Doug Schweitzer says he will not run for leader of UCP or seek re-election

With the search for a new UCP leader now on, political experts believe whoever is chosen will determine whether the party leans more moderate or more to the right. Breanna Karstens-Smith reports.

Alberta’s minister for jobs, economy and innovation and MLA for Calgary-Elbow says he will not run for leader of the United Conservative Party or seek re-election next year.

In a statement released on Twitter Monday night, Doug Schweitzer said despite the support he’s received to run for the position following Jason Kenney’s announcement of his intentions to resign, he’s decided to step away from his provincial political career.

Read more:

UCP begins search for new leader with Jason Kenney stepping down

“Over the past few days, I’ve been truly honoured and humbled at the support I have received for a potential candidacy to run for the leadership of the United Conservative Party and become Alberta’s next premier,” Schweitzer wrote.

“However, after much consideration, I have made the decision not to run for leader of the UCP or seek re-election as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow.

Schweitzer is a lawyer and a first-time legislature member for the UCP, but has deep roots in politics.

He was a long-time conservative strategist in Manitoba, and in Alberta managed the 2014 leadership campaign of former premier Jim Prentice.

Schweitzer ran as a fiscal conservative but social progressive, supporting student privacy rights on gay-straight alliances in schools and saying issues including same-sex marriage and abortion are topics settled in law.

Read more:

Alberta United Conservative leadership contenders vow to band together post vote

He was one of three finalists in the inaugural UCP leadership race in 2017, coming in third behind Kenney and former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who has said he will go for the top job again this time around.

Schweitzer was previously Kenney’s justice minister, but was moved to the jobs portfolio during a cabinet shuffle in the summer of 2020.

Read more:

3 moves made as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shuffles cabinet

“After eight years, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family. I could not have served our province so diligently without their immense sacrifice and support.”

Schweitzer did however note that he would stay on in his current position within the UCP government until after the leadership race.

“To help ensure the continuity and stability of our government, my intention is to continue my work on Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan and remain in cabinet until a new leader is elected.”

Schweitzer went on to note some of his highlights from working with the UCP government, including his part in Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan, which he believes has helped the province get back on its feet following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After years of hard work by the private sector and our government, Alberta’s economy is rapidly diversifying while also being projected to lead Canada in GDP growth,” Schweitzer wrote.

“Thousands of Albertans have returned to work and our unemployment rate is currently the lowest it has been since 2015. Across our province, high-paying jobs and an amazing quality of life are attracting people from across Canada to move to Alberta.

“Put simply, Alberta is back.”

Read more:

Is a ‘big tent’ conservative party realistic in Alberta anymore?

Schweitzer also thanked his support system for the help they’ve given him over his last eight years.

“I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together over these many years.

“In the years and decades to come, I will continue to meaningfully contribute to public life.”

Read more:

Jason Kenney to stay on as UCP leader until successor chosen

Jason Kenney announced his plans to step down from his position as UCP leader following a narrow win of a leadership review, where he received 51.4 per cent support to stay on.

Kenney stated the low number was not enough for him to stay in his role as leader of the province.

However, Kenney did note that he would stay on as premier until a successor has been chosen.

Kenney, in a tweet Tuesday, said: “I’m sorry that Doug Schweitzer has decided not to see re-election.

“He has been a key member of the team that has led Alberta through turbulent times, helping to coordinate the province’s hugely successful recovery strategy.”

Alberta’s next provincial general election is scheduled to be held between March 1 and May 31, 2023.

— With files from Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories