Former premier Jason Kenney resigns his seat in Alberta's legislature

Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from his seat effective immediately.   ((Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) - image credit)
Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from his seat effective immediately. ((Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) - image credit)

Jason Kenney, the former leader of the UCP who served as Alberta's 18th premier until last month, has announced he is resigning from his seat as the MLA for Calgary-Lougheed effective immediately.

"A different government is in place, and the next election will occur in a few months," Kenney wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

"So after a great deal of reflection and consultation, I have concluded that now is the best time for me to step aside as MLA."

Kenney said that he was proud to have led a government that delivered on the majority of its election commitments, but said that now is the right time for him to step away from public office after 25 years in elected politics, including as a federal MP.

He also wrote to the speaker of the legislature to inform him of his decision.

In his public statement, Kenney said he believes Canada and Alberta are, in many ways, the envy of the world. But he also expressed his wariness about the current state of politics.

"I am concerned that our democratic life is veering away from ordinary prudential debate towards a polarization that undermines our bedrock institutions and principles," he wrote.

"From the far left we see efforts to cancel our history, delegitimize our historically grounded institutions and customs, and divide society dangerously along identity lines.

"And from the far right we see a vengeful anger and toxic cynicism which often seeks to tear things down, rather than build up and improve our imperfect institutions."

Kenney, 54, was the premier of Alberta and the leader of the UCP from 2019 to 2022. In May, he announced his resignation from the premiership after winning a leadership review narrowly by 51.4 per cent.

In October, UCP voters tapped Danielle Smith to succeed him.

Prior to leading the UCP, Kenney was the last leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party that merged with the Wildrose Party to form the UCP.

Before becoming a figure in Alberta's provincial politics, Kenney had served as an MP and was a cabinet minister when Stephen Harper was prime minister.

He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 for the Reform Party.

Timing of resignation

Kenney's decision to resign came on the day that Premier Danielle Smith's government tabled the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act.

One political watcher said Kenney's announcement appears to highlight his disapproval of the current premier's decisions and of the direction that politics are headed in.

"He could've delivered this resignation at any time, the fact that he did it immediately after the unveiling of the sovereignty act, I don't think is coincidental," said Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams.

"He didn't want to be associated with looking as though he wanted to be endorsing any of this … clearly, he has not supported Danielle Smith."