After last week's leadership vote results and the resignation of Premier Jason Kenney, RJ Sigurdson is hoping to emphasize the 'U' in UCP moving forward.
The event where the results were given, and where Kenney announced his resignation, was held in Sigurdson's own Highwood riding at Spruce Meadows.
He was in attendance on the night and says he supports Kenney's decision, given the narrow vote margin of just 51 per cent in favour of the premier.
"I knew that was a number that presented a tough decision for the premier. I stand behind his decision that it wasn't enough of a confidence to be able to lead as the premier of Alberta and the leader of this party. I do support him in his decision of stepping down."
For Sigurdson, a focus on unity through this hurdle is top priority, rather than lamenting the loss of the party's leader and reminiscing about Kenney's time in office, especially ahead of next year's provincial election.
"We've already seen what can happen with a two-party split with the Wildrose and the old PC Party allowing an accidental NDP government to happen. Really, the conversations I've had over the last few days are, and continue to evolve around the importance of unity, of us as a party to continue to work together to strengthen that unity, and I've heard from many members and that's been a linear message since the announcement."
Very little information on the leadership election proceedings have been released by the UCP thus far.
UCP MLA and former UCP leader candidate Brian Jean, as well as former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, were quick to throw their hats into the ring, and Jobs, Economy and Innovations minister Doug Schweitzer has announced his intent to run for neither leadership of the party or as Calgary-Elbow MLA next year.
Sigurdson wouldn't be surprised to see a large pool of candidates, given Alberta's strong conservative base and desire for strong representation heading into next year's election.
Once the leadership race is officially on and more candidates step up, he'll be taking his time before endorsing a candidate.
"Before I endorse a candidate I'd want to sit down with those individuals and understand what their intentions are, what their vision is, and ensure I understand really what their whole platform is before I put my commitment behind formally endorsing somebody."
In terms of what Sigurdson will want to hear from a potential leader, on top of the transparency, commitment to Albertans, and fiscal responsibility he'd want to see from any UCP leader, Sigurdson named a few other key issues he'd like to see an emphasis on.
"An important piece for a leader to discuss will be, of course, how we will continue to strengthen our healthcare system, address some of the EMS issues we're currently seeing, and how we find and ensure that we build a system for the future."