01/20/2014 04:47 EST | Updated 03/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Len Webber, Calgary MLA, Looks To Make The Leap To Federal Politics

CALGARY - A member of the Alberta government is hoping to make the jump to federal politics.

Len Webber, member of the legislature for Calgary Foothills, says he will seek the Conservative nomination in the newly created federal riding of Calgary Confederation.

"I'm not here to announce a retirement from politics," Webber, 53, said Monday to laughter from his supporters.

"I'm here to announce it is time to step it up ... to grow the scope of my work and expand the range of causes I represent from beyond those that matter in Calgary and Alberta to the causes and issues that matter from coast to coast to coast in this great country of Canada."

Webber, who supported Gary Mar in the 2011 Progressive Conservative leadership race, said his satisfaction level with the current leadership of Premier Alison Redford had nothing to do with his decision.

"Absolutely not," he said. "I still have work to do as a provincial MLA and I will continue to do that. I have many, many friends up in Edmonton and they are supporting me, but I'm ready to move on to the national scale."

Webber said he plans to run a positive campaign, free from ideological labels.

"No blue or red Tories here. That stuff doesn’t matter federally. Because there is just one Conservative Party of Canada united under a sensible platform and the solid leadership of Stephen Harper, with voters who don’t care about labels."

Webber acknowledged he didn't give Redford, who has been on a trade mission to India, a heads-up about his plans.

"The premier's been away," he said. "I have not had an opportunity to talk to her."

Asked about whether she'll ask Webber to step down from the provincial caucus, Redford said she wouldn't.

"There's certainly no requirement that he step down, and I wouldn't ask him to," she said in a conference call from Switzerland.

"There are clear rules in place under the Elections Act with respect to that and I expect that any MLA that does decide to pursue a nomination will follow those rules."

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