June 25th, 2024

Kenney in southern Alberta ahead of leadership review

By Lethbridge Herald on April 1, 2022.

Premier Jason Kenney told a crowd in Medicine Hat on Thursday that the economy in the province is poised to boom after shaking off the effects of the pandemic. Southern Alberta Newspapers photo by Collin Gallant

Collin Gallant – SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS – cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

Jason Kenney trumpeted his government’s economic record in Medicine Hat on Thursday, weeks before his own leadership review and about one year away from a general election.

The premier announced negotiations are taking place on a $1-million base-funding agreement with regional helicopter ambulance service HALO in the morning, then told attendees of a quickly arranged business lunch at the Stampede grounds.

“We went through several years of real economic adversity, there’s no sugar-coating it,” he told about 100 attendees to the local Chamber of Commerce event. “Only now is Alberta’s economy recovering to where it was at the end of 2014 … Now this economy is firing on all cylinders, and I’m so excited about it.

“We want to make sure southeast Alberta not only benefits from that, but is leading the recovery.”

He later credited a corporate tax cut for stimulating an array of sectors. That’s resulted in petrochemical investments, he said, and been bolstered by the oil patch resurgence and strong farm income figures despite drought in 2021.  

Chief among accomplishments, he said, was tabling a balanced budget in February.

“A lot of people say that’s good luck,” he said, referring to a steep rise in oil prices and therefore government revenue. “If we hadn’t brought in fiscal restraint, we’d still have a huge structural budget deficit.”

Kenney also told the crowd he will host high-profile U.S. Senator Joe Manchin this spring and has been invited to testify himself before the U.S. Senate’s energy committee to urge them on a continental oil and gas security.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way, and we’re going to get another (export) pipeline built,” he said, to healthy applause.

Kenney will face a mail-in leadership vote beginning early next month, and Alberta is heading to a general election in May 2023, with general polling suggesting a dead-heat between Kenney’s United Conservatives and opposition Alberta New Democrats.

Kenney, who last week complained he was the target of illogical smear campaigns on social media, sidestepped questions about his conservative colleagues using the same sort of language when describing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

When reporters asked the premier whether Trudeau deserves the same sort of conspiracy-theory driven attacks Kenney is complaining about.

“He doesn’t,” said Kenney. “Canada is a democracy, but I strongly disagree with Justin Trudeau on just about everything.”

“In terms of his abuse of authority, that’s why Alberta is the only province in Canada that is suing over the constitutionality of his use of the Emergencies Act.”

The Emergencies Act was used by the government to break up blockades and convoy protests this winter on Parliament Hill.

Some demonstrators there openly compared Trudeau to Adolph Hitler, demanded a new government be formed or that Trudeau and cabinet members be arrested.

Last week, Alberta Conservative leader Kenney, detailed messages he has received accusing him of being part of a global conspiracy to create a one-world government, enslave citizens with COVID health measures or usher in totalitarian state control.

“I see a lot of anger,” Kenney said Thursday. “I think those voices … people calling for my execution for crimes against humanity, for violating the Nuremburg Trials, there’s a random collection of words they use … It represents a tiny fraction of the population.

“I want to focus on mainstream Albertans.”

This week, Lethbridge MP Rachel Thomas was caught up in controversy after she said in a House of Commons address that “many Canadians” agree that the definition of ‘dictator’ could be applied to Trudeau as well.

Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz, who attended the same announcement as Kenney on Thursday, told the Southern Alberta Newspapers he hadn’t heard Thomas’s comment.

But, he says he’s heard constituents use similar terms to describe Trudeau for years, and Thomas was likely passing on the criticisms, said Motz.

“There’s a lot of political rhetoric and the discourse is divisive, and quite frankly the prime minister has created divisions,” said Motz.

“I have heard the exact same language — authoritarian, tyrannical — in thousands of emails from voters in the riding and Canadians over the years.

“I would suspect those things come from the feedback we get from constituents.”

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Southern Albertan

What is perhaps more newsworthy, is that Danielle Smith is making a run for the UCP candidacy in the Livingstone-Macleod riding, and, if Kenney loses the leadership review, she will make a run for the leadership of the UCP.
The MP Thomas Trudeau remark was a display of her ignorance, and as an elected official, is behooved to chose words more carefully. To supposedly reflect feedback from constituents is taking the radical easy way out.
Re: Kenney coming around, really, anything the guy has to say at this point lacks credibility.