United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney pledged his unabashed support for the province’s energy sector in his speech on Saturday, promising to defend it from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Government of British Columbia and “foreign-funded special interests.”
Kenney appeared at a packed Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, in front of nearly 2,600 members at the party’s founding convention.
“We will fight back for our economic survival. We will fight back for our future prosperity so we have the resources to help the most vulnerable. We will fight back because it’s the right thing to do,” Kenney said.
“I will never say, as our Premier did, that our energy industry makes Alberta the embarrassing cousin that no one wants to talk about.”
Some of the actions he would take if elected as Premier include repealing the carbon tax and launching a court challenge should the federal government impose one of its own.
Also, Kenney said a UCP government would pass a law banning foreign money from being spent by special interests during provincial elections and advocate on behalf of the energy industry, which he called “the most environmentally-responsible oil and gas industry on earth.”
As for the B.C. government, which has vowed to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, he said they would cut the flow of oil to the province.
“If John Horgan is having a hard time right now, explaining gas prices at a buck-sixty per litre, wait until we turn off the taps and it hits $3 a litre,” Kenney said.
“Maybe then, the B.C. New Democrats and even the Greens will understand that their economy is not fueled by dilithium crystals or pixie dust but by Alberta crude oil.”
Kenney’s speech praised how the conservative unity movement came together and encouraged members to stay united amid policy differences.
The party leader also spoke briefly about the education system, that the Alberta NDP is “re-writing the curriculum in secret,” calling it the “deepest damage” the government would inflict.
In an early instance of going off-script, Kenney called for more civility in politics, denouncing those who have made death threats against Premier Rachel Notley.
“When those threats are made against women in public life, it’s usually particularly pernicious and totally unacceptable, often playing off of misogyny,” he said.
“I know there’s a lot of frustrated and anxious Albertans but I want to send a message to them tonight. Your frustration never justifies lashing out or these kinds of vicious personal attacks and if you feel that’s what you need to do, well shame on you and you’re not welcome in the United Conservative Party.”