Jason Kenney vowed in a fiery speech to a hotel ballroom packed full of United Conservative Party members that he will fight the “green left,” and cut off the foreign money he says is being spent by “anti-Alberta” groups.
The UCP leader outlined his strategies he would take to defend the oil and gas industry in an hour-long speech that frequently brought the crowd to its feet.
“If I am elected premier of Alberta, I will not relent. I will go to the wall. I will form alliances. I will go to court,” Kenney proclaimed. “I will use every tool available to defend this province.”
These tools include setting up a “fully-staffed, rapid response war room” within government to defend the resource sector and, “effectively rebut every lie told by the green left.”
Kenney also pledged to establish a legislature special committee to investigate foreign funding behind “the anti-Alberta special interests.”
“We will go to court if necessary to get the federal government to strip charitable status from bogus charities like Tides Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation,” he said.
Kenney plans to travel to Ottawa Monday to appear before the House of Commons finance committee. He plans to bring the party’s anti-carbon tax resolution that will likely be passed on Sunday.
The hour-long speech, which Kenney said he wrote himself, repeated many familiar themes.
He criticized the NDP government for taking too long to fight for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, allying themselves too closely with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and for turning the province into as a “fiscal train wreck.”
But Kenney was rewarded with his biggest cheers of the night for stating the NDP was “re-writing the curriculum in secret” and engaging in social engineering in the classroom.
“If the NDP tries to smuggle more of their politics into the classroom through their curriculum, we will put that curriculum through the shredder,” he said.
He also addressed a CBC News story that revealed Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has received at least 11 death threats since she took office three years ago.
Kenney said frustration with the NDP government does not justify those kinds of vicious, personal attacks.
“If you feel that’s what you need to do, well, shame on you and you’re not welcome in the United Conservative Party,” Kenney said.
Kenney was preceded by former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who played to the crowd with jabs at the NDP governments in Alberta and British Columbia and self-depreciating remarks about his life after politics.
“Thank you for all the advice about my beard,” Wall joked about his new look. “Not really interested.
“I’m going to shave it off when we defeat the carbon tax. Based on this room, I’m think we’re closer to that than we ever thought.”
Wall said if Kenney becomes premier, Saskachetwan will have an ally in fighting against the federal government’s carbon tax.