News / Edmonton

Jason Kenney announces new leadership team, will not include Brian Jean

Newly elected UCP leader says he plans to divide his time between the legislature and Calgary, preparing for the by-election

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney speaks to reporters the day after being elected the first official leader of the new party in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Jeff McIntosh / 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 in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

United Conservative Party leadership runner-up Brian Jean will not be joining Jason Kenney’s leadership team.

Kenney announced his team Monday, after winning the UCP leadership race on the weekend against Jean and Doug Schweitzer.

Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Leela Aheer will be the party's deputy leader, while Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon will be leader of the opposition in the legislature and the opposition house leader while Kenney awaits a byelection.

Kenney also announced Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver as party whip, Calgary-Greenway MLA Prab Gill as deputy whip and Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt as deputy house leader.

Kenney said Jean, who led the Wildrose Party before it united with the Progressive Conservatives under the UCP banner, was absent from a three-hour party meeting Monday morning but was expected to attend the afternoon legislature sitting.

Kenney added that he will announce his party portfolio later this week, and said he invites Jean to play a “significant role.”

“I certainly hope that Brian will be an important player in the future of conservative politics in Alberta,” Kenney said.

Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney has stepped down to give Kenney his seat in the legislature before a byelection can take place.

Kenney said he plans to split his time between the legislature and campaigning in Calgary-Lougheed in the meantime.

“I’ll be here periodically,” he said.

Kenney also slammed the Alberta NDP and federal Liberal governments during his announcement.

The UCP plans to seek unanimous consent in the house Monday to introduce a motion calling on the NDP to denounce “regulatory overburden” that Kenney said killed the TransCanada Energy East pipeline.

The motion will “demand that the Government of Canada introduce amendments to the National Energy Board Act that would prohibit the Board from considering upstream and downstream emissions in pipeline approval assessments.”

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