Progressive Conservatives alter leadership selection process

  • Mar. 26, 2014 4:59 p.m.

The Progressive Conservatives have shifted the process of how they will select a leaders.

After meeting for several hours in Red Deer on Monday with party members, President Jim McCormick said the first PC leadership vote will take place on Sept. 6.

“And the second vote, if necessary, will happen on Sept. 20. Every Albertan over the age of 14 who has purchased a PC membership will be eligible to vote,” he said.

“A candidate who receives more than half the total votes on the first ballot will be declared the PCAA leader. If not, a second ballot will take place between the two candidates who receive the most votes.”

He also said that each candidate will have to pay a $50,000 non-refundable deposit as part of their nomination.

A nomination date hasn’t been set as of yet, he said, but it is expected within about 10 days.

“There was a great discussion amongst our executives towards setting up a clear set of guidelines for our new leadership selection,” said McCormick.

“It’s not a responsibility we took lightly and we put together a set of rules that will see the best candidate become the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and premier of this province.”

The party has seen enormous changes over the past week.

Former Premier Alison Redford announced her resignation last Wednesday.

Her approval ratings had slid, two members of her own government had stepped down and rumblings of misspending public funds had been dogging her over the past while.

“Quite simply, I am not prepared to allow party and caucus infighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province and for all Albertans,” Redford said Wednesday. “And that is why I am announcing today that with a profound optimism for Alberta’s future, I am resigning as premier of Alberta, effective this Sunday.”

Dave Hancock was officially sworn in as her replacement on Sunday.

MLA for Red Deer South and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations Cal Dallas said he is looking forward to working with Hancock.

Dallas added he is looking forward to working with Hancock in the next number of months.

“I have admired and appreciated the work that Dave has done as a public servant from my election in 2008,” he said.

“He is a consummate professional in terms of understanding the process and understanding how to garner feedback from Albertans on important issues and he is a consensus builder. I think he has been a good mentor for me and I am looking forward to serving Premier Hancock.”

Dallas also reflected on his time in the Redford administration.

“It was an honour that the premier chose me to serve as IR minister and I completely appreciated the vision that she had in the Building Alberta plan and the essential component of that around achieving a higher level of market access given our economy’s dependence on export,” he said.

“In every respect it was an honour for me to serve the premier. Decisions were made, she made a decision, and for me the important thing is to ensure that I am focused, that I am contributing, that I am representing my constituency and that I am doing my business as a member of the legislature.”

As for the party’s next step, Dallas said it will be ‘business as usual’.

“From a government perspective it is to continue the work that Albertans elected us to do in 2012. We ran on a platform and we were elected on, so that important business will continue without interruption,” he said.

Meanwhile, opposition party leaders commented on Redford’s departure.

“Premier Redford was elected to lead the PC party as an outsider. She wasn’t part of the old boys club. She was hailed as a new kind of leader who could fix what was wrong with the party and the government,” said Danielle Smith, Wildrose leader. “A leader who could put the party’s problems behind her and fundamentally change what it meant to be a Progressive Conservative.

“I have no doubt that she intended to be that leader. And I have no doubt that Albertans had high hopes that she would be.

“But what we’ve witnessed during her short 29 months as Premier is the clearest indication yet that the PC party cannot be fixed.

“The problems with this party and with this government run far too deep for one leader to change – no matter how noble their intentions are or how deeply they’re committed to them.”