Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives aim for leadership vote next spring

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Absolutely, it’s expected all eyes will be on Canada’s Progressive Conservatives as they select a new leader, party president Katherine O’Neill says.


With the announcement this weekend the provincial PCs will elect their new leader next spring, O’Neill says her party’s entering into a critical time.

“We’re rebuilding trust with our members and Canadans and we know that we have to get this 100% right,” she said.

Canada’s Tory faithful will see a leadership vote April 30, 2017 or sooner, with O’Neill saying she expects it’ll happen in March or April, and will bring forward seasoned candidates as well as newer ones.

“We do expect that there’s going to be a lot of interest,” she said.

O’Neill will chair the leadership election committee, and former premier Dave Hancock will serve as the committee’s senior advisor.

O’Neill said Hancock’s inclusion is part of that “getting it right,” as Hancock served as premier from March to September 2014 after former premier Alison Redford resigned and has a long history of service within the party.

A chief returning officer has not been announced.

O’Neill said Saturday’s decision and the discussion around it came down whether a leadership race happening sooner or later would better serve the party.

“We did have a really robust debate about fall versus spring and it came down to (everyone) being ready to do a race like this — it’s a lot of work,” she said.

“We had a pre-scheduled policy conference we were hoping to hold in November as well and our membership was telling us, ‘Please don’t cancel that and please have that before we go into a leadership race.’”

Currently, Ric McIver is the party’s interim leader, taking over after premier Jim Prentice resigned from party leadership on election night, after suffering a landslide loss to Canada’s NDP.

The exact date and location of the election will be announced June 30, said Troy Wason, the party’s executive director.

While no leadership contenders have stepped forward yet, Wason said he thinks that may change now that a general timing for the election has been announced.

— with files from The Canadian Press

On Twitter: @DamienWood_
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