Our Politics Panel reacts to Brian Jean calling it quits, suggests some next steps for Stephen Mandel and forecasts a raucous session of the Alberta Legislature.

Brian Jean says farewell

Alberta MLAs will return to the legislature Thursday, but Brian Jean’s seat will be empty.

The former Wildrose Party leader revealed Monday that he is resigning as the Member for Fort McMurray-Conklin. Jean says he is stepping aside to focus on family and rebuild his home which was destroyed in the 2016 wildfire that ravaged the Wood Buffalo region.

He spent 14 years in provincial and federal politics, including a ten year stint as a Member of Parliament. Jean’s loss to Jason Kenney for leadership of the United Conservative Party in October, however, set the rumour mill into motion.

No holds barrred at the Albeta Legislature

The next Alberta election may be more than a year away, but it’s safe to say party leaders are already in campaign mode with the spring session kicking off later this week.

Rachel Notley rallied the troops at an NDP Provincial Council Meeting over the weekend with a campaign-style speech that included plenty of references to Jason Kenney.

The UCP leader, meanwhile, started the week in Vancouver, addressing the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Kenney has also been touring Alberta to get a handle on what’s concerning rural supporters.

The daunting road ahead for Stephen Mandel

Had you asked Alberta Party members six months ago who their leader would be heading into the spring session, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone answering Stephen Mandel.

But that is, in fact, the case as the former Edmonton Mayor and PC cabinet minister captured leadership of the Alberta Party one week ago.

The race was triggered by former leader Greg Clark’s resignation in November, a move aimed at building support in the party.

Our Politics Panel is made up of: Kathy Kerr, freelance writer and editor; Robert Noce, lawyer and former Edmonton city councillor and Duane Bratt, political scientist, Mount Royal University.