Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney said he would not apologize for calling out “dividing voices” on Friday, when he spoke of a leaked audio recording in which he took aim at so-called “crazy people” who were “trying to take over the hospital.” soul.”
CBC News reports Thursday that Kenney said the United Conservative Party was besieged by extremist elements, including homophobes and religious bigots, who were seeking a hostile takeover by ousting him in an upcoming leadership review.
The personal statements he made to his staff were secretly recorded earlier this week, then leaked to CBC.
On Friday, during the funding announcement for STARS Air Ambulance, Kenney said he supported his plan to hear the party’s will in an upcoming leadership review, but he would remain in place to keep the UCP from cracking.
The prime minister said he was seeing more and more voices from the political fringes of Alberta which he called extreme.
“While I worked so hard for three years to help build the United Conservative Party, I committed that it would be a mainstream party that reflected mainstream Albertans values, and that we would not allow this type of fire lake incident which we have seen in conservative politics in the province in the past.”
Kenney said his comments came amid racist and violent comments from people involved with the party, protests outside politicians’ homes and divisions on social media fueled by conspiracy theories.
Kenney describes himself as the solution: Professor of political science
Kenney said he was the right man for the top job because he led the party unity process from the start.
“He described himself as the solution to the problem he contributed to and I think a lot of UCP members didn’t think he was the solution. They really thought he was the problem,” said Lori Williams, a professor of political science at Mount Royal University.
“The reality is there are some people who are extremists, but that doesn’t mean the majority of people are against Jason Kenney.”
Williams said there are MLAs who appear to believe in questionable matters or associate themselves with questionable actions, but said if Kenney described the party itself or the MLA itself as extreme, “then why would he want to lead them or how does he plan to lead? they?”
Williams said the big challenge for the party was that it started out as two separate parties, so there was tension and division. He also said the MLA and constituent associations felt that they were not being heard.
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