Alberta MLA Rodney says giving up seat for Kenney was his idea

The MLA who is stepping aside so Jason Kenney can run for his Calgary seat says he was not offered a deal to resign.

Dave Rodney officially gave up his seat Wednesday after Kenney won the United Conservative Party leadership on Saturday. That opens the door for Kenney to run in the Calgary-Lougheed riding in a byelection.

Rodney, who was first elected as a Progressive Conservative in 2004, maintains that stepping aside was actually his idea.

“We touched on the topic very, very briefly eight months ago, four months ago. We talked about it on Friday — we only decided Saturday,” Rodney told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show Wednesday morning. “(For those who) think that this has been orchestrated, that there’s some kind of deal, I can tell you unequivocally and with great conscience that there is nothing like that, and I’m taking a bit of a leap of faith here.”

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Rodney says he first mentioned the idea to Kenney after he won the PC leadership, and they agreed to pick up the conversation after the summer.

“He said, ‘Let’s wait, let’s see how the campaign goes,'” Rodney told the Jespersen Show. “I’m not making any of this up, Ryan. (At) 12:10 p.m. Friday, he gave me a call and he asked, ‘You know, those conversations we had eight and four months ago? Should we maybe take a look at that, maybe tomorrow over lunch?’ So, my friend, it was election day on Saturday when we decided it may be the best for the province.”

READ MORE: New UCP leader Jason Kenney will seek legislature seat in Calgary by-election

Rodney also responded to critics who think he’s leaving because his progressive views clash with Kenney’s.

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“That’s interesting. I did it because it was the right thing to do. That might sound cliche or cute or coy, but it’s not. It’s just reality. I really, really believe in Jason Kenney and the vision and reality that he can bring to our province.”

After 15 years in the legislature, Rodney is not sure what’s next for him. But with a background in business and humanitarian work, as well as twice climbing to the summit of Mount Everest, he is confident he will find something to do.

READ MORE: Jason Kenney wins United Conservative Party leadership

“I’ve heard the words resign, retire, step down,” Rodney said. “I prefer step aside because those who know me well know that I have always subscribed to the notion that if I happen to be the best candidate for the job, well, then please work beside me, but if you’re the best candidate for the job, could I please be the first to work beside you?”

A byelection for Calgary-Lougheed has not yet been called by Premier Rachel Notley. The next provincial election is expected in 2019.

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