Calgary North East MLA, and former Minister of Transportation, Rajan Sawhney is ready to move forward as the next leader of the United Conservative Party.
In a campaign stop in Airdrie, her third of the day, Sawhney spoke to about 40 supporters and UCP members about her leadership bid, which would see her replace outgoing Premier and UCP leader Jason Kenney.
"I understand Alberta. Not Alberta as others want it to be, not Alberta as some others vision, but Alberta as it is," Sawhney stated. "For its glorious natural beauty, Alberta's strong frontier spirit, Alberta's ethnic and political diversity and Alberta's shared sense of purpose."
Sawhney admits, "We aren't perfect we know that. There is nowhere else we would rather live, work, and raise a family."
She played up her strong connection to the province during the campaign stop, "I'm a Calgary girl, I like my steak medium, and my butter chicken spicy."
Sawhney was first elected in the riding of Calgary-North East in 2019, she was appointed directly to the cabinet by Premier Kenney as Minister of Community and Social Services, and then in July of 2021 was shuffled to the Ministry of Transportation.
During the hour and a half event in south east Airdrie, Sawhney said that shes been speaking to Albertans from all across the province and hears that Albertans don't want the elites of the Sky Palace Dinner Club dictating their lives.
When asked if that was a veiled attack on former Minister of Finance Travis Toews, who appeared in a photo with former Minsiter of Health Tyler Shandro, and Premier Jason Kenney dinning on the patio of the sky palace in 2021 during the heigh of the COVID restrictions, Sawheny stated," This wasn't meant as a shot, but more reflective of what I'm hearing from Albertans everywhere.
"That is how it has been phrased to me, we don't need a group of elites running the province anymore," she added. "We need more collaboration, we need more inclusion, and I feel that in order to unite the party we have to be honest and we have to be open."
Sawhney said one thing she wants to do if elected as UCP leader is to have a complete audit of how the COVID pandemic was handled from a provincial response. "(Along with) MLA Pitt, we want to know what when wrong, and what we got right."
During the event, local MLA Angela Pitt, was on hand to introduce Sawhney. Sawhney said that it was an honour for Pitt to be on the team. Pitt will be serving as chair of the Sawhney campaign.
Sawhney joins a growing list of candidates for the UCP leadership including former Minister of Finance Travis Toews, Former Minister of Culture Leela Aheer, former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, former Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, Mayor of Ashtik Bill Rock, and soon-to-be-announced Minister of Children Services Rebecca Schulz.