Don Braid: Jason Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership with promise to unite the right— now comes the hard part

By a huge majority, Alberta Progressive Conservatives voted Saturday to dive into uncertain waters, with Jason Kenney at the helm.

The former federal minister campaigned for eight months, grabbed an unfamiliar delegate selection system by the lapels, and shook free 1,113 votes of 1,476 ballots cast at the weekend convention.

That was good for 75 per cent of the total vote — a thumping victory for Kenney’s agenda of unity between his party and Wildrose, the official opposition to the NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley.

The convention was marked by more passion than I’ve seen at a PC gathering in many years. The stakes were so high; both a new leader and a new future for conservatism and Alberta itself.

Kenney declared “springtime in Alberta,” but the road to union will not be any lighthearted stroll through the daffodils.

The PC campaign was fraught with controversy, claims of thuggishness on Kenney’s part, similar countercharges from him, and powerful emotions from what one delegate described as “a civil war.”