Alberta Politics

Jason Kenney gets an unlimited fundraising head start in the PC leadership race

After announcing his candidacy for the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party, Calgary Member of Parliament Jason Kenney laid out his five (or six) step plan to unite Alberta’s conservative partisans under one party banner.

There remain many unanswered questions about his plan, first being whether PC Party members agree with it, second, whether Wildrose Party members are even interested in joining with the PCs, and third, whether they can get organized in time to challenge Rachel Notley‘s New Democratic Party before the 2019 provincial election.

Mr. Kenney has not shied away from embracing views outside of the mainstream, but he is likely one of the most skilled political organizers and networkers in Canada’s conservative movement. He will charm conservatives in every corner of this province, from Cardston to Mill Woods to Fort McMurray, and many of them will purchase PC memberships to support his leadership bid.

While he is expected to face a number of potential challengers, it is unclear whether any of them have the appeal and organization to mount a serious province-wide challenge to Mr. Kenney and his network of Wildrose and federal Conservative supporters. By announcing his candidacy early, he could intimidate some potential rivals and have the advantage of an entire summer of town festivals and rodeos to campaign.

Announcing his candidacy before the PC leadership race has actually begun also gives Mr. Kenney a serious fundraising advantage. Because the leadership race has not officially started and the PC Party has not sent notice to Elections Alberta, which it will on October 1, 2016, there are currently no limits to the size of corporate and individual donations Mr. Kenney’s campaign can accept. There is also no obligation for his organization to disclose the names or amounts of donations received before the campaign period officially begins. There are no rules.

6 replies on “Jason Kenney gets an unlimited fundraising head start in the PC leadership race”

He also had the advantage of having his announcement broadcast live, nationwide, on the CBC’s all-news channel. I seriously doubt whether potential challengers, like Sandra Jensen, Richard Starke, Ric McIver or Thomas Lukaszuk, would get a similar level of coverage for their announcements.

For years the CBC has been accused by the right wing of having a lefty bias. However, from the perspective of a genuine lefty, this accusation is not supported by the evidence.

Kenny got national coverage because he was a fairly well known cabinet minister in the previous federal government, so some people in Toronto and Vancouver actually know who he is as opposed to the others who are mostly unknown outside of Alberta.

Unfortunately for Mr. Kenny, members of the East Indian or Chinese communities in the lower mainland or the greater Toronto area that Mr. Kenny courted for years don’t get to vote in this contest and probably don’t care that much about its outcome, although perhaps some may give him money, if the rules allow it.

While the national coverage of Kenny initially seems impressive, I am not sure it really confers any lasting or significant advantage. Other potential candidates do have strong connections in their own communities and perhaps elsewhere in Alberta, as well as much more experience in Alberta politics and in the Alberta PC party, which while not as impressive as a national profile, could be beneficial.

There are plenty of East Indian and Chinese communities in Edmonton and Calgary. I live in the Chinatown neighborhood in Edmonton about two-thirds of which is located in the federal riding of Edmonton- Griesbach which remains staunchly Conservative.

I wish to contribute, please send me the channel. Can’t find it on your site. We have got to keep Alberta conservative and progressive.

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