UCP MLA for Chestermere-Strathmore Leela Sharon Aheer held a press conference at John Peake Memorial Park in Chestermere on Wednesday. 

Aheer announced on Tuesday that she will be running in the leadership race to replace Premier Jason Kenney. 

“This leadership race will be leading the future of our province and there’s always lots of hard decisions ahead and we need to unite and lift each other up and face those challenges coming up,” she said as she stood surrounded by her family 

 Aheer said she is blown away by the community support in her constituency and the province. 

“It's invigorating. It uplifts all of us. I'm so excited and so optimistic.” 

“I'm inspired every day by the heroes all around us who give their time and energy to our community and truly touched that people have taken the time to look at me as a person who could possibly lead us forward in the future,” she said. 

“We have so much work to do to earn the trust of Albertans to take care of our vulnerable, set the minds of seniors at ease, to regain trust in our institutions and future prosperity in our province.” 

If she wins the leadership race she says that the government and the UCP will be very different.  

“We will lead with kindness and courage and strength and lead a province of people who care about their neighbours and their families.  We will listen and we will collaborate. We will lead with humanity and we will look to shift the culture to earn Albertans trust. We will apologize with all of our hearts when we get it wrong," she said. 

Aheer said there are three files she would like to focus on. The first AISH, the second EMS, and the third the Canadian Energy Centre.  

“This privilege that I have been given to be able to stand before you today and formally as a minister is not something that I take lightly.” 

When asked about uniting the United Conservative Party in Alberta she said the UCP is still a brand new party. “The inability to keep the conservatives together is a management issue. It's a failure in leadership."

Aheer was first elected as the MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View in 2015. She was re-elected in 2019 as the MLA for Chestermere-Strathmore.  

Last month Jason Kenney announced he was stepping down after narrowly winning 51.4 per cent of support in a leadership review. For now, it is unclear when and how the UCP leadership race will take place.