Jason Kenney: Here's what the rest of Canada should know about Alberta's new premier
Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party won a landslide victory in Alberta’s provincial election late Tuesday evening — bringing four years of NDP government to an end.
In his acceptance speech, premier-designate Kenney pledged to revive Alberta’s troubled oil and gas sector, scale back on environmental policies and cut taxes.
The former federal Conservative cabinet minister left his seat in Ottawa in 2016 and announced plans to run for the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party. A year later, after a merger with the Wildrose Party, Kenney became leader of the new United Conservative Party.
In case you haven’t been paying attention to the Alberta election, here are some key promises Kenney promised during the campaign trail.
WATCH: Kenney outlines how he would kickstart Alberta’s energy sector
Scrap carbon tax
Kenney joins a growing list of Conservative premiers who are fighting the federally-imposed carbon tax. He has pledged to scrap Alberta’s $30-a-tonne carbon tax the NDP introduced in 2017.
But, any province that doesn’t come up with its own carbon-pricing regime will face a federal “backstop,” a carbon tax that will start at $20 a tonne and then grow by $10 each year before it hits $50 in 2022.
Kenney has vowed to challenge the tax in court — just as Ontario is currently doing.
The UCP is planning to replace it with a program known as Technology Innovation and Emissions Reductions (TIER), which targets large greenhouse-gas emitters and is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
WATCH: UCP leader Jason Kenney says carbon tax is the ‘biggest lie’ in Alberta history
Referendum on equalization payments
During his campaign, Kenney promised to hold a referendum on removing equalization from the Canadian constitution if there is no progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline extension.
The federal equalization program is meant to address fiscal disparities between so-called “have” and “have-not” provinces by giving money to the have-nots. Despite its economic slowdown, Alberta remains a “have” province.
The matter would be put before voters on Oct. 18, 2021, which would be the date of the next municipal elections in Alberta, he said.
WATCH: Trudeau says Jason Kenney helped negotiate equalization formula
‘Turn off the taps’ on oil, gas shipments to B.C.
Last week, Kenney promised to “turn off the taps” of gasoline “within an hour” of being sworn in as Alberta premier in response to B.C.’s court challenges against the Trans Mountain pipeline extension.
The Alberta NDP passed Bill 12 last spring. It would give the province authority to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much product could be shipped and when.
Specifically, it would give Alberta the green light to restrict oil gas shipments to B.C. if the province continues to stand in the war of the pipeline project.
Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause price spikes in gas at the pumps along with other related fuel fees. However, economists have warned that Alberta would be losing out on almost a million dollars a day by shutting off oil and gas to B.C.
Bill 12 was never put into force, but now Kenney wants to enforce it.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said he would simply look south of the border or to Asia to offset any loss of energy imports from Alberta.
WATCH: Kenney would use turn-off-the-taps legislation against B.C.
Taxpayer-funded ‘war room’
During the campaign, Kenney reiterated the UCP’s intention to fight “fake news and share the truth” about Alberta’s energy industry.
The plan would include a war room, with a $30 million budget, staffed by mostly public servants to respond to critics, which he called the “green left.”
“The special interests have targeted Alberta oil and not Saudi, Venezuelan, or Russian oil because they saw us as the boy scouts, the soft target,” Kenney said. “We will pass a law banning foreign money from being spent by special interests during Alberta elections.”
He said he would also strip provincial funding from anti-oilsands groups and challenge the charitable status of foundations, like the David Suzuki Foundation.
Suzuki has been highly critical of Alberta’s oilsands and has called for it to be shut down.
WATCH: UCP leader on war room to battle oil industry myths
Cut wait times on energy projects
Kenney said if elected, his government would reduce wait times on energy projects by half to try to make them the fastest in North America.
He said his government would intervene at all National Energy Board hearings that affected Alberta’s oil and gas interests.
— With files from Global News’s Jesse Ferreras, Jessica Vomiero and the Candian Press