'Kenney spring' comes to Alberta: Opposition fears worst, but commentators hopeful

‘Kenney spring’ comes to Alberta: Opposition fears worst, but commentators hopeful

The State
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Naomi Knoch, SEARCH Apprentice Writer

[TheChristians.com] “Alberta is open for business.”

So said a determined Jason Kenney, Premier-Designate of Alberta, during a powerful victory speech on the heels of the United Conservative Party’s (UCP) stunning majority win.

VIDEO: [Global News] Premier-Elect Jason Kenney’s acceptance speech on election night. When the exuberant crowd begins to chant ‘Build that pipe’ Jason corrects them. ‘We never should have ended up with the faint hope of just one pipeline. It’s BUILD THOSE PIPES!’ [Apr 16, 2019]

The UCP leader did what many said he couldn’t do, when he dealt a crushing defeat to former Premier Rachel Notley’s New Democrat Party (NDP) on Tuesday, making it the only government in Alberta’s history to lose a majority after one term.
Albertans decisively repudiated the NDP’s social experiment and embraced Kenney’s vision of a strong, vibrant province that won’t allow itself to be ‘pushed around any more.’ Pending resolution of a handful of seats where advance votes could change Tuesday night’s result, the UCP finished with 63 of Alberta’s 87 seats, with the remaining 24 going to the NDP. Shut out were the Alberta Liberal Party, Freedom Conservative Party and Alberta Party.

Addressing Albertans, Canada and the world at Calgary’s Big Four Roadhouse Kenney said Albertans had “chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”

He reiterated his commitment to farmers, energy workers, the indigenous community and parents concerned about their children’s education. He said Albertans elected a government who will be obsessed with creating jobs: “Help is on the way and hope is on the horizon.”

Kenney was lauded for reaching out to other provinces, asking them to partner with Alberta. “If you want to benefit from Canada’s most educated population and deep culture of enterprise and innovation, help us, invest here, come here, create jobs here, renew the Alberta advantage!”

Kenney also had some stern warning words for groups who have wantonly boycotted Alberta’s energy industry with nefarious infusions of cash.

“And now I have a message to those foreign funded special interests who have been leading a campaign of economic sabotage against this great province. To the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, Lead Now, the David Suzuki Foundation and all of the others: Your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended,” he said.

“We Albertans are patient and fair minded, but we have had enough of your campaign of defamation and double standards. Today we begin to fight back. From this point forward, when you lie about how we produce energy, we will tell the truth assertively, and we will use every means at our disposal to hold you to account. When multinational companies like HSBC boycott Alberta, we’ll boycott them. We will launch a public enquiry into the foreign source of funds behind the campaign to land lock Alberta energy.”

Here is a selection of reactions to Kenney’s victory.

DEFEATED NOTLEY CLINGS TO VISION: Outgoing Premier Rachel Notley said she will do everything in her power to ensure a smooth transfer of government as well as continuing to fight for NDP values. “I will make sure our vision of Albertan endures through a rigorous robust opposition to hold government to account.”

LIBERAL KHAN – NEVER GIVE UP: David Khan and the Alberta Liberals faced their first shutout since the 1970’s. Khan encouraged Liberals to “be strong, stay the course, never give up on your Alberta Liberal values.” Khan congratulated Kenney on his win and said with the victory comes great new responsibility, urging the new premier to be “fair and inclusive” in future decisions.

ALBERTA PARTY REMAINS HOPEFUL: Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said despite the loss of the three seats the party held, he remains optimistic and hopeful for the future, including asking Kenney to pay attention to the needs of all Albertans.

KENNEY’S SPEECH A BARN BURNER: 770 CHQR radio talkshow host Danielle Smith called Kenney’s speech a “barn burner” and a direct shot at Justin Trudeau who “doesn’t know what hit him.” Smith noted that by putting out a hand to all other premiers, Kenney is putting Trudeau “on notice.” Said Smith: “Kenney addressed everything I’ve been hearing in calls for the past three years… pipelines, issues with partners in Confederation, unfairness of equalization.” Smith added that one problem facing the UCP is a lack of ridings won in Edmonton. “It makes for a better government when the entire province is better represented.”

IT’S SPRING TIME IN ALBERTA: According to the Edmonton Sun’s Lorne Gunter, Kenney’s win signals spring in Alberta after a long winter. Gunter predicts Albertans will be surprised at how quickly things will improve, not because oil prices change overnight and pipelines magically build themselves, but because of a change of attitude. “There will be a lot of companies willing to take more of chance, to drill a new well, hire a new employee, buy a couple of new trucks – just because they feel better about the future.” (Source: Edmonton Sun)

NDP TUNED OUT AND FINISHED: The Calgary Sun’s Rick Bell said people weren’t even listening to the NDP’s campaign. “This vote is a slap in the face to all those, including many in the out-of-touch chattering classes, who misread what Albertans wanted. You in the NDP thought it was far better to make the campaign about sliming Jason Kenney than talking about your plan and what you would do. Until it was too late.” (Source: MUCK RACK)

KENNEY RAN A POLITICAL MARATHON: Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella said the “beating heart (of Alberta) is back. It’s fit and it’s ready to battle countless marathons ahead of it to stand up for Alberta.” Corbella outlined Kenney’s journey from two years, nine months, and eleven days ago to when he first announced he would seek the leadership of the pining Progressive Conservatives in 2016. After winning the PC leadership he then united the right, won the UCP leadership and finally, became Premier of Alberta. Corbella noted Notley’s support for the Trans Mountain pipeline couldn’t wipe out the record of her active fight against Northern Gateway. “The oilpatch never forgot or forgave Notley for that betrayal. Albertans knew Notley’s anti-pipeline leopard spots were barely covered under her designer blazers.” (Source: Calgary Herald)

SCHEER PRAISES UCP VICTORY: Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted his support for Kenney on election night.  “Congratulations to my friend (Jason Kenney) on his victory in Alberta tonight!” Scheer said. “Looking forward to working with Premier Kenney and the new (Alberta UCP) government to help Albertans get back to work and back on track.” (Source: Global News) 

TRUDEAU ATTACKS KENNEY ON POLLUTION: It was not a close call. Despite all the hand-wringing, all the reminders that the polls had gotten it wrong in Alberta before, in the end the province’s election unfolded precisely as expected: Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party won, handily, said the National Post. Trudeau was asked in Kitchener, Ont., earlier Tuesday whether he was concerned about his climate plan should Kenney win. “We have chosen to put a price on pollution right across the country and there are conservative politicians who are using taxpayer money to fight a price on pollution in court,” he responded. “They are using your dollars to try to make pollution free again, which makes no sense.”

FORD IN FAVOUR OF UCP WIN: Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario tweeted his congratulations to Kenney, the next Premier of Alberta. “Albertans finally have a leader to make their province open for business and open for jobs. And Ontario has another strong partner that will fight for Canadian families against the job-killing carbon tax!” (Source: Global News) 

LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING TOGETHER: British Columbia Premier John Horgan sent tweets to both Kenney and Notley as results came in Tuesday night, thanking Notley for her service to Albertans and congratulations to Kenney on his election win. “I look forward to working together in the interests of both our provinces.” Horgan said. (Source: Global News)

TRUDEAU LOSES ALLY: Althia Raj with the Huffington Post said that with Rachel Notley’s defeat on Tuesday, Prime Minister Trudeau lost an ally, but after having lost so much credibility on the pipeline issue, also gained an opportunity to rebrand himself. (Source: Huffington Post)

KENNEY MOTIVATED BY YOUNG VOTER: During his acceptance speech Kenney shared the story of a conversation he had with a 17 year old three years ago, who was carrying the burden of sole supporter for his family. Kenney is thrilled that he can now keep his promise to bring change. “To that young man wherever he is, I have thought of you every day for the past three years, along with hundreds of other Albertans who have shared their stories of adversity. To them we say: we have finally got it done.” (Source: Global News)

KENNEY – SYMBOL OF ALBERTAN ANGST: Chris Varcoe with the Calgary Herald said Kenney channelled Albertans intense feelings of frustration during his 28-day campaign, giving voice to their fears and worries about the future. Varcoe quoted political analyst David Taras who summed the situation up well, “He (Kenney) didn’t create the anger, but he certainly became a symbol of Alberta’s anger.” (Source: Calgary Herald)

SAVAGE READY TO GET GOING: UCP candidate Sonya Savage won the Calgary Northwest riding and has been tabbed by political analysts as a possible cabinet minister. Savage said the campaign was a lot more divisive online than it was on the ground and the UCP had a message and platform to address the important issues Albertans were most focused on. “My number one priority will be fighting back against Trudeau. The campaign was nasty, but there’s lots of work to do so we’ll just move on and leave that (nastiness) behind us. Alberta needs to write its own policy instead of letting Ottawa write it.”

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The Edmonton Journal’s Keith Gerein said the constant campaign mode Kenney has been in for more than two years has finally paid off. The work however, is far from over. “As Albertans’ choice to steer the provincial government, Kenney heads to the premier’s office facing the weight of great expectations, a deeply divided province to mollify, and a long list of promises to keep.” (Source: Edmonton Journal)

NOT A CLOSE CALL: By 4 a.m MT Wednesday the UCP had been elected in 63 out of 87 ridings, leaving the last 24 to the NDP, most of which are in Edmonton. Kenney entered his campaign headquarters at Calgary’s stampede grounds Tuesday night in his famous blue Dodge pickup and told crowds chanting “build that pipe” that it should be “build those pipes” because Alberta needs not just one, but several pipelines. “Today, we Albertans begins begin to fight back,” said the designate premier. (Source: National Post)

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