The UCP won power in Alberta on April 16, putting the province in conservative hands once again. Here’s a timeline of Alberta’s conservative schism, how it reunited and ultimately won a majority government in the 2019 election.Aug. 30, 1971: Progressive Conservatives win their first majority government. They will hold power in Alberta for nearly 44 years.June 23, 2007: Wildrose Party formed in Red Deer as a reaction against existing political parties which members say won’t restrain provincial spending or challenge Ottawa.Sept. 14, 2009: Wildrose leader Paul Hinman captures Calgary-Glenmore in a byelection. Support for the party rises in 2009 as voters become frustrated with the PC government.Oct. 17, 2009: Danielle Smith elected Wildrose leader.Jan. 4, 2010: Frustrated with then-premier Ed Stelmach’s leadership, PC MLAs Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth cross the floor to join Wildrose. This doubles the number of Wildrose caucus members to four.
Wildrose MLA Tany Yao, left, and party leader Brian Jean celebrate after being declared the official Opposition in Fort McMurray on May 5, 2015.
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
April 2012: Wildrose secures 17 seats in the election, forming the official Opposition.March 23, 2014: Alison Redford resigns as premier. She is succeeded by deputy premier Dave Hancock on an interim basis.Sept. 6, 2014: Jim Prentice wins the PC leadership race.Nov. 3, 2014: Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin quits to sit as an Independent.Nov. 24, 2014: Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan cross the floor to join the ruling PC caucus.Dec. 17, 2014: Smith and eight other Wildrose MLAs — Rob Anderson, Gary Bikman, Rod Fox, Jason Hale, Bruce McAllister, Blake Pedersen, Bruce Rowe and Jeff Wilson — cross the floor to the PCs. Smith cites Prentice’s strong leadership and shared values. Five Wildrose MLAs remain.
Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Premier Jim Prentice speak to the media after a caucus meeting in Edmonton on Dec. 17, 2014.
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
March 28, 2015: Brian Jean becomes Wildrose leader. Prentice calls an election five days later.May 5, 2015: The NDP sweeps to power in the provincial election, winning 54 seats to form a majority government. The Wildrose becomes the official Opposition with 21 seats. The PCs are decimated, retaining just nine of 70 seats. Ric McIver becomes interim leader after Prentice resigns.Dec. 14, 2015: Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt and PC MLA Mike Ellis hold a joint beer night in Calgary to talk about conservative unity.July 7, 2016: Calgary Conservative MP Jason Kenney says he’s leaving the House of Commons. He unveils his five-step plan to unite Alberta conservatives under a single banner in time for the next provincial election.Oct. 1, 2016: PC leadership race officially begins. Kenney, Richard Starke, Byron Nelson, Donna Kennedy-Glans, Sandra Jansen and Stephen Khan all announce their intentions to run.Nov. 8, 2016: Jansen and Kennedy-Glans withdraw from the race. Kennedy-Glans cites the polarizing nature of Alberta politics. Jansen points to harassment at the party’s November policy convention.
Progressive Conservative MLA Sandra Jansen, left, stands alongside Premier Rachel Notley on Nov. 17, 2016, to announce she will cross to the NDP.
Nov. 17, 2016: Jansen crosses the floor to the NDP, saying the PC party is no longer the place for centrist views.Jan. 26, 2017: Khan withdraws from the race and throws his support behind Starke. Starke announces he will pursue a PC-Wildrose coalition if elected as leader. Jean announces he supports a merger plan if Wildrose party members agree to it.March 18, 2017: Kenney is elected PC leader with more than 75 per cent of delegate votes. Jean and Kenney meet two days later to discuss unity.March 24, 2017: PC and Wildrose announce who will be on their respective discussion teams as they take the first steps toward unity.May 18, 2017: Unity agreement details released.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney announce they have reached a deal to merge the parties on May 18, 2017.
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June 1, 2017: Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer declares he’s running for leadership of the future United Conservative Party and releases a series of policies he would institute as leader.Jun 22, 2017: Derek Fildebrandt, Wildrose MLA for Strathmore-Brooks, launches pro-unity group United Liberty and releases policies he’d like to see in the new united party.July 22, 2017: Just over half of each party’s members cast a ballot in the unity vote. Yes wins with 95 per cent.July 24, 2017: Jean announces his bid for UCP leader. Also that day, former PC cabinet minister Richard Starke says he won’t join the UCP. The Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA says he’s not confident his views will be welcome in the new party.July 25, 2017: The United Conservative Party is recognized as the official Opposition by legislature Speaker Bob Wanner.July 29, 2017: Kenney announces his official leadership campaign.Aug. 8, 2017: Fildebrandt says he will not run for UCP leader. A week later, he resigns from the UCP caucus following a series of expense scandals, including the disclosure that he was renting out his taxpayer-funded apartment on Airbnb.
A unity supporter reacts after the Wildrose party voted in favour of uniting with the Progressive Conservatives, in Red Deer on July 22, 2017.
David Bloom /
Sept. 21, 2017: Former PC MLA Rick Fraser leaves UCP caucus to sit as an independent, citing increasing polarization of Alberta politics. He joins the Alberta Party in January 2018.Oct. 4, 2017: Jeff Callaway drops out of UCP leadership race and endorses Kenney.Oct. 5, 2017: NDP MLA Karen McPherson leaves her caucus to sit as an independent. Like Fraser, she points to polarized politics. She joins the Alberta Party later that month.Oct. 26, 2017: Voting for the new UCP leader begins.Oct. 27, 2017: Schweitzer’s campaign cries foul at what it says are voting irregularities. Party declares no rules were broken.Oct. 28, 2017: Voting closes. Kenney announced as UCP leader in Calgary.
Jason Kenney is covered in balloons as he celebrates after being elected leader of the United Conservative Party on Oct. 28, 2017.
Gavin Young /
Oct. 29, 2017: Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney resigns his seat for Kenney.Dec. 14, 2018: Kenney wins the Calgary-Lougheed byelection with 71 per cent of the vote.Feb. 2, 2018: Kenney announces Fildebrandt won’t be allowed to rejoin caucus or run under the UCP banner in 2019. Kenney says it’s because Fildebrandt didn’t disclose hunting charges against him. The MLA says he was told he was not allowed to run against UCP MLA Leela Aheer in his redrawn riding.March 5, 2018: Jean resigns his seat, citing a desire to spend time with his family and rebuild his Fort McMurray home.March 12, 2018: Kenney’s first question period as official Opposition leader.April 20, 2018: Four UCP MLAs confirm they won’t seek re-election in 2019 — Dave Schneider (Little Bow), Pat Stier (Livingstone-Macleod), Scott Cyr (Bonnyville-Cold Lake) and Wayne Drysdale (Grande Prairie-Wapiti).May 4-6, 2018: The UCP holds its founding convention in Red Deer, passing policies to guide the party’s 2019 election platform.July 15, 2018: Calgary-Greenway MLA Prab Gill leaves the UCP caucus, becoming the fifth MLA to do so. He departs following ballot-stuffing allegations.
Jason Kenney, left, is accompanied by Prab Gill at a press event in Calgary on Nov. 4, 2016.
Jim Wells /
Nov. 8, 2018: Gill rises in the legislature, saying he and other MLAs were “silenced and whipped” during the Bill 9 debate over abortion clinic bubble zones. Every UCP MLA refused to be in the legislature for any vote on that bill.December 2018: Audio recordings surface, suggesting Callaway was running as a kamikaze candidate to take down Jean in the UCP leadership race.Dec. 19, 2018: UCP MLA Wayne Anderson files an official complaint over what he suspected were political shenanigans in his candidate nomination race.Feb. 25, 2018: Kenney’s lawyer Steven Dollansky sends Gill a cease and desist letter, threatening to sue him for going to the RCMP with allegations that thousands of fake votes were cast for the UCP leader after Kenney’s campaign team created “fraudulent email addresses.”Feb. 27, 2019: Alberta’s election commissioner hands a $15,000 penalty for “obstruction of an investigation” to Cameron Davies, Callaway’s co-campaign manager during the UCP leadership race.
Screenshot of a video published online by Jason Kenney’s office showing NDP senior adviser Jeremy Nolais after meeting with Independent MLA Prab Gill at the Federal Building.
March 4, 2019: The official Twitter account for Kenney’s office posts a video of Gill and Rachel Notley’s director of issues management coming out of a door in the Federal Building at separate times, saying it points to collusion. Speaker Bob Wanner sends a curt memo to all MLAs and staffers, declaring the video “unbecoming” of the dignity of the institution.March 17, 2019: A series of leaked emails show regular and detailed communications over calendars, policies and messaging between Kenney’s and Callaway’s rival campaigns during the UCP leadership race.March 18, 2019: Kenney denies any involvement in creating the so-called Callaway kamakazi campaign, saying communication between leadership campaigns is completely normal in politics. Fildebrandt holds a news conference to tell reporters Kenney floated a similar kamakazi-type plan with him over a medium-rare, rib-eye steak at the The Keg.March 19, 2019: Rachel Notley calls the Alberta election for April 16.
Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, delivers his victory speech at a party event in Calgary on April 16, 2019.
April 10, 2019: Various media reports surface indicating fraudulent emails were used to cast votes in the UCP leadership race.April 11, 2019: A business belonging to UCP Calgary-East candidate Peter Singh is searched by RCMP. Officers seize a computer hard drive, other electronic devices and a suitcase. The UCP says the RCMP has not contacted the party nor Singh, only Singh’s son, but on election day Singh’s lawyer confirms the RCMP search was part of an ongoing investigation into alleged voter fraud in the UCP leadership campaign.April 16, 2019: Kenney declares victory in the 2019 provincial election after his party defeats the NDP to win 63 seats to 24. No other party wins a firstname.lastname@example.org/EmmaLGraney