Jason Kenney arrives at an event announcing he will be seeking the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservative, July 6. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)But now they'll leave the federal scene for Alberta, taking with them the tactics, the political savvy and, most importantly, thousands of contacts Kenney built up over 20 years serving in Ottawa. "He has supporters from across Canada who will want to help him succeed in Alberta, which will draw some talent and money away from the national party in the short term," said his former cabinet colleague James Moore, once rumoured to have leadership aspirations of his own. Kenney is a workhorse widely recognized for his drive in building Conservative party relationships with Canada's cultural communities. One of the reasons he was once considered the presumptive next leader of the federal party was due to his perceived head-and-shoulders lead over other potential candidates among this key voting block. It's there that his departure opens a door for other would-be leaders, said Jason Lietaer, a party strategist.
Jason Kenney asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, May 12. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)"That's the race now: To try to capitalize on the vacuum in those communities where Mr. Kenney made inroads for the first time in a long time for a Conservative politics — the first time ever in many cases — and to try to get involved in those communities and fill that vacuum." That could be difficult for current candidate and MP Kellie Leitch, whose name remains associated with her controversial 2015 election campaign announcement of a "barbaric cultural practices" tip line. But candidate and MP Michael Chong, whose stump speech begins with a story about being the child of immigrant parents, could shift easily into the space vacated by Kenney's departure. And for Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, also running, Kenney's absence will provide some economic policy elbow room. Both Bernier and Kenney like to trumpet free market capitalism.
Several others considering leadership bid
Kevin O'Leary still undecided
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