PHOTOS: Members of the Progressive Conservative Party executive get ready to send Jason Kenney down the old skid road. … Actual Tory executive members may not appear exactly as described in some publications. Below: Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid and PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney.

“Faced with the end of their party, PCs ponder kicking out Jason Kenney,” the Calgary Herald blared yesterday.

The author of this scoop – and if his story is right, it’s undeniably a major scoop – is Don Braid, the Herald’s political columnist for many years.

Mr. Braid’s claim in a nutshell is that now with it looking increasingly as if Mr. Kenney will win the race to lead the Alberta Tories with relative ease – thanks to what the columnist called “his organization, money and bloodthirsty will to prevail” – Tory insiders on the party’s board may give him the bum’s rush for planning to destroy the party.

“The fight for the old party is no longer political,” Mr. Braid wrote. “It’s existential.”

True enough, as far as it goes. And let’s not sell Mr. Braid short. He’s a good reporter. He’s covered politics in Alberta for many years. Like all of us, he gets things wrong, but he’s right a lot more often than not. He’s got good sources, and he works them hard. So we can’t rule out the possibility he’s uncovered a major story.

Still, I’m afraid that this time I just can’t see the scenario he’s reporting unfolding as described.

There are too many reasons at this point for Alberta’s hapless Tories not to act.

The right time for them to have dumped Mr. Kenney was when rolled out his campaign last summer. It was perfectly clear from Day 1 what the former Harper Government cabinet minister had in mind: a double reverse hostile takeover of the PC Party and then the Wildrose, in which the two would be rolled into a single party much more like the far-right Opposition than the former government.

“The Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties must put Alberta first,” Mr. Kenney told his supporters the day he launched his campaign. “We must come together to form a single free-enterprise party and we must do so before the next election. …

“That is why I’ve decided to seek the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, seeking an explicit mandate: to unite with the Wildrose Party and all like-minded Albertans so we can defeat the NDP.” (Emphasis added.)

So you can dislike Mr. Kenney’s policy ideas and his social conservative leanings, as I do, and you can even dislike him personally, as a lot of folks seem to, but you can hardly accuse the man of being sneaky about his intentions!

Would die-hard party traditionalists who lacked the moral courage to tell Mr. Kenney he couldn’t run when they had every reason to do so suddenly discover the fortitude they needed last July now that he’s about to win? They just rolled with this, and now they’re going to put the knife in?

Are there even any die-hard PC traditionalists – adherents of the progressive part of Progressive Conservatism, Red Tories ready to welcome other progressives to their big tent – even left in that party?

Nothing would be more entertaining to watch for those of us who enjoy the blood sport of politics, so I sincerely hope Mr. Braid is right. However, surely nothing is less likely to happen!

My prediction: Mr. Kenney will win the PC leadership race on the first ballot on March 18 in Calgary.

Yes, a lot of traditional Tories are unhappy with his plans and ideas. But Mr. Kenney for all practical purposes already controls their party. It’s all over but the tears. Plus the search for a new political home for many progressive conservatives, of course.

Jason Kenney will get a tougher fight from Brian Jean, the leader of the Wildrose Party, than he will from the demoralized PCs.

Remember what we used to say about newspapers back in the day when they were still the main source of news? Don’t bet the family hotdog stand on something you read in a newspaper!

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  1. Mr. Braid has made an astute observation, just as you have cause for your trepidation. The walking wounded that struggle to prop up what remains of the PC’s, have been inflicted so many daggers that they resemble the political equivalent of a porcupine. Wild-eyed Wildrosers lurk in shadows, daggers in both hands, driven by a blood lust of politcal hyenas.

    So you are both right. The wounded are huddled in their trenches pondering the prospect of being dragged away one piece at the time before the cackle swarms. They are not certain if they will bleed to death before they are an open buffet. They also know that surrendering is worse than succumbing. Maybe they are clinging to the last vestiges of their integrity, maybe they have one last round left in them?

  2. “Are there even any die-hard PC traditionalists – adherents of the progressive part of Progressive Conservatism, Red Tories ready to welcome other progressives to their big tent – even left in that party?”

    Personally, I would think quite a few, namely because the hard right members have migrated to the Wildrose, especially after 2015 when the Wildrose took on more influence politically. The exception would be the actual politicians, like Ric McIver, who remain because it is in their best interest to do so, and members personally loyal to said politicians. A significant part of the rest of the true party membership, however, must be progressive. I used the phrase ‘true party’ to exclude Jason Kenney’s minions who who joined just to support Mr. Kenney. Those people had to put their thumb over the word ‘progressive’ before they could bring themselves to sign their registration form.

  3. Best line from Braid’s article.

    “Leadership candidates are supposed to promote the best interests of the party. Arguably, abolishing the party doesn’t quite meet that standard.”

  4. Pity the luckless Alberta taxpayer in this mess.

    All that Jason Kenney cares about is gaining power. Power over the party and power over the Province.

    All that the Alberta Conservative Party excecutive care about is getting rid of that burr called Kenney, regaining power , and securing the position of favouratism for themselves and their supporters. Back to the good old days before Redford screwed it up or them…or so they think.

    The Alberta taxpayer does not even enter the equation. And the public knows it. It is just that the sycophants on both teams have not broken the news to them yet.

    1. Jason Kenney is a carpetbagger and a chickenhawk: a slick huckster From Away looking to fill his belly and his pockets at our expense by exploiting the lust for power of a mad few who think they’ve been denied their patrimony.

  5. I can remember when I was much younger voting for Ralph Klein as leader over Nancy Betkowski, then I voted for Ed Stelmach instead of Jim Dinning, after Ed I had nothing to do with the PC’s as I didn’t agree with their lack of control on spending. Fast forward to today, if Jason Kenney wins the PC’s in their present form will cease to exist, if they kick Jason Kenney out of the leadership race the PC’s will cease to relevant in my opinion. It is a tough question for those at the helm of the PC’s, they are facing a no win situation. As for Albertan’s, polling clearly points to the desire for one party!

    1. If one looks at the political spectrum honestly, the conclusion has to be that the centre right and centre left (fiscal and social policies malleable) is where the majority of votes are with the third highest, being social conservative right. The best solution for Alberta voters is proportional rep. That way if the PC and WR decide to run a control hand, they can. If a phony like Jason Kenney manages to kill the centrist PC, he’ll regret it. Better we take the drama out of our politicians for awhile.

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