BREAKING: MLAs Drew Barnes & Todd Loewen expelled from UCP Caucus
Voting to expel dissenting MLAs has come to a head.
MLA for Central Peace-Notley Todd Loewen published an open letter calling on Kenney to resign as premier earlier today, resigning from his caucus position.
“The majority of people I’m talking to, they want a strong UCP party. But they don’t see that they have that now. We need to have that so we can move forward and be able to form government in 2023.”
Loewen accused the Kenney government of poor dealings with Ottawa, failing to consider caucus members, and a slough of other issues, including coal-mining in the Rocky Mountains.
“We did not unite around blind loyalty to one man. And while you promoted unity, it is clear that unity is falling apart,” writes Loewen. “Many Albertans, including myself, no longer have confidence in your leadership. I thank you for your service, but I am asking that you resign so that we can begin to put the province back together again.”
MLA for Bonnyvile David Hanson backed Loewen’s call for Kenney’s resignation.
“Todd, I applaud your courage and stand behind your decision. I hear the same thing from our supporters in my area. I along with many of our colleagues share in your frustration,” Hanson wrote. “We, along with many Albertans worked too hard to unite Conservatives to hand this province back to the NDP. Thanks for taking a stand.”
UCP MLAs like Drew Barnes also drew the ire of the Kenney government, having called for a localized approach in the midst of the continued lockdown in opposition to the Premier's current strategy. "Cypress-Medicine Hat [only has] a handful of cases and a healthcare system with capacity," wrote Barnes. "50% of small business may not reopen, and the long-term effects on our economy and our families is very unclear."
Key UCP MLAs led the counter-movement against the dissenters. MLA Mike Ellis affirmed a push to remove them, while Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie launched a motion to eject Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen from caucus.
According to our sources, voting begun around 5:20 pm MST before the results were released some two hours later.
Voting was done by text and passed, with the two MLAs being removed from their caucus positions.