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Thursday, 29 September 2016 08:00

PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney makes a stop in southeast Alberta

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Alberta progressive conservative leader hopeful Jason Kenney was in Medicine Hat Sept. 27 to speak to print media while on his Unite the Right Tour as he tries to drum up support for the Progressive Conservative leadership. He moved on to southwest Alberta Sept. 29-30. Alberta progressive conservative leader hopeful Jason Kenney was in Medicine Hat Sept. 27 to speak to print media while on his Unite the Right Tour as he tries to drum up support for the Progressive Conservative leadership. He moved on to southwest Alberta Sept. 29-30. Photo by Ryan Dahlman

Provincial Progressive Conservative hopeful Jason Kenney says it was an easy decision to want to get involved with the leadership race created by the void left by the resignation of Jim Prentice after the 2015 election.


Basically, Kenney says the province is in trouble because of the NDP government’s policies. Due to vote splitting of conservative-ideology parties, the NDP could get re-elected. He wants to change that.
“Albertans understand that this historic recession is partly caused by commodity prices beyond our control, but what they don’t understand is a government that is making a bad situation much worse than it needs to be,” says Kenney. “It’s a government slamming the brakes on in the midst of a historic recession by raising taxes on everything from incomes to businesses to properties to payrolls, and now the massive multi-billion dollar carbon tax on everything that will make it more expensive to heat your home, buy your groceries fill your gas tank, run your school board, your business your non-profit ... they’re so radically out of touch with the values and interests of this province ... it’s particularly strong in southeastern Alberta because of the economy and traditional political values in this area. They want a solution.”
He also points to raising minimum wage during a recession, closing coal plants, fighting for oil and gas and raising the price of electricity.
Kenney says they need to look no further than the province to the east led by Premier Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party.
“In the last three elections, a broad free enterprise coalition party called the Saskatchewan Party has won with 65 per cent of the vote. They have turned that province around even though Saskatchewan is more dependent on oil and gas than Alberta is and yet their unemployment rate is two points lower than ours is. The service companies are moving from here to Saskatchewan. Investment is moving from here to there ... I am simply proposing that we create an Alberta version of the Saskatchewan Party or a provincial party of the Conservative Party of Canada.”
The Saskatchewan Party was formed after the rapid decline of the Progressive Conservatives and the addition of some disenfranchised Liberals. Kenney points to both federal and provincial right wing party’s combined numbers which would win the elections with the other parties getting elected through “classic example of vote splitting.”
If he gets a mandate for the leadership at the provincial PC convention March 18, 2017, he would then want to meet with Wildrose leader Brian Jean to create a diverse competent party.
“It has to be a grassroots effort,” says Kenney but adds those Wildrosers who are hedging on combining forces with the PCs should be forewarned about the future. “They have to be prepared to tell what level of risk they are prepared to accept ... I’m not prepared to take any level of risk, that’s why I’m doing this.”
Kenney was elected as the MP for Calgary Midnapore in October 2015, but officially resigned Sept. 23. Prior to that he was an MP for Calgary Southeast from 1997-2015.
During his federal tenure, he was the Minister of National Defence, Multiculturalism; Multiculturalism Citizenship, Secretary of State; Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.
(This is Part 1 of two stories with Jason Kenney. Next week, Kenney will share more of his thoughts of any perceived urban/rural divide amongst Albertans.)

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor