Alberta Premier Jason Kenney last night rejected any calls for an immediate leadership review of him as “grossly irresponsible.”
Kenney has been under withering attacks for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Alberta, which led to the “resignation” Tuesday of Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
A UCP caucus meeting is set for Wednesday and Kenney’s leadership is expected to be the main point of discussion.
Dozens of grassroots UCP constituency associations have joined forces to call for an early leadership review of Kenney. The party currently has one scheduled in late 2022, only six months before the next provincial election.
UCP VP of policy Joel Mullan wrote an open letter in the Western Standard Tuesday called for Kenney to go immediately.
When asked at a Tuesday press conference by the Toronto Star about the Mullan letter, Kenney responded there has been opposition to his health care policy “since Day 1.”
“My responsibility is to look at the reality — not wish it away — and take the necessary steps to protect the health care system,” Kenney said.
“Let’s deal with those things at the right time, after this crisis.”
Kenney was asked if the internal turmoil within the UCP was what led to the resignation of Shandro.
“I am focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID, not politics,” Kenney said.
“We have to protect the health care system to prevent needless deaths — we will not allow politics to distract us.”
Kenney said he knew when he brought in the fourth wave of COVID-19 lockdowns last week and flip-flopped on his promise not to bring in vaccine passports there would be internal grumblings.
He said the COVID-19 cabinet committee has had 12 hours of “respectful” meeting time with the full UCP caucus.
Kenney pointed out the People’s Party of Canada, which ran on an anti-vaccination platform, took 8% of the vote in Alberta in the federal election.
“Let me be blunt, those people likely voted for me in the last provincial election,” Kenney said.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard