News / Calgary

MLA vacates Calgary-Lougheed seat so Jason Kenney can run in byelection

Dave Rodney, a long-serving member in the conservative caucus, said he is confident in Jason Kenney's leadership of the United Conservative Party.

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney speaks to reporters the day after being elected the first official leader of the new party as MLA Dave Rodney looks on.

The Canadian Press

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney speaks to reporters the day after being elected the first official leader of the new party as MLA Dave Rodney looks on.

Calgary-Lougheed MLA David Rodney is giving up his seat in the legislature to give the newly-elected United Conservative Party (UCP) leader, former MP Jason Kenney, the chance to take it.

Rodney announced Sunday he would be stepping down as MLA of the southwest constituency as of Nov. 1, effectively triggering a by-election in the riding.

“Part of me finds it extremely difficult to step aside, at least for now,” Rodney said. “But I'm confident that now is exactly the time to do that – Jason Kenney deserves a place in the legislature to share his vision with Albertans.”

Rodney, who referred to Kenney as Alberta’s ‘premier in-waiting,’ said he's not sure what his next move will be but he’ll never completely close the door to politics.

Kenney, in his first official appearance as UCP leader, thanked Rodney for his decades of service in the conservative caucus and said he intends to hit the ground running.

“I look forward to meeting with the families of Calgary-Lougheed in the weeks to come and hopefully earning their confidence to be their voice in the legislature,” Kenney told reporters.

“I intend to … seek election in the constituency of Calgary-Lougheed so I can hopefully enter the legislature without delay as leader of the opposition – I believe it’s my responsibility to do so.”

He said he anticipates Premier Rachel Notley will call a by-election ‘without delay,’ as is convention when a legislative seat is vacant.

Kenney said he was looking forward to meeting with his caucus for the first time following the announcement, including fellow UCP leadership candidates Doug Schweitzer and Brian Jean.

Even former Progressive Conservative Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt may be allowed back into the conservative caucus, but Kenney said not just yet.

“Derek voluntarily stepped out of the conservative caucus to address issues that had come up. I think there are still some that are unresolved,” Kenney said, referring to an ongoing hit-and-run court case which Fildebrandt is accused in.

“If at some point in the future Derek has resolved those issues and he contacts us to apply to be considered for readmission into the caucus, we would take that seriously at that time,” Kenney said.

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