ALBERTA

Ron Liepert Blames Conservative Party Management For Failed Campaign

10/22/2015 06:52 EDT | Updated 10/22/2015 06:59 EDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ronald 'Ron' Liepert, Alberta's minister of energy, pauses during an interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. Alberta is home to the world's third-largest reserves of crude in addition to coal and natural gas, and has almost 1 gigawatt of installed wind-power capacity, the most in Canada. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Newly elected Alberta MP Ron Liepert waited just days after the election before bashing the way his Conservative party ran the federal campaign.

Liepert, who was interviewed on CBC's "As It Happens" on Wednesday, said the Tories had strayed off message, and put the blame squarely on the party's campaign manager, Jenni Byrne.

Liepert told host Carol Off that his first meeting with Byrne was "unpleasant" and that her departure would be "a good first step."

Byrne butted heads with other party members during the campaign, reported Jennifer Ditchburn of The Canadian Press, and was even seen packing up her office days before the election. She was not in Calgary at the Tory headquarters on election night.

Liepert, who was elected in Calgary Signal Hill, also elaborated on his feelings about Byrne with the Calgary Herald's Don Braid:

“It started well before the campaign when Jenni Byrne kind of blows into town and she and I get into a 15-minute shouting match, because she was crawling all over us candidates about things in Calgary, about how concerned she was, because things apparently weren’t good in Calgary.

"It just went from there. It was the most inappropriate conversation I’ve ever had with somebody who’s running a campaign, and I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who run campaigns, for 35 years.”

Liepert is not the only one blaming Byrne for the problems.

A "high-placed Conservative source" told The Canadian Press that much of the campaign was "an epic failure" because of Byrne.

"While it's ultimately the prime minister's fault because he allowed Jenni to have that role, it is inexcusable that she had four years to prepare for this campaign and was simply wholly unprepared," said the source, speaking to Ditchburn on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal party matters.

jenni byrne Jenni Byrne was a campaign chair for the Conservatives during the 2015 federal election. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Guy Giorno, Harper's national campaign chair, said in a series of tweets that the criticism was "unfair and unprofessional."


Giorno noted that while there were differences of opinion between him and Byrne, he was not about to let her take the fall.

Outgoing Edmonton MP Laurie Hawn says the fault with the party's campaign might lie at the top.

"The prime minister was our greatest asset, for many people, but he was also our greatest liability with many people," Hawn told CBC News.

During his concession speech on election night, Harper said he had "no regrets" over the way his campaign was run.

The Tories lost 67 seats and will be in debt after the election, according to The Canadian Press' anonymous source.

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