Calgary Herald: Kenney finally makes his leadership pitch to 'Unite Alberta'

The Calgary Midnapore MP is making an announcement in Calgary at noon on Wednesday and sources have confirmed he will announce a run for the leadership on a platform of unifying conservatives in the PC and Wildrose parties.

The PC party will elect a permanent leader to replace interim chief Ric McIver at a delegated convention on March 18, 2017.

But Tories at the party’s annual general meeting in May, voted to rebuild the party under the PC brand, rejecting calls to unite the right.

There are also questions on how Kenney, a staunch fiscal and social conservative, will fit with a PC party with a strong contingent of moderates and Red Tories.

Susan Elliott, campaign manager of the PCs’ successful 2012 provincial election campaign, said there’s no doubt Kenney will be the front-runner if he enters the race.

“But he will have opposition. And that opposition, I think, will be strongly held,” said Elliott.

“Let’s call this what it is. In order for him to win, he has to take over the existing party. He will be brushing aside the people, for the most part, who are holding the party together during these tough times.”

Elliott said there will be an urgency for progressives, such as herself, to find a candidate with the ability to take on Kenney and “put up an alternate vision of the party.”