Alberta’s Jason Kenney big win prompts reaction from BC’s John Horgan

Premier-designate Jason Kenney arrived at United Conservative Party headquarters on April 16 in a blue pickup truck emblazoned with the UCP logo on its side.

But Meili said it's too early to draw any conclusions from Kenney's victory, though he lamented outgoing premier Rachel Notley's loss.

Voters in the country's oil heartland are anxious about the state of the economy amid slumping commodity prices.

Kenney has stated that, if elected, he would proclaim the Education Act, which would replace the NDP's School Act and numerous amendments that came along with Bill 24 - most notably, the requirement for school principals to grant permission for students to form gay-straight alliances immediately and for all schools to have public policies that protect LGBTQ+ students.

Kenney's quest for Alberta's top elected office began in July 2016, when, after 19 years in Ottawa and managing several high-level portfolios in Stephen Harper's Conservative government, he defied expectations he would run for leadership of the federal Conservatives and instead, returned to his home province to unite the right.

It's not uncommon in Canada for provincial premiers to find it politically helpful to be seen doing battle with Ottawa, since voters often view provincial and federal politics differently, he added.

The UCP hopes scrapping the NDP's carbon tax plan will also lighten the load on business. His party claims the repeal will create 6,000 jobs by 2024 and save Albertans $1.4 billion a year - what it calls the largest tax cut in Alberta's history. "There are no Liberal governments left, except for the Maritimes, and many of them are just hanging by a thread", said McTeague. Kenney's antagonism, particularly on climate matters and pipeline construction, is unlikely to help.

However, he acknowledged in a statement that the United Conservative Party faces a "formidable task" to create the conditions that will allow the oil and gas sector in Western Canada to thrive again after years of hard times.

It will have an initial budget of $30-million, Kenney said Thursday, and it will be staffed with communications professionals who are creative and, more importantly, nimble and quick to fight rhetorical fire with fire.

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In Alberta, the tax has proven very unpopular, and Kenney used the frustration to his advantage during the campaign, tying it directly to Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau said the federal government would continue to work on growing the economy, while tackling climate change. "And I disagree with them", he told a town hall on Tuesday.

The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta's fragile economy, which has been struggling with sluggish oil prices.

Prices at the pump jumped immediately, which could hurt Trudeau's chances in auto-dependant suburban swing ridings around Toronto. The NDP got 40 per cent, enough to win a majority government thanks to vote splitting in Calgary.

Next door in Ontario, Tory premier Doug Ford welcomed Kenney's opposition to the federal carbon tax.

Kenney once referred to Trudeau as "an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger-bowl". "That same federal government is imposing new laws that will make it impossible to get pipelines approved in the future".

"Then I think we sit down with the government of British Columbia with greater strength and clarity about the tools that Alberta can use to defend our vital economic interests", he said. "It seems to be part of a movement by this generation of conservative politicians to not make decisions based on science, evidence and facts".

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, congratulated Kenney in a press release that blasted the NDP's legacy.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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