Schweitzer’s resignation was another blow to the UCP


Doug Schweitzer’s abrupt resignation from UCP cabinet and provincial politics is seen as a blow to the party as it finds itself in the midst of a leadership race and less than a year before a general election.

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Duane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, said he was surprised by the sudden announcement from the former UCP leadership candidate, who announced in May that he would not seek re-election in the Calgary-Elbow race.

Schweitzer tendered his resignation as minister for jobs, economy and innovation on Friday morning to Prime Minister Jason Kenney, making it public in a late afternoon social media post.


“Schweitzer is seen as one of the moderates in the party,” Bratt said. “And to have him go when you’re looking at a leadership race dominated by the Ottawa attacks and COVID denial, that could hurt the UCP as well.”

When Schweitzer previously announced that he would not seek re-election, Bratt assumed that he would stay until the end of the term.

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Schweitzer has a young family and was a partner at a Calgary law firm specializing in restructuring and bankruptcy before entering politics.

He was a political unknown when he ran for the party’s leadership in 2017, but became a rapid rise in the new UCP government. Schweitzer was appointed justice minister days after winning his first election in 2019, as part of Kenney’s initial cabinet. In 2020, the prime minister considered it in the employment portfolio, six months after the pandemic.


In the past year, it has scored several major victories, including a booming tech sector, a burgeoning film industry, a job market that caught fire with Alberta’s unemployment rate hitting 4.8 percent in July, and an economy who is leading the country. in recovery despite rising inflation and interest rates.

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Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said Schweitzer did a lot to get the province back on track and push the economy toward diversification. Alberta has broken records each year for venture capital investment in the province’s technology sector and is on track to break those records further this year.

He also helped diversify the energy sector with investments in petrochemicals and other economic sectors, Yedlin said, adding that many of the initiatives and moves he made will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

Above all, he said he didn’t give up on Alberta, pointing to a speech he gave at Mphasis’s opening in Calgary in June, when others were ready to look elsewhere.

“People gave up on us, but we didn’t give up on ourselves, and I thought that was a very good message,” he said. “So much has happened despite all the things we’ve faced in the last seven years.”

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His accomplishments had many, including Bratt thinking he would be in line for another run in party management, but this time he positioned himself with much more weight behind his name.

“I think particularly in the jobs portfolio, he was the best cabinet minister Kenney ever had,” Bratt said.

Schweitzer has not commented on his decision not to seek re-election and declined an interview with Postmedia after his latest announcement.

This has left the rumor mill in full swing about what is going on.

The party has not yet said if or when by-elections will be held to fill the vacant seat, or even if necessary, nine months before the general election. A decision is not likely to be made until a new party leader is chosen.

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The legislation is in conflict as to whether a by-election would be required, as the Legislative Law says that it must be called within six months, although both the Legislative Law and the Electoral Law say that one is not required within 12 months. months after a general election. However, the Legislative Act says that there is a fifth year but the Election Law has it in four years.

If Danielle Smith wins the leadership race, it would open up a seat for her to run for the legislature.

Bratt, however, said he would be in trouble in the Calgary-Elbow constituency, one that has skewed toward more progressive candidates since Ralph Klein retired in 2007. The seat was held by former Alberta Party leader Greg Clark. , from 2015 to 2019.

Alison Redford, one of the most progressive leaders of the PC party, held the seat between 2008 and 2014.

NDP candidate Samir Kayande, who thanked Schweitzer for his public service in a statement on Friday, has already spoken about his platform for a possible by-election, while Kerry Cundal could also fight for the Alberta Party.

“This may be one of the few three-way races in the entire province,” Bratt said.

[email protected]

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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