Alberta Premier Jason Kenney allegedly threatened his own party with an election if they did not fall in line with his administration as multiple MLAs threatened to revolt against his lockdown measures, Western Standard reports.
The alleged threats were made during a caucus meeting on Thursday according to three UCP MLAs.
"'In our parliamentary system, the government must have the confidence of the House and therefore the confidence of the governing caucus. If I do not have the confidence of caucus, then I would be obliged to ask the Lieutenant Governor. for an election,'" one MLA said paraphrasing Kenney.
According to another MLA, Kenney told his caucus that "if this caucus doesn't have confidence in me, then perhaps I’ll go see the [Lieutenant Governor]."
Kenney said in a public speech earlier that day that "it is the moral responsibility of government" to impose a third lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Since then, 16 MLAs have signed a statement publicly opposing Kenney's lockdown. Businesses and other organizations across the province have also promised to ignore lockdown measures, and some already have.
"I've always welcomed a wide-ranging debate on how best to rise to the challenge of this pandemic," Kenney insisted. "I just ask that the debate be informed by facts. Alberta is a diverse province, and that includes diversity of opinion.
"It's not surprising that Albertans elected officials also have diverse views on how best to handle the pandemic."
Outrage over the lockdown measures has further grown since the arrest of Pastor James Coates, whose GraceLife Church was barricaded by police this week after the church continued to violate lockdown measures. Coates spent more than a month in jail for his actions.
A potential election could spell doom for the UCP given recent polling numbers, with some showing the provincial NDP maintaining a substantial lead over Kenney's party.
However, while such prospects threaten the jobs of many UCP MLAs, an election could also bring Kenney's long career in politics to an end as well. Such a scenario raises questions about the seriousness of Kenney's threats, and whether he would truly be willing to risk his political career to enforce lockdowns.