Andrew Scheer is speaking at a United Conservative Party convention in Calgary tonight at the end of a week that posed a number of challenges to his leadership from across the conservative spectrum.
It’s the first time members of Alberta’s United Conservative Party are meeting since the party formed government after winning last spring’s election.
The UCP is holding its annual general meeting Friday through Sunday in Calgary.
Premier Jason Kenney is to speak to members on Saturday — with an introduction by Laureen Harper, wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper — followed by questions from party rank and file on Sunday.
Talk focusing on a “fair deal” for Alberta is set for Saturday afternoon. The “fair deal” panel was struck earlier this month by Kenney to look at tax system changes, a provincial police force and equalization.
Speaking Friday to a business forum hosted by the law firm Bennett Jones in Lake Louise, Kenney said his government will seek every possible way to maximize Alberta’s leverage in the federation.
But he struck a somewhat conciliatory note toward the federal Liberal government, noting that, after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, he believes Ottawa is committed to completing construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Kenney also said while the renewed sense of alienation in Alberta is real and should not be ignored, most people in the province don’t favour separation.
“Albertans are proud Canadians. We are proud to have been a major engine of prosperity and shared generosity across the federation. We want to continue playing that role,” he said.
UCP party members are set to vote on a variety of resolutions through the weekend and will elect new members to the board of directors.
Facebook groups, ranging from students to public-sector workers, are encouraging people to come out on Saturday afternoon to protest government budget cuts. Religious events run Friday and Sunday.