FILE - Brian Jean and Jason Kenney announce a unity deal between the Wildrose Party and the Alberta PC, in Edmonton, on May 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

FILE - Brian Jean and Jason Kenney announce a unity deal between the Wildrose Party and the Alberta PC, in Edmonton, on May 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Brian Jean faces a battle he may not win, says Red Deer supporter

‘All of these infringements, and all of this activism, is a result of failure of leadership’

A local Brian Jean supporter says it’s unfortunate that the newly elected MLA’s efforts to become leader of the UCP likely won’t be enough to land him the job.

“I think it’s already stacked (against Brian Jean). I think it’s already virtually a done deal,” said former Red Deer city councillor Buck Buchanan.

“Kenney is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.”

Brian Jean, the co-founder of the governing United Conservative Party and former leader of the Wildrose Party, won the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection on Tuesday.

Now Jean is focused on taking over as leader of the UCP, and making sure Kenney is defeated at the party’s scheduled leadership review in Red Deer on April 9.

“I had great hopes for Jason Kenney. I left politics thinking I left it in great hands. (Kenney is) an amazing talker, but not a great decision maker and now here we are. We need to expect better from our politicians,” said Jean in a Facebook video after winning the byelection.

“All of these infringements, and all of this activism, is a result of failure of leadership. That’s why leadership in the UCP needs to change.”

Related:

UCP candidate Brian Jean wins Alberta byelection in landslide

Anything less than a majority vote in support of Kenney at the leadership review would result in a contest to pick a new leader.

People must vote in-person, and both sides have been actively recruiting partisans to cast a yes or no for Kenney’s leadership.

The premier has characterized the vote as not so much a referendum on his performance but rather a proxy war waged by extremist elements looking to hijack the mainstream UCP coalition created when Kenney’s Progressive Conservatives and Jean’s Wildrose Party agreed to join forces in 2017.

Related:

Outcome of Tuesday’s byelection a lose-lose for Alberta premier: political scientists

Jean lost the leadership of the UCP when it was created in 2017 to Kenney in a vote stained by accusations of secret deals, colluding candidates and fraud.

Buchanan said he has always liked Jean. What happened during the first leadership race was not right, and it would not have been pleasant for Jean if he had hung around.

“(Kenney’s) got his inner sanctum and that’s pretty well known. If you’re in, you’re in, and if you’re on the outside looking in, you’re definitely on the outside.”

Buchanan said he will attend the leadership review, but doesn’t have high hopes that the divided party can be repaired.

“We’ve got Conservatives over in that corner and Conservatives over in the other corner and they continuously want to fight with each other.

“I guess what will be, will be.”

— with files from The Canadian Press



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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