Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Federal opposition parties are promising to keep fighting to get to the bottom of the WE controversy despite what they describe as Liberal threats and stonewalling. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Federal opposition parties are promising to keep fighting to get to the bottom of the WE controversy despite what they describe as Liberal threats and stonewalling. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Michelle Rempel Garner considering UCP leadership run

OTTAWA — Michelle Rempel Garner, a longtime Conservative MP from Calgary, says she’s stepping back from the federal Conservative leadership race to consider running for Jason Kenney’s job.

Rempel Garner was serving as co-chair on Patrick Brown’s leadership campaign when Kenney stunned many last month by announcing he was resigning as premier of Alberta and leader of the United Conservative Party after narrowly surviving a leadership review.

Rempel Garner’s name soon started to circulate as a potential successor to Kenney.

She confirmed on Twitter she has been encouraged to run and is giving “serious consideration” to mounting a UCP leadership bid.

Rempel Garner says she will step back from the federal Conservative leadership race to focus her attention on a potential leadership run.

“I will make my decision based on the conversations I have with the people I represent — Albertans.”

In his own statement on Twitter, Brown thanked Rempel Garner for contributing to his campaign and wished her well in her deliberations.

Announcing that Rempel Garner, who was first elected in 2011, would serve as one of his national campaign co-chairs was seen by some to be a key get for Brown, whose political roots lie in Ontario.

Her departure follows a decision by two MPs to forgo their endorsement of Brown and instead back his main rival, longtime Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre.

At the time, a spokesman for Brown’s campaign brushed off the decision by Ontario MPs Kyle Seeback and Dan Muys to switch sides, saying they only represent two votes.

A spokesman has not yet responded to a question of whether Brown will name a replacement to the role Rempel Garner filled as a campaign co-chair.