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Calgary MLA Rebecca Schulz enters UCP leadership race

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Calgary-Shaw MLA Rebecca Schulz is the latest Alberta politician to enter the growing race for leadership of the United Conservative Party. Tom Vernon reports. – Jun 14, 2022

Calgary-Shaw MLA Rebecca Schulz is entering the race for leadership of Alberta’s United Conservative Party.

Schulz threw her hat into the race with an announcement in Calgary Tuesday afternoon.

“I am happy to be here today to announce that I’m running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party,” Schulz said.

“My first and foremost goal if I have the honour of leading this great party is uniting our party and defeating the NDP in the next election … I will do everything possible to make sure this province does not go backwards with the NDP.

“It is time to get Alberta back on track. We don’t need a conservative leader for the next election. We need a strong conservative leader for the next generation. We need to get Alberta conservatives on the same page where freedom, a strong economy and fiscal responsibility are at the heart of our party.”

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Schulz was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 2019 and had been serving as minister of Children’s Services ever since.

Read more: New Alberta UCP leader to be elected on Oct. 6

Schulz is the third member of Premier Jason Kenney’s cabinet to throw their name into the running for UCP leadership. Late last month, former Finance minister Travis Toews stepped down from his portfolio to enter the leadership race, and on Monday, former Transportation and Community and Social Services minister Rajan Sawhney announced her intention to run.

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Rajan Sawhney announces bid for UCP leadership – Jun 13, 2022

Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon has already taken on the additional Finance portfolio in an interim capacity.

On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced that Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda will take on the additional role of acting minister of Transportation. Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan will take on the role of action minister of Children’s Services.

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In mid-May, Kenney announced his intention to step down as UCP leader after receiving 51.4 per cent support in his leadership review vote. While it was enough under party rules to remain at the helm, Kenney said that was not adequate support to continue on as party leader.

After a lengthy caucus meeting the next day, it was decided that Kenney would stay on until a new leader is chosen.

Read more: Rajan Sawhney announces bid for UCP leadership

Earlier Tuesday, the UCP announced the rules for the leadership race, which will see the new leader chosen on Oct. 6.

Candidates must pay a $150,000 non-refundable entry fee, along with $25,000 that will be returned to them as long as they don’t breach the rules.

Ballots are to be preferential and will consist of mail-in and in-person votes at five locations.

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Analyzing the UCP leadership race so far with political scientist Duane Bratt – Jun 8, 2022

Eligible candidates must also get a nomination petition signed by at least 1,000 party members from across the province.

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The deadline for the required signatures and first instalment of the entry fee is July 20.

There are now eight people in the running to replace Kenney including Schulz. Toews, Sawhney, UCP backbencher Brian Jean, former Wildrose party Leader Danielle Smith, Independent MLA Todd Loewen, Amisk Mayor Bill Rock and UCP backbencher Leela Aheer have also all announced their intentions to run for leadership of the UCP.

Schulz said it’s exciting to see four of the candidates running so far are women.

“As somebody who has continuously pushed to get more women and young people involved in Conservative politics, I think that’s exciting. This is going to be an exciting race and at the end of the day, party members are going to choose a leader who is competent, strong and can lead us into the next election.”

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