Grande Prairie’s two United Conservative Party MLA’s have weighed in on the results of the inaugural leadership vote for the new party.
Former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney won the leadership on the first ballot, garnering over 61 percent of the vote.
Grande Prairie-Smoky MLA Todd Loewen was surprised at how convincing the victory was for Kenney.
“That was higher than I think what was expected. But it does show that there was a definite win, which is good to see. It is good to have something that is not going to generate any kind of concern going forward as far as being a really tight race and that sort of thing.”
With the campaign now over, Loewen says it is time for the new party to move forward.
“Our next item is to work on policies, which is something that the members will be directly involved in. And we are looking forward to going ahead with that. We also need to start getting ready for the next election.”
Kenney will now take over an opposition caucus of 27 members, even though he does not hold a seat in the legislature.
But Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale does not expect that to be an issue.
“We have been going for a year and a half without a leader. We have just had interim leaders instead. I am sure he will appoint a leader for in the house, and at least we will now have a leader that can speak for us outside of the house, which is most of the work.”
In fact, Drysdale thinks it will be a positive for Kenney, who will now be freed up to travel across the province and begin work towards the next provincial election.
The party’s first ever policy convention is expected to take place in the new year.
Drysdale is hopeful that the party’s policies and principles will fall in line with what he supports, adding he will not make a decision about his future with the party until those have been established.
As for Loewen, he says he is committed to the new party and to continuing to serve the residents in his constituency.