Alberta: Danielle Smith winner of the Conservative Party elections

Alberta: Danielle Smith winner of Conservative party election


After five rounds of elimination, Danielle Smith won the United Conservative Party (PCU) elections on Thursday evening and thus succeeds outgoing Prime Minister Jason Kenney, who has resigned since last spring when he won accuracy of his vote of confidence. 

The kick-off was launched at 22:25. No candidate received a majority of votes in the first round. With 41.31% of the vote, Danielle Smith is in the lead while Leela Aheer is the one who received the fewest votes and will not be in the second round.

Thereafter, in turn, the candidates with the fewest votes were eliminated.

On lap two, Rajan Sawhney crashed out of the race. Then Todd Loewen in third and Rebecca Schulz in fourth. Brian Jean was defeated in the fifth round to let Travis Toews and Danielle Smith face each other.

The latter won the vote with 53.77% of the votes and 42,423 votes.

Nearly 85,000 members of the United Conservative Party voted for the leadership race and 124,000 ballots were reportedly cast.

More than 250 volunteers in the counting room count each ballot, overseen by leadership campaign tellers.

How it works

The party uses the preferential voting system, that is to say that the voters ranked all the candidates according to an order of preference.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round, the candidate who received the fewest votes is then eliminated from the race. The votes he obtained are redistributed to the others still in the running and who were listed as second choices on the ballots.

The process repeats itself until a single candidate obtains the majority of the votes.

PCU members could vote by mail from September 2 to October 3, and can do so in person Thursday until at noon, while awaiting the results scheduled for the evening to find out the next Conservative leader who will be Prime Minister-designate.

Who are the candidates?

Seven candidates were in the race to try to succeed Mr. Kenney and become prime minister-designate.

According to recent polls, Danielle Smith was able to stand out from the pack and would be one of the favorites because of her Alberta sovereignty project, which would make it possible to ignore the laws passed in Ottawa. She also dominated the electoral race by attacking the sanitary measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic by Ottawa.

First to enter the race, former finance minister Travis Toews wants to rally the party to beat Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party (NDP) in the next provincial election.

The former co-founder of the party, Brian Jean, signed his return to politics with his candidacy after resigning his seat as an MP in 2018, a few months after losing the PCU leadership race to Jason Kenney in 2017.

< p>Leela Aheer, former Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, has also decided to try her luck at the highest post in the province.

Less in the spotlight, former Minister of Children's Services Rebecca Schulz and MPs Rajan Sawhney and Todd Loewen are also in the running to become prime minister.

To validate their file, candidates had to pay a registration fee of $150,000 and a refundable deposit of $25,000 as a guarantee of good behavior. They also had to obtain 1,000 signatures from party members, with a minimum of 200 in each of the five electoral regions.

What will become of Jason Kenney?

Thursday night's election does not mark the end of Jason Kenney in politics, since he announced upon his resignation last May his wish to remain MP for the riding of Calgary-Lougheed.

Remember that the outgoing Prime Minister had won his vote of confidence in May, but only a little early, which led him to resign as party leader in order to rally the Conservatives.

Jason Kenney had been Premier of Alberta since 2019 and had served as Leader of the Opposition since 2018, after his election as leader of the United Conservative Party.

Before performing on stage provincial, he had held several ministerial positions at the federal level, notably as Minister of National Defense under the Harper government.

His handling of the COVID-19 pandemic had drawn much criticism when he decided to lift sanitary measures as of July 2021, driving the Alberta hospital system into the wall.

First round results:

– Danielle Smith: 41.3 % of votes for 34,949 votes

– Travis Toews: 29.4% of votes for 24,831 votes

– Brian Jean: 11% of votes for 9,301 votes

– Todd Loewen: 7.7% of the votes for 6,496 votes

– Rebecca Schulz: 6.9% of the votes for 5,835 votes

– Rajan Sauhney: 2.1 % of votes for 1787 votes

– Leela Aheer: 1.6% of votes for r 1394 votes