Editor’s note: Global News has redacted a portion of the recording due to allegations made which cannot be verified by Global News. In addition, comments made by Jason Kenney regarding lockdowns in Asia are not accurate. China enacted new lockdowns as early as March 14, 2022.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he spent his Christmas break seriously considering leaving his job as Alberta’s premier but he decided to stay on for the good of his party, according to an audio recording recently obtained by Global News.
In the audio recording, which was secretly recorded meeting with members of his United Conservative Party caucus staff, Kenney also said he could go into the private sector and live a “normal life.”
This comes as Kenney is currently facing a leadership review forced by members of his party dissatisfied with his performance. According to Kenney, his views towards some of the members have convinced him to fight for his job.
Below is a transcript of the leaked audio recording:
They have decided they’re going to take over the government of Alberta. Um, and that’s what’s happening here.
In a formal leadership review (inaudible) is that 1,300 hungover PCs which would wake up at a convention hotel on a Saturday morning and they’d grab a coffee and they’d stumble in to cast a ballot in the leadership review, and 75 or 80 per cent would vote for the leader… and 15 or y’know, 20 per cent or so, the people that didn’t get the appointment, didn’t get the funding or the premier didn’t send flowers on a birthday or whatever, they would come and vote against the leader and everything was fine.
And if that was what I was dealing with, no problem. No problem. Normal internal politics — I can handle. I can handle.
But this, nothing normal about this. People who think I’m involved in a global conspiracy to traffic children literally, literally showing up to vote on April the 9th.
So what we are trying to do, and I appreciate your support in this, is to (unclear) activate the vast majority of mainstream conservatives and just like-minded people, the two.
Because if I, you know, what’s the easiest path for me? Just to take a walk. I don’t need this job. I’m sure I could go to the private sector, and have my evenings and weekends off.
And probably be a lot more (unclear) and have a normal life, not live under bone-crushing pressure every day, not be viciously attacked, have death threats all the time.
Like I, doesn’t sound so bad to me. Uh, so why don’t I? I thought a lot about it, honestly, over Christmas, and I decided not, I decided that would be grossly irresponsible because if we were to have a leadership election in this context, it would, uh, I think permanently divide (inaudible). Hand the NDP the next election.
You can imagine (unclear) leadership candidates going out to parts of rural Alberta where these sentiments are not, you know, where these sentiments are shockingly widespread. It would toxify the party forever.
So I um, I’ve decided that, again, after long consultation, uh, with my colleagues and with others that I have to stay in this, having now to build this party to ensure that it remains a mainstream party.
And It’s not just COVID craziness by the way. Preston Manning used to say that bright light attracts a few bugs, well there’s more than a few bugs attracted to us, this party right now because of COVID and other anger.
But generally these are…I’m just going to tell you guys, I don’t say this stuff (unclear), these are just kooky people, generally. I mean, all of that noise on social media, all the chatter about these candidates that we recently screened out…
I excluded (unclear) as a candidate, and about 35 other people in the last election. All 35 of them are coming for me on April the 9th.
The the the, uh, the lunatics are trying to take over the asylum. And I’m not going to let them. I will not let that happen. I will not let this mainstream conservative party become a, uh, an agent for extreme, hateful, intolerant, bigoted and crazy views.
Sorry to be so blunt with you, but you need to understand what the stakes are here. You may not like me or my style or decisions that I’ve made, I don’t, I welcome constructive criticism.
But my, my appeal to the members is, “Look, you asked how to (unclear) move to the future, by moving (unclear) towards the future.”
COVID, we know the worst of it, I believe we have reason to believe the worst of it is behind us.
Yeah, there’s going to be more waves, the BA.2 wave that‘s in Europe and Asia is going to get us — but nobody is locking down in those societies because they don’t, because it doesn’t show up in hospitals. Um, it’s basically even apparently less pathogenic than Omicron. So we can believe that the worst of COVID is behind.