Alberta's former Finance Minister Travis Toews is in, and ready to unite the governing United Conservative Party prior to the 2023 general election.
The Grande Prairie Wapiti MLA announced his intentions to seek the leadership of the governing UCP at an event in Calgary stating that he is ready for the challenge of uniting the party ahead of the 2023 election, "There hasn't been a time in this generation when healing and unification were so necessary.
"Not only across our society but in the conservative movement in Alberta as well," Toews stated. "Our great conservative movement must focus on the values that unite us, instead of the issues that divide us," He added.
The leadership contender introduced his two campaign co-chairs that including caucus colleague the Hon. Sonya Savage and MP for Grande Prairie-Mackenzie Chris Warkentin - both of who were in attendance - with Savage giving the opening address at the campaign launch.
"While (Savage and Warkentin) both represent very different constituencies and peoples, both agree that our party and Albertans are stronger together. We share a vision for Alberta focused on responsible and steady leadership," Toews stated at the launch.
In the speech to supporters, Toews said that he was proud to serve as Finance minister and deliver the first balanced budget in Alberta in over ten years. He added, "We will no longer spend more than we make, we will no longer burden future generations with a debt that they did not incur."
TOEWS SAYS HE'S NOT LIKE KENNEY
After the speech, Toews stated to reporters that he is a different man than current Premier Jason Kenney, "Our backgrounds, for instance, I'm from rural Alberta, I'm from the private sector before 2019 - (Jason Kenney) has been in public office his whole career. So from that standpoint, we are two very different people."
While not mentioning Kenney by name during his speech, Toews said that he gives the sitting premier credit for unifying the party ahead of the 2019 election, "I have a great deal of respect for the premier, and what he's accomplished by uniting two conservative factions ways back in 2019."
When asked about unification and bringing former UCP MLA's - now Independent MLA's -Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes back into the caucus, Toews said going forward is about going forward together, " I believe in a true code-of-conduct for sitting members and government members. We need to establish that code of conduct, agree upon it and ensure that it is enforced."
22 OTHER UCP MLAS RALLY BEHIND TOEWS
In the official press release, Toews states that he has 23 caucus members supporting his bid to lead the UCP.
Alongside Sonya Savage (Minister of Energy and MLA for Calgary North West), the other 22 MLA's who publicly endorsed Toews Saturday were: Tracy Allard (Grande Prairie) Jackie Armstong-Homeniuk (Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville) Tanya Fir (Association Minister of Red Tape Reduction and MLA for Calgary Peigan) Shane Getson (Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland) Nate Horner ( Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development and MLA for Drumheller-Stettler) Grant Hunter (Taber Warner), Whitney Issik (Associate Minister of Status of Women and MLA for Calgary-Glenmore) Matt Jones (Calgary South East) Adriana LaGrange (Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer North) Martin Long (parliamentary secretary for small business and tourism and MLA for West Yellowhead) Jackie Lovely (parliamentary secretary to the Associate Minister of Status of Women and MLA for Camrose) Jason Luan (Minister of Community and Social Services and MLA for Calgary-Foothills) Demetrios Nicolaides ( Minister of Advanced Education and MLA for Calgary Bow) Ron Orr (Minister of Culture and MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka) Josephine Pon (Minister of Seniors and Housing and MLA for Calgary Beddington) Pat Rehn (Lesser Slave Lake) Miranda Rosin (Banff-Kananaskis) Joseph Schow (Cardston Siksika) Tyler Shandro (Attorney General and MLA for Calgary Acadia) Mark Smith (Drayton Valley-Devon) Searle Turton (parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Energy and MLA for Spruce Grove Stony Plain) and Dan Williams (parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Culture and for la Francophonie and MLA for Peace River)