UCP Leader Jason Kenney sets new tone in first Alberta question period

Jason Kenney’s first question period in the Alberta legislature Monday was a tame affair, certainly compared to the expectations that came with it, mostly due to the instructions he gave to his caucus to act professionally.

Kenney, the leader of the official Opposition United Conservative Party, asked his first set of questions to little fanfare from MLAs on his side of the house. 

Afterwards, he confirmed his party’s MLAs have been told to not thump their desks or heckle the government. 

“I think people who tune in actually want to be able to hear their legislators and what they’re saying,” Kenney told reporters afterwards. “Endless, pointless background noise inhibits that.”

Kenney’s questions to Premier Rachel Notley focused on the need for a carbon tax, especially since it hasn’t helped Alberta get a pipeline to the West Coast.

“Our point is the social-licence-equals-pipeline strategy of the NDP is a total failure and they should go back to the drawing board on it,” he said.

Kenney ran out of his 30-second time allotment with some of his first questions but eventually the House of Commons veteran got his timing back.

“I’ve got some bad habits to unlearn from 19 years in Ottawa,” he said with a smile. “The Speaker lets you finish your sentence. I’m sure I’ll figure that out. Maybe we’ll attach a little buzzer to me or something.”

The legislature will spend the rest of Monday’s sitting debating a motion introduced by Notley, which seeks to have the legislature endorse the need for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The UCP plans to introduce some amendments to the wording of the motion.

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