In November, I was incredibly proud to launch my Modern Conservative Movement and run for leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. My team of supporters and I were excited to join a race based on ideas, values and a vision the future of our party and province.
I entered this leadership race because there has been an obvious leadership vacuum in our party since May 2015 and I believed that we could do politics better than we have in the past. Albertans were telling me that they wanted a leader and a party that reflected values that were important to them. Modern Conservative values: maintaining fiscal responsibility while embracing modern and progressive social values.
I believe the majority in our province share those values, and I have built a coalition of Albertans whose voice I have been proud to represent. Pragmatic, modern conservatives who gave us their time and energy because they too believe in these longstanding and fundamental principles of the PC Party. I still strongly believe in those values.
I was confident that this race would be one of ideas and hope for Alberta’s future and I expected it to be a well-run and principled campaign. Instead, it has devolved into vitriol, anger and division. As such, I can no longer participate in this race in good conscience, nor ask my family, volunteers and supporters to do the same on my behalf.
We have seen the reputation of the PC Party damaged so badly over the course of this campaign that our credibility may be beyond repair. More concerning, we have seen volunteers, organizers, leadership candidates, members of the Board of Directors, our party President and even some PC caucus members harassed and threatened. It is clear that there is no room in this race for competing ideas and we have seen more anger and division in the last 3 months than in the half-century legacy of this party.
As I step down, I know other candidates in this leadership race will carry on the fight. I will remain a proud member and volunteer with the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. Going forward, I will put my support behind Richard Starke and I would ask my supporters to do the same.
I will forever be humbled by the support my Modern Conservative Movement gained over the past few months. To those who donated funds, their time or their ideas, I truly am grateful. This race has not been the arena for our ideas and values, but know that we will always work hard to do politics differently. As the youngest electorate in Canada, Albertans are demanding that we do. I’ve said many times, that Albertans rejected the politics of intolerance, entitlement and arrogance in 2015 and they will again in 2019.
While many will be disappointed by this news, I want to encourage you to continue your involvement in politics and your commitment to our province — it is more important than ever. I still strongly believe in my conviction — it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you pray, what you look like or who you love. If you work hard — you are an Albertan. You belong here.