By Rachel Emmanuel
United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership candidate Leela Aheer revealed she sold 25 party memberships at a Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Earlier this month, Aheer refused to answer True North’s questions about whether she attended the event to campaign for the Alberta premiership and UCP leadership.
In a media scrum following the first official UCP leadership debate on Wednesday night, Aheer was asked about attending the breakfast.
There are many Albertans who vote for the federal Liberals, but for the Conservatives provincially, she said.
“I was so privileged to be invited. Doesn’t matter to me what party you’re part of, but I have sold 25 memberships that day,” Aheer said. “So it was fantastic.”
There are two Liberal MPs in Alberta. There were zero before the 2021 federal election.
The Calgary Stampede event was hosted by Liberal MP George Chahal on July 10. True North previously reported that Aheer was invited to the event by Chahal, one of her childhood friends.
Aheer is considered the most progressive of the UCP leadership candidates. She called the overturning of Roe v Wade “devastating” and has defended Covid restrictions. She also told the Calgary Herald that moderate Conservatives must purchase UCP memberships or the race may already be over, with the victory going to libertarian Danielle Smith.
On Wednesday, Aheer told reporters she’s the “average conservative” because she’s fiscally responsible and socially liberal.
“That’s exactly where 90% of the small ‘c’ Conservatives sit,” she said.
The leadership candidate also said she’s sold just over 3,000 memberships in total, but said it’s hard to tell because “we’re working in a lot of different organizations.” All candidates have a portal that can track every membership sale from their campaign.
Aheer is also quick to compliment her opponents and show a collaborative spirit, which she said is part of her plan to bring together good ideas and create a strong team.
Her efforts could benefit her on election day. The victor will be chosen by ranked ballot, meaning members could place her higher on their ballot because she’s shown a willingness to work with their first-choice candidate.
Despite not registering any support in a recent Leger poll, Aheer said she believes she has a shot at winning.
“It’s preferred ballot,” she said. “So anything is possible at this point in time.”