2017 United Conservative Party leadership election

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2017 United Conservative Party leadership election

October 28, 2017
  Jason Kenney in 2019 - cropped.jpg Brian Jean April 28 2015.jpg Doug Schweitzer.png
Candidate Jason Kenney Brian Jean Doug Schweitzer
Votes 35,623 18,336 4,273
Percentage 61.2% 31.5% 7.3%

Incumbent Leader

Nathan Cooper (interim)

2017 United Conservative Party leadership election
DateOctober 28, 2017
ConventionBMO Centre
Calgary, Alberta
Won byJason Kenney
Entrance FeeC$95,000 ($20,000 of which is a refundable compliance bond)[1]
Wildrose Party leadership elections
United Conservative Party leadership elections

A United Conservative Party leadership election was held in Alberta on October 28, 2017 following votes on July 22, 2017 by memberships of both the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta to merge and form the United Conservative Party. The Unity Agreement between the parties states that the leadership election will be held on a One Member One Vote basis.[2]

Both Jason Kenney, leader of the PC Party, and Wildrose leader Brian Jean were expected to stand for leader of the new party, with Jean saying at the press conference that announced the merger agreement: "Clearly we're both running for the leadership of this new party."[3] Former Conservative Party of Canada interim leader Rona Ambrose ruled herself out of consideration.[4]

"Kamikaze campaign" scandal[edit]

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Alberta Election Commissioner are investigating allegations that Jason Kenney and his team were involved in orchestrating Jeff Callaway's campaign for the leadership of the United Conservative Party in an attempt to harm Kenney's biggest rival, Brian Jean. Documents obtained by The Toronto Star confirm that Kenney's campaign controlled major aspects of Callaway's campaign, including the providing of strategic plans, attack ads, speeches, and talking points intended to discredit Jean. These documents have since been handed over the election commissioner, according to Callaway's former campaign manager, Cameron Davies. Davies also said that Kenney had attended a meeting at Callaway's house in July 2017 where the "kamikaze campaign" was discussed and that Kenney had first-hand knowledge of this strategy.[5]

A leaked document alleged that Jason Kenney's team first approached Derek Fildebrandt in July 2017 about running a "dark-horse" campaign but ultimately decided against working with him. Fildebrandt confirmed this account but stated that it was he who rejected the idea.[6]

An emergency injunction was sought to halt the probe into the financing of Callaway's UCP leadership campaign for the duration of the 2019 Alberta general election, but was denied by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Anne Kirker who ruled it was in the public interest for the investigation to continue.[7]

Callaway, who declared his candidacy on August 10, 2017, only to withdraw on October 4, after the debates but prior to voting, was issued 24 fines totalling $70,000 by the Alberta Election Commissioner on July 18, 2019, during an investigation into allegations that Kenney's leadership team orchestrated Callaway's candidacy in order to attack to attack Jean and that Callaway's campaign was funded by illegal donations.[8] While, Alberta elections commissioner Lorne Gibson has led to fines against 15 people totalling $207,223.[9][10]


  • March 18, 2017 - Jason Kenney, former federal cabinet minister, is elected PC leader on a platform of joining with the Wildrose to form a united right-of-centre party.
  • May 18, 2017 - PC leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose leader Brian Jean announce that merger referenda will be held in their parties on July 22, 2017. If they pass, with thresholds of 50%+1 of PC members and 75% of Wildrose members, the parties will begin the process of merging into the United Conservative Party, or UCP.[11]
  • June 1, 2017 - Doug Schweitzer declares his candidacy.[3]
  • July 22, 2017 - The PC and Wildrose parties hold unity referenda on the question of merging into the United Conservative Party. Both parties approve the merger with 95% support.[12] Brian Jean declares his candidacy.[13]
  • July 29, 2017 - Jason Kenney declares his candidacy.
  • August 10, 2017 - Jeff Callaway declares his candidacy.
  • September 12, 2017 - Nomination period officially closes at 5pm MT (UTC−6). Half of entrance fee is due.[14][15]
  • September 20, 2017 - Leadership debate held in Calgary.[16]
  • September 28, 2017 - Leadership debate held in Edmonton.[17]
  • September 29, 2017 - Membership sales end at 5 pm MT (UTC−6).[14]
  • October 3, 2017 - Leadership debate held in Red Deer.[18]
  • October 4, 2017 - Jeff Callaway withdraws his candidacy.
  • October 5, 2017 - Balance of entrance fee is due.[15]
  • October 12, 2017 - Leadership debate held in Fort McMurray.[18]
  • October 13, 2017, 5 pm MT (UTC−6) - Deadline for members to register to vote using photo ID as proof of identity.[18]
  • October 17, 2017 - Leadership debate held in Lethbridge.[18]
  • October 26, 2017, 9 am MT (UTC−6) - Voting begins via online and telephone balloting.[18]
  • October 28, 2017, 5 pm MT (UTC−6) - Voting ends. Results announced at the BMO Centre in Calgary shortly after the close of voting.[18]

Declared candidates[edit]

Brian Jean[edit]


Brian Jean, 54, was the final Leader of the Wildrose Party (2015–2017). Jean is currently the MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin (2015–present). He served as MP for Athabasca (2004–2006) and Fort McMurray—Athabasca (2006–2014), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (2006–2011), and Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta (2015–2017). Jean was elected Wildrose leader after previous leader Danielle Smith and eight other Wildrose MLAs crossed the floor to join the PC government of then-Premier Jim Prentice.

Date candidacy declared: July 22, 2017[13]
Campaign website: brianjean.ca
Amount of deposit paid: Full[15]
MLAs: (11) Leela Aheer (Chestermere-Rocky View),[19] Wayne Anderson (Highwood),[20] Dave Hanson (Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills),[21] Todd Loewen (Grande Prairie-Smoky),[22] Don MacIntyre (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake),[22] Angela Pitt (Airdrie),[23] Ron Orr (Lacombe-Ponoka),[22] Dave Schneider (Little Bow),[20] Pat Stier (Livingstone-Macleod),[20] Glenn van Dijken (Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock),[22] Tany Yao (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo)[22]
Federal politicians: (1) Blaine Calkins (MP for Red Deer—Lacombe)[24]
Municipal politicians: (6) Omer Moghrabi (Lac La Biche County Mayor),[25] Fred Nash (Rocky Mountain House Mayor),[26] Arnold Romaniuk (Two Hills Mayor),[26] Steve Upham (County of St. Paul No. 19 Reeve),[26] Angie Warwick (Prairie Land School Division Trustee for Hanna),[26] Chris Warwick (Hanna Mayor)[26]
Former MLAs:
Former federal politicians: (1) Myron Thompson (MP for Wild Rose, 1993–2008)[26]
Other prominent supporters: (4) Theo Fleury (Former professional ice hockey player),[27] Rod Hay (8-time Canadian Rodeo champion),[26] Tim Moen (Leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada),[26] David Yager (President of the Wildrose Party, 2012–2014)[26]

Jason Kenney[edit]

Kenney in 2014

Jason Kenney, 49, was the final Leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (2017). He served as MP for Calgary Southeast (1997–2015) and Calgary Midnapore (2015–2016), and was Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2008–2013), Minister of Employment and Social Development (2013–2015), Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship (2013–2015), and Minister of National Defence (2015) under the Harper government. Kenney was elected PC leader on a promise to merge the PC and Wildrose parties.

Date candidacy declared: July 29, 2017[28]
Campaign website: jasonkenney.ca
Amount of deposit paid: Full[15]
MLAs: (10) Drew Barnes (Cypress-Medicine Hat),[29] Scott Cyr (Bonnyville-Cold Lake)[30] Prab Gill (Calgary-Greenway),[31] Grant Hunter (Cardston-Taber-Warner),[32] Ric McIver (Calgary-Hays),[33] Jason Nixon (Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre),[33] Prasad Panda (Calgary-Foothills)[31] Dave Rodney (Calgary-Lougheed),[31] Mark Smith (Drayton Valley-Devon),[34] Rick Strankman (Drumheller-Stettler)[35]
Federal politicians: (23) John Barlow (MP for Foothills),[36] Bob Benzen (MP for Calgary Heritage),[36] Michael Cooper (MP for St. Albert—Edmonton),[24] Kerry Diotte (MP for Edmonton Griesbach),[37] Earl Dreeshen (MP for Red Deer—Mountain View),[38] Jim Eglinski (MP for Yellowhead),[24] Garnett Genuis (MP for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan),[24] Rachael Harder (MP for Lethbridge),[36] Matt Jeneroux (MP for Edmonton Riverbend),[24] Pat Kelly (MP for Calgary Rocky Ridge),[36] Tom Kmiec (MP for Calgary Shepard),[39] Ron Liepert (MP for Calgary Signal Hill),[24] Dane Lloyd (MP for Sturgeon River—Parkland),[36] Kelly McCauley (MP for Edmonton West),[36] Glen Motz (Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner),[36] Deepak Obhrai (MP for Calgary Forest Lawn),[36] Michelle Rempel (MP for Calgary Nose Hill),[36] Blake Richards (MP for Banff—Airdrie),[36] Martin Shields (MP for Bow River),[36] Kevin Sorenson (MP for Battle River—Crowfoot),[40] Shannon Stubbs (MP for Lakeland),[36] Arnold Viersen (MP for Peace River—Westlock),[41] Chris Warkentin (MP for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie)[36]
Municipal politicians: (3) Craig Copeland (City of Cold Lake Mayor),[42] Maggie Croenen (Town of Cardston Mayor),[43] Andrew Prokop (Town of Taber Councillor and Interim Mayor)[44]
Former MLAs: (11) Jack Ady (Cardston-Chief Mountain, 1986–1997),[45] David Dorward (Edmonton-Gold Bar, 2012–2015),[46] Jonathan Denis (Calgary-Egmont, 2008–2012; Calgary-Acadia, 2012–2015),[47] Denis Ducharme (Bonnyville-Cold Lake, 1997–2008),[30] Heather Forsyth (Calgary-Fish Creek, 1993–2015),[48] Paul Hinman (Calgary-Glenmore, 2009–2012; Cardston-Taber-Warner, 2004–2008),[49] Genia Leskiw (Bonnyville-Cold Lake, 2008–2015),[30] Jason Luan (Calgary-Hawkwood, 2012–2015),[50] Ty Lund (Rocky Mountain House, 1989–2012),[51] Marvin Moore (Smoky River, 1971–1989),[52] Shayne Saskiw (Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, 2012–2015)[30]
Former federal politicians: (1) Rona Ambrose (MP for Sturgeon River—Parkland)[53]
Other prominent supporters: (2) Jeff Callaway (President of the Wildrose Party, 2008–2010; 2014–2017),[54] Candice Malcolm (Calgary Sun Columnist)[55]

Doug Schweitzer[edit]

Schweitzer in 2017

Doug Schweitzer, 38, is a Calgary lawyer and longtime PC party member. He served as CEO of the Manitoba PC Party (2008–2009) and campaign manager of Jim Prentice's successful PC leadership campaign in 2014.[56]

Date candidacy declared: June 1, 2017[56]
Campaign website: dougschweitzer.com
Amount of deposit paid: Full[54]
MLAs: (1) Wayne Drysdale (Grande Prairie-Wapiti)[57]
Federal politicians:
Municipal politicians:
Former MLAs: (1) Peter Elzinga (Sherwood Park, 1986–1993)[58]
Former federal politicians: (1) Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, 1993–2010)[59]
Other prominent supporters: (2) Kevin O’Leary (Businessman and television personality),[60] Chris Warren (President of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, 1998; 2002–2004)[61]
  • Calls for massive cuts to Alberta's corporate and personal income tax rates, including replacing progressive income tax with a flat tax of 10% for those making more than $100,000 a year and 9% for those making less than that amount.
  • Advocates the elimination of the province's carbon levy. Proposes cutting salaries of public sector workers across the board by 3% for those making less than $120,000 a year and by 6% for those making more than that.
  • Calls himself a moderate on social issues.[62]
  • Says most Albertans are "socially moderate" and that issues such as "gay-straight alliances," "diversity," and inclusion of women are non-partisan issues.[3]

Withdrawn candidates[edit]

Jeff Callaway[edit]


Jeff Callaway, 40, was formerly President of the Wildrose Party (2008–2010; 2014–2017) and 2015 Wildrose candidate for Calgary-North West. He is currently a Calgary-based senior investment advisor.[47]

Date candidacy declared: August 10, 2017[63]
Date withdrawn: October 4, 2017[54]
Subsequently endorsed: Jason Kenney[54]



Candidate Votes Percentage
Jason Kenney 35,623 61.2%
Brian Jean 18,336 31.5%
Doug Schweitzer 4,273 7.3%
Total 58,232 100%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.unitedconservative.ca/Content/UCP%202017%20Leadership%20Contest%20Rules.pdf
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Wannabe leader of United Conservative Party says he's tired of PCs not fighting for social issues". CBC News. June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Rona Ambrose says proposed PC-Wildrose merger what Alberta needs". CBC News. May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Leavitt, Kieran; McIntosh, Emma (March 17, 2019). "Jason Kenney knew about UCP 'kamikaze' affair before leadership race, documents given to investigators say". The Toronto Star. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Keller, James (March 22, 2019). "The 'kamikaze candidate' continues to haunt Jason Kenney". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Grant, Meghan; Ward, Rachel (April 3, 2019). "Calgary judge denies bid to halt UCP 'kamikaze' campaign probe during Alberta election". CBC News. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Smith, Madeline (July 18, 2019). "Alberta election commissioner slaps UCP 'kamikaze' leadership candidate with $70,000 in fines". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "UCP denies political interference over plan to fire election commissioner". CBC News. November 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "UCP government fires election commissioner currently investigating the party | The Star". thestar.com. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Emma Graney (May 18, 2017). "Wildrose-PC members to vote on new united party July 22". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Graney, Emma. "Wildrose, Progressive Conservative parties to merge with 95% approval". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Wildrose and PC members approve unite-the-right deal with 95% voting Yes". CBC News. July 22, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Leadership Election Details". United Conservative Party. September 1, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e https://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/four-ucp-leadership-candidates-pony-up-to-enter-the-race-one-doesnt
  16. ^ Meyer, Lucas (September 8, 2017). "First UCP leadership debate to be held in Calgary". 660 News. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  17. ^ "Labour issues on tap at second United Conservative Party leadership debate". The Canadian Press. September 27, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ a b Brian Jean [@BrianJeanWRP] (July 25, 2017). "Grateful to receive 3 endorsements from @WildroseLeela, Rick Doman and Bill Sembo today. #ableg #ucp" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ a b c Wood, James (August 22, 2017). "Brian Jean picks up more MLA endorsements in UCP leadership race". Edmonton Journal. Edmonton. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  21. ^ @BrianJeanAB (August 4, 2017). "Thank you to my friend @dhansonwrp for your #ucp endorsement this morning. I'm so proud of the team we have been assembling across Alberta" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ a b c d e Brian Jean [@BrianJeanWRP] (July 26, 2017). "Humbled to receive the endorsements of my friends @dtloewen @Don_MacIntyre @TanyYao @GlennVanDijken & @RonOrrMLA #ableg #ucp" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Graney, Emma (July 23, 2017). "Thoughts turn to leadership after conservatives vote to unite". Edmonton Journal. Edmonton, Alberta. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Mazereeuw, Peter (July 26, 2017). "Alberta Tory MPs lining up behind Kenney in provincial leadership race". The Hill Times. Ottawa, Ontario. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  25. ^ @BrianJeanAB (August 4, 2017). "Thanks to Lac La Biche Mayor Omer Moghrabi for his support in my bid to become #ucp leader. Our team is working hard to win over Albertans" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i https://www.brianjean.ca/
  27. ^ James Wood (October 25, 2017). "Jean and Kenney unveil endorsements". Calgary Herald. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  28. ^ White, Ryan (July 29, 2017). "Jason Kenney declares intent to lead United Conservative Party". CTV Calgary. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  29. ^ @DrewBarnesMLA (August 2, 2017). "I'm grateful to be able to throw my support behind a true-blue conservative! Thx for your leadership and for getting us to this point! #ucp" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ a b c d https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/912461478187253760
  31. ^ a b c Logan, Shawn (September 20, 2017). "Trio of MLAs endorse Jason Kenney in UCP leadership bid". Calgary Herald. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  32. ^ @jkenney (August 2, 2017). "Honoured to receive the support of Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter & dozens of local #UCP members at a whistlestop in #Cardston!" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ a b c Wood, James (September 13, 2017). "'Endorsement' backfires on UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean". Calgary Sun. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  34. ^ Jason Kenney [@jkenney] (August 5, 2017). "Grateful to receive the endorsement of Drayton Valley-Devon MLA Mark Smith. Great turnout in Drayton on 12 hours notice!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ @jkenney (August 3, 2017). "Thank-you to veteran Drumheller-Stettler MLA & freedom-fighter Rick Strankman for his endorsement today!" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ @KerryDiotte (August 2, 2017). ".@jkenney's my pick for leader. He quit his job to make @UniteAlberta happen + succeeded. That's leadership #cdnpoli" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/911653413171060736
  39. ^ Stone, Laura (July 29, 2017). "Federal Tories predict tough fight ahead for Kenney in Alberta UCP leadership race". The Globe and Mail.
  40. ^ Jason Kenney [@jkenney] (August 20, 2017). "Wonderful time with fellow Conservatives at the farm of my friend Kevin Sorenson, Battle River-Crowfoot MP. Thanks to Kevin for his support!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Taylor, Bryan (August 1, 2017). "Viersen Endorses Kenney for UCP Leadership". Trending 55 Newsroom. Peace River, Alberta. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  42. ^ https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/912524810386731008
  43. ^ @jkenney (August 2, 2017). "Delighted to have support of #Cardston's remarkable Mayor Maggie Croenen, Parisienne, graduate of @SciencesPo & French diplomat's daughter" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  44. ^ @jkenney (August 2, 2017). "Fun whistle stop in #Taber with MLA Grant Hunter. Great to have support of Mayor Andrew Prokop. Bonus: given a sack of corn by Johnson farms" (Tweet). Retrieved August 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
  45. ^ Jason Kenney (August 2, 2017). "Jason Kenney on Twitter: "Great to have the support of former MLA & Advanced Education Minister "Gentleman" Jack Ady, and his wife Darlene. Wonderful Albertans. https://t.co/d8GeAqXr8k"". Twitter.com. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  46. ^ [1][dead link]
  47. ^ a b c d Corbella, Licia (August 5, 2017). "Corbella: UCP leadership battle one of quality". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  48. ^ "Lorne Gunter: Jason Kenney gets ringing endorsement from conservative stalwart".
  49. ^ a b https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/911713514401579008
  50. ^ Jason Kenney [@jkenney] (August 17, 2017). "Great event last night with some of our @UniteAlberta volunteers. Thanks to former MLA @jasonluan88 & so many others for their support!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  51. ^ https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/911646629698035712
  52. ^ Galbraith, Curtis (August 14, 2017). "PC-Wildrose unification needed to happen, says Moore". Q99 News. Grande Prairie, Alberta. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  53. ^ https://twitter.com/RonaAmbrose/status/923644582189043712
  54. ^ a b c d "Callaway pulls out of UCP leadership race, backs Kenney".
  55. ^ https://twitter.com/jkenney/status/911341159049445377
  56. ^ a b "Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer declares he's in the running for leadership of UCP". Calgary Herald. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  57. ^ Hampson, Kevin (September 13, 2017). "Drysdale supports Schweitzer for UCP leadership". Daily Herald-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  58. ^ "Peter Elzinga joins Doug Schweitzer for Leader of UCP Team". Dougschweitzer.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  59. ^ @doug_schweitzer (August 31, 2017). "ICYMI - great to have endorsement former CPC and Reform MP Jay Hill. Fiscal plan is most conservative and innovative. #ableg #ucp #newblue" (Tweet). Retrieved August 31, 2017 – via Twitter.
  60. ^ James Wood (October 20, 2017). "Five things about UCP leadership race". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  61. ^ @doug_schweitzer (August 2, 2017). "Excited to have Former Pres Chris Warren join our #ucp campaign. He served during Klein years and one most respected Pres history. #ableg" (Tweet). Retrieved August 2, 2017 – via Twitter.
  62. ^ James Wood (July 3, 2017). "United Conservative Party leadership candidates pitch policies". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  63. ^ "Former Wildrose president Jeff Callaway running for UCP Leader".
  64. ^ a b Wood, James (July 9, 2017). "UCP leadership race heating up during Stampede". Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  65. ^ "Statement from Fildebrandt on UCP Leadership & Policy Development". DerekFildebrandt.ca. August 8, 2017. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  66. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/paul-hinman-ucp-leader-alberta-1.4284949