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Senator Scott Tannas will not seek Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership

CALGARY — An Alberta senator says he doesn’t have what it would take to turn around the fortunes of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

Scott Tannas said last week he was considering whether to take a run at the party leadership, but wanted to hear what Albertans thought. They told him it would be a very gruelling, uphill climb.

“I just felt that I didn’t have the heart that was needed for the job that is ahead,” Tannas said Monday.

“It is going to be a difficult, difficult task, in my view, to undertake all of the things that occur in that job. You have party renewal. There is no question that there is a real appetite amongst Albertans to see real change in government. There are folks that have been there a long time that need to go.”

Alberta Tory party members are to vote Sept. 6 for a successor to Alison Redford, who resigned as premier March 23.

Tannas said the next leader will need to have a special mix of management and communication skills, plus lots of energy, vision and humility.

Tannas, who was appointed to the Senate last year, said the leader will also need overwhelming passion to perform the job in a tremendously challenging atmosphere.

He said his friend, Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes, who is openly considering whether to run, is someone to watch.

There are other quality people kicking the party leadership tires, but he declined to say who.

To date no one has announced their candidacy.

Party officials don’t expect to set the official opening date of the campaign for another week or so.

“PC Alberta is working to complete the full suite of leadership election rules as soon as reasonably practicable,” party president Jim McCormick said in a email.

The party is going ahead with $500 per plate party leader’s dinners in Edmonton and Calgary in early May — major fundraising events.

PC Alberta said the party is still determining if these events will feature declared leadership candidates.

Tannas said whoever decides to pay the required $50,000 dollar non-refundable fee to run better have deep pockets to fund their campaign. He suggested a $1 million war chest would be a good idea.

Thick skin and plenty of stamina will also be a must.

“There is definitely a big renewal process that needs to occur in the government. You’ve got a dynamic province that needs attention every single day. You’ve got an atmosphere where you are the chief javelin catcher for everybody that is throwing stuff your way,” Tannas said.

“You need to have the passion to leap out of bed every morning and go take that on and quite frankly, after reflection, I sincerely felt there were others who would have more passion, more energy than me.”

 
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