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Michelle Rempel Garner ‘seriously considering’ Alberta UCP leadership bid

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Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner says she is ‘seriously considering’ a UCP leadership bid. 

In a Twitter thread on Wednesday night, Rempel Garner said she has been encouraged to seek the leadership of the party, and as such will no longer be participating in the federal Conservative leadership race.

Rempel Garner’s comments come nearly a month after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced his intention to resign as UCP leader last month, though he is staying on until a new leader is chosen.

“I owe it to Albertans to give this critical decision my full and complete attention,” wrote Rempel Garner. 

Rempel Garner was co-chair of Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s campaign for the federal Conservative leadership.

“I owe it to Albertans to give this critical decision my full and complete attention,” wrote Rempel Garner. 

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

The Twitter announcement marks Rempel Garner’s first public comment in relation to the race after being heavily rumoured to announce her candidacy.

Rempel Garner is a well-known political presence in Calgary who’s far-reaching platform includes both strong support for LGBTQ rights and gun ownership. 

She was also one of just two remaining MPs supporting Brown’s bid for the federal Conservative leadership campaign.

Bid for ‘bigger splash,’ says pollster 

Political commentator and pollster Janet Brown said Rempel Garner’s one-foot-in approach to announcing her bid could be a strategy to assess her support base. 

“She’s probably trying to build a little bit of excitement, get some people to step out and speak in her favour … and if she does decide to run, maybe she’ll have a bigger splash because because she built up the suspense a bit.”

Brown said Rempel Garner’s withdrawal from Brown’s federal leadership bid could undermine his ballot hopes.

“[It’s] a big blow to him. He already lost support from a couple other MLAs earlier this week and it may really signal almost the official end of his campaign,” said Brown.

Moderate on social policies

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said that Rempel Garner, as a federal politician, carries a degree of baggage. Both Jim Prentice — a former federal Conservative cabinet minister — and Kenney, also a high-profile Conservative cabinet member, struggled in the provincial realm.

Prentice, who led Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party, lost to Rachel Notley’s NDP in 2015.

Still, Bratt believes Rempel Garner would have support as a candidate.

“She’s moderate on social policies, but also signed the Buffalo Declaration. So we’ll have to see.”

Kenney resigned last month after earning 51.4 per cent support in a leadership review. He plans to stay on as premier until the party chooses a new leader in October.

There are currently eight other candidates who have formally entered the provincial leadership race:

  • Calgary MLA Rebecca Schulz
  • Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Travis Toews
  • Media personality and former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith
  • Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA and former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean
  • Former UCP social services and transportation minister Rajan Sawhney
  • Former UCP culture, multiculturalism and status of women minister Leela Aheer
  • Independent MLA Todd Loewen
  • Amisk mayor and past Wildrose candidate Bill Rock

 



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