Story highlights Kenney promises to fix “broken Alberta”
He says pipelines are key to job creation
The Progressive Conservative leader faced a test when members met for the first time since announcing his bid for premier
The Republican nominee for Calgary-Mountain View MLA, Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark, arrived at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in the official campaign announcement for Alberta’s next premier on Wednesday.
He also arrived to introduce a man most Calgary residents will recognize by sight: United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.
The United Conservative Party leader is in hot water following news he had emailed constituents prior to the beginning of the fall legislative session — while in high heels and with heels on his feet — to lobby for support for one of his own MLAs. The legislature itself was sitting at the time.
This is, of course, hardly the first time Kenney’s gotten himself into hot water. In 2015, he defended the province’s use of standardized testing in school, arguing that it allows “the ground to be turned under otherwise competent teachers and principals.”
Just last spring, he was criticized for telling senior English teachers and education ministry officials in a phone call about a decision to limit future government payments for Alberta teachers to reserve seats in their kids’ classrooms. He insisted it wasn’t a threat or an order but rather a frank conversation about the provincial government’s decision to transfer funding to private schools to alleviate overcrowding in public schools.
And two years ago, Kenney’s wife Amber delivered the harshest comment of his career: “I just don’t believe anything you say,” she said in an interview on Mornings With Sal. “You promise all this stuff and it just seems like it comes off like, ‘Oh, we’ll do this, we’ll do that and then you say, ‘Hey, I forgot something.’”
She was referencing his promise to fund the construction of new schools by raising corporate taxes from 10% to 12%, a plan he also included in his 2014 manifesto.
Kenney’s wife Amber is now hoping she doesn’t need to tell him this again.
On Wednesday, after just three months on the job as PC party leader, Kenney met with the heads of the province’s major employers, including oil and gas companies Encana, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources, to hear their concerns.
“These companies tell me they have capital available, they just want good, good projects, they want predictable rules and regulations and they want a premier who will work with them. And they need a premier, not a re-branding exercise,” he said after meeting with the leaders.
He called his proposed carbon tax an “economically simple, environmentally benign and socially responsible policy.”
Alberta’s longtime Progressive Conservative leaders announced their merger with the former Wildrose Party this month, with Kenney set to be leader of the United Conservative Party in the 2019 election.
Kenney vowed to work with his party’s competitors “to advance an agenda that is good for Alberta,” but reiterated his view that pipelines are the key to job creation and economic growth.
They’d also tackle social issues in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. In particular, the NDP government’s legalization of marijuana and the government’s mandatory minimum sentencing regime.