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Alberta’s United Conservative Party will hold a leadership review of Premier Jason Kenney at a rescheduled meeting on April 8th and 9th.

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The party’s annual general meeting was originally scheduled for next fall, but as the party’s dissatisfaction with Kenney turns into public disagreement, including among MLAs, it has been postponed.

Last week, Kenney survived a meeting of the caucus after a token vote of no confidence was withdrawn, and instead the UCP announced that they were working to plan an earlier review of the leadership.

On Thursday, party spokesman Dave Prisco confirmed that the leadership review will take place at the 2022 UCP Annual General Meeting at the River Cree Resort in Edmonton.

The review could spark a race for leadership just over a year before Alberta’s provincial elections in the spring of 2023.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenney has faced caucus members denouncing the government’s health restrictions and those who have said measures are too little too late. On Tuesday, Deputy Legislative Spokeswoman Angela Pitt said she and her constituents have no confidence in Kenney’s leadership, and former Cabinet Secretary Leela Aheer said Kenney should have resigned last week.

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Also on Tuesday, a UCP political vice president who publicly called for Kenney’s resignation and urged an early review of the leadership was removed from the party’s executive committee.

While Alberta faces a health crisis amid rising COVID-19 hospital numbers, Kenney said last week he was focusing on the pandemic rather than internal party politics, calling an immediate review of leadership “grossly irresponsible”.

However, some party members are pushing for the review to come even earlier. If 22 Ridings pass a resolution – now circulating in constituency assemblies – Kenney could be subject to a leadership review before March 1.

NDP opposition leader Rachel Notley has accused the UCP Kenney administration of making politically motivated public health decisions and being distracted by party fighting, deceit and high school drama, despite relying on the protection of the Health care system should focus.

The UCP 2021 Annual General Meeting is expected to take place in person at the Gray Eagle Resort in Calgary from November 19-21, after last year’s virtual meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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