“He’s not running to be the leader of the Progressive Conservative party. He’s running to destroy the party so that he can then form a new party that he’s going to run and become leader of,” Progressive Conservative Party member Jeffrey Rath told CBC Calgary.
Kenney is running to dissolve the PC Party, not to merge or unite it with the Wildrose Party.
Despite running under the slogan “Unite Alberta,” Kenney’s goal is to win the leadership and then dissolve the party. If that does not run counter to the party’s constitution, I am not sure what else would.
The PC Party was foolish for allowing Kenney to run in the first place. Facing a lethargic and uninspiring group of “renewal” candidates, Kenney appears to have easily locked up the support of enough delegates to secure a victory at the upcoming convention.
Rath’s complaint is a Hail Mary pass but it could work. It could be difficult for the PC Party executive to disqualify him now but they should if they want their party to exist in a year from now.
The Kenney campaign’s record of flouting the rules has given the PC Party’s executive plenty of reasons to consider disqualification. One of his chief strategists was even suspended from the party for a one-year period. Some moderate conservatives in the PC Party, including former leadership candidate Stephen Khan, believe Kenney’s plans to dissolve the PC Party and form a new party will lead to the creation of a party dominated by Wildrose Party supporters – “Wildrose 2.0.”
Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who had previously endorsed plans for a new party, recently announced that his plans would have conservatives rally behind the current Wildrose Party structure. That’s rebranded Wildrose Party.
Wildrose MLA Leela Aheer, who was recently acclaimed as the Wildrose Party candidate in Chestermere-Rocky View, even announced on a Facebook video that she was proud to be running for the Wildrose Party in the 2019 election, with no mention of a new party.
This goes back to my long-held belief that the Wildrose Party needs the PC Party more than the PCs need the Wildrose. In two consecutive elections the Wildrose Party has struggled to break out of its rural Alberta base and might only be able to win an election if the PC Party is completely removed from the picture.
In 2015, the PCs were arrogant, out of touch and deserved to lose the election. But unlike the Wildrose Party, the PCs have a record of 44 years of straight election victories and a brand that many Albertans still respect.
It would not be unimaginable to see the PCs bounce back to win another election. But they won’t be able to win any future elections if they allow Kenney lead them to extinction, as he plans to do.