing political factions in the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties.

Thus, the United Conservative Party was born in 2017 and two years later won a provincial election with an overwhelming majority, wresting power from the Alberta NDP.

Falling oil prices and the pandemic followed. Kenney could not please the faction of his party opposed to public health measures, nor did he seem to please some of those who felt he had not acted quickly enough to stem the tide of the coronavirus.

Kenney announced his resignation as party leader after narrowly winning a UCP leadership review, and a leadership contest began.

He didn’t hesitate to think of Smith, who won the race in October, calling his idea for the Alberta Sovereignty Act « crazy » and that would make the province « a laughingstock. »

That same bill — now called the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act — was introduced by Smith on Tuesday.

Kenney’s resignation followed in quick succession.

“Going forward, I hope to continue contributing to our democratic life by sharing some of what I’ve learned on a range of issues, including immigration, national security, Indigenous economic development, state of the federation, economic growth, energy and more,” Kenney said in his statement.

“But for the moment, I will end with this reflection. Whatever our faults or imperfections, Canada – and I believe Alberta – is the envy of the world in many ways.


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