Sask. premier pleased to have a political ally in Jason Kenney
Alberta’s premier-designate Jason Kenney is preparing to form government with the United Conservative Party. The UCP scored a majority victory in Alberta’s election, claiming 63 of the province’s 87 seats.
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe is pleased to have another ally in the fight against the federal government’s carbon tax.
“You have five provinces that are opposed to the federal carbon tax, Alberta being one of the fifth representing over 60 per cent of the population in the nation of Canada,” Moe said.
“It’s time now for our prime minister to revisit this policy.”
Kenney has signaled that his first order of business once forming government would be to scrap the Alberta NDP’s carbon tax, and launch its own court challenge against the federal model.
Saskatchewan was the first province to launch a court challenge, which was heard in the province’s Court of Appeal in February. Ontario’s court challenge took place this week, Manitoba initially decided against a court challenge, but is now pursuing one. New Brunswick has acted as an intervener in each case.
Moe feels momentum building behind an opposition movement that began in Saskatchewan.
“When a carbon tax is on the ballot, the people that stand up for the industries and the working people in that jurisdiction and oppose that ineffective carbon tax proposal win,” Moe said. “The party that supports the Justin Trudeau carbon tax have been losing.”
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been working to make the carbon tax a ballot issue in the Oct. 21 federal election.
Global News Ottawa bureau chief and host of “The West Block” Mercedes Stephenson said that wedge stands to benefit both sides.
“It does work for the Liberals in some ways because it does work to get voters on side who are more environmentally minded and who are in favour of the carbon tax, so to some degree this plays well on both sides,” she said.
Once Moe has a chance to call Kenney, he plans on congratulating his Alberta counterpart on the victory, and discuss areas of common interest to advance the energy industry.
Kenney has voiced a desire to hold a referendum on equalization. While this is a federal issue, and a single province can’t change the formula, Moe said a referendum would compel Ottawa to listen.
Moe added holding an equalization referendum in Saskatchewan could be an idea worth entertaining.
Both leaders are strong advocates for pipelines. Kenney has said that the UCP will introduce legislation to “turn off the taps” on B.C. getting Alberta oil if they continue blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
When then-Premier Rachel Notely mulled this idea, the Saskatchewan government introduced provisions to stop Saskatchewan oil from reaching B.C. if Alberta acted.
Moe said this policy would need to be revisited if Saskatchewan decided to avoid filling B.C.’s tanks, as the provisions have since expired.
Even with Kenney in power, Stephenson expects the inter-provincial pipeline feuds are far from over.
“British Columbia and Quebec, two of the places that Alberta would like to run pipelines to, are saying absolutely no way, we don’t want your oil here. So there’s going to be a lot of inter-provincial tension, and tension between the federal government and Alberta over pipelines going forward,” she said.
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