Katherine O’Neill announced Friday she is stepping down as president of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (PCAA).
It comes less than a month after Jason Kenney became leader of the Alberta PC party on a campaign to unite with the Wildrose Party.
“I’ve been working flat out for the past two years and quite frankly, I’m just exhausted,” O’Neill told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen. “You know, we’ve got a new leader in place. I feel like I’ve helped with that transition and now is the time to take a step back and let somebody else do the heavy lifting.”
O’Neill added she is parting ways knowing that she’s left the party “in good hands.”
The now former PCAA leader said she is heading back to work after an extended maternity leave and looks forward to spending more time with her three young children.
She added she is simply taking a break and is not finished with politics.
“Politics is in my blood. You’ll hear from me again.”
O’Neill did comment on the recent controversy around gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in Alberta schools. She did not specifically call out comments from Kenney or Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, but said governments should “always protect the most vulnerable in society.”
O’Neill said Kenney’s comments on GSAs—that parents should be told when their child joins one of these groups—did not factor into her decision.
Instead O’Neill spoke about the economy, saying it’s a “very serious time in our province” and encouraged Albertans who haven’t done so already to get involved in politics.
“For those people who don’t know where they should go, start asking questions. Have very difficult conversations with the people in the political party that interests you. Find your home and get to work.”