This week, Toews resigned as the province's finance minister and launched his campaign to lead the United Conservative Party into the next provincial election.
Toews is the first candidate to officially join the race as the party prepares to replace outgoing Premier Jason Kenney.
"What grieves me most is the division that has formed in our communities — in businesses, churches, families and, certainly, in politics," Toews said in a campaign video posted online. "Right now, as a movement and a province, we need to come together."
Kenney will remain leader until UCP members elect his replacement. The party has appointed a leadership committee to decide the rules, entry fee and timeline for the race.
"He's done a fantastic job in that role," Kenney said. "I will not be endorsing any candidate for leadership. I think it's entirely normal for a leader to avoid endorsing candidates."
Kenney said his plan is to appoint interim ministers "until I know what the complete lay of the land is," then do a formal cabinet shuffle.
Toews officially registered for the campaign on May 30, according to the Elections Alberta website.
A chartered accountant and rancher, the MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti was first elected in April 2019 and has served as finance minister since.
In his campaign launch video, a cowboy-hat wearing Toews herds cattle and rides a horse while talking about his hopes to return to the UCP's vision for the province unveiled in the 2019 election campaign.