PM’s ‘grand bargain’ on energy died on Alberta election day: Kenney

byRachel Aiello, Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer @rachaiello

Premier-designate Jason Kenney says that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s so-called “grand bargain” of seeking to advance resource development by gaining the approval of those with environmental concerns died on Alberta’s election day.

“Yeah, that bargain with the Notley government ended on election day. And it was from our perspective, and I think the vast majority of Alberta voters, a complete failure,” said the United Conservative leader in an interview on CTV’s Question Period.

Kenney said that the federal Liberals’ idea of “social licence” is a “sham.”

Trudeau came to power pledging to both bring more Canadian oil and gas resources to market, while implementing a national climate change plan meant to make meaningful emissions reductions. Seemingly at odds, the Liberals believed that doing the latter would create more support for big energy projects.

In Alberta the clearest example of this was seen by some as the introduction of a carbon tax in exchange for approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline, but Kenney says that plan has failed.

“We didn’t see one single environmental group, provincial, municipal, government, First Nation, anybody move from ‘no’ to ’yes’ on pipelines as a result… all we got was stronger opposition to resource development and pipelines,” he said.

In his first appearance on the show since winning a decisive majority government in Tuesday’s provincial election, Kenney spoke about his plans to make it known that Alberta is “open for business,” and his intention to fight for “a fair deal” for Albertans.

Much of his campaign was spent attacking Trudeau and vowing to fight the federal government on a bouquet of matters. Kenney said that while he is open to finding common ground, if that doesn’t materialize, he’s prepared to use every tool to push the issues that matter to the people of his province to the fore.

In a separate interview on CTV’s Question Period, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said that regardless of the incoming UCP government the Liberals plan to stay their course when it comes to tackling climate change, and that there is already common ground in wanting to see Alberta’s oil and gas get to world markets.

“We really do want to work with Alberta,” Garneau said.

Carbon tax fight headed to ballot box

While both sides have shared messages of hope when it comes to working collaboratively, Kenney is already making it clear that he will “do what I can to elect a federal Conservative government” in the upcoming fall federal election campaign. “I make no apologies for that,” Kenney said.

He said that ultimately, the polls will be where Trudeau will be most strongly challenged on his carbon tax.

“If there’s a change of government there will be no federal carbon tax,” he said. In the meantime he is working to form an “interprovincial coalition that is pro-energy, pro-pipeline.”


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