Premier Jason Kenney has announced he will resign as leader of the United Conservative Party after receiving only 51% support from party members. This comes as the result of significant turmoil within his government and party, dating back to a year ago when Kenney became the least popular premier in Canada.
Kenney’s departure is a deliverance. As premier, he made AUPE members’ lives miserable by killing our jobs and attacking the public services we proudly provide for Albertans. He also cost some Albertans their lives through these very actions, including his callous mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Albertans who suffered under his premiership can take heart in his collapse.
However, while many Albertans are celebrating his resignation, AUPE’s Committee on Political Action warns members that his replacement will continue this government’s destructive ideological agenda. Much of the conflict and criticism Kenney faced within his party came from those who wanted him to make even larger cuts or who somehow thought he took the pandemic too seriously.
The government’s budgets will continue cutting public services. The Ministry of Health is still in the midst of firing 11,000 front-line health care workers. Environment and Parks Minister and Kenney’s right-hand-man, Jason Nixon, still wants to blemish the Rocky Mountains with open-pit coal mines.
Furthermore, only one day after announcing his resignation, Kenney and his UCP colleagues decided to keep him in charge until their party chooses a new leader. Fantasies of Kenney’s immediate departure are too good to be true.
There is no indication the UCP government will change its philosophy of governing.
Regardless of what happens next, AUPE members must be on their guard. We are still facing numerous cuts and injustices thrust upon us by the provincial government, and Jason Kenney’s resignation will not stop that. We must work together, with all our strength and solidarity, to stand up for what’s right no matter which politician and political party is in power.