You may have seen a bright blue Dodge Ram driving in Lloydminster on Friday, August 5, with the slogan “Unite Alberta” on it. That would have been Jason Kenney stopping in on his Unite Alberta Truck Tour.
The MP of Calgary-Midnapore is seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. With the leadership vote still 7 months away, Kenney isn’t wasting any time. He kicked off his tour last week in Edmonton and made stops in Vermilion, Lloydminter, and Wainwright on Friday–just a few of stops on his trek to visit 87 ridings and all major Alberta communities in the coming months.
If he is elected leader of the PCs, Kenney’s key mission is to unite the PCs and Wildrose.
“I’m asking for a mandate from the PC members to negotiate the creation of a new united free enterprise party next year. And if I get that mandate from the PC side, I’m very confident the Wildrose Party will pursue that merger. Brian Jean, their leader, for whom I have very great respect, has said that he’s waiting for a ‘willing dance partner.’ I’m proposing to be that dance partner. It takes two to tango,” explained Kenney.
At his stop in Lloydminster, Kenney spoke with community members out at Top Grade Construction in Kams Industrial Park, a few kilometers west of town. Two municipal-representative-hopefuls were in attendance: Gerald Aalbers, who intends to run for mayor and Jonathan Torresan, who is eyeing up a spot on City Council.
As the beer tax was officially implemented on the Friday that he was in town, Kenney took the opportunity to express his views on the $1.25 markup.
“I stopped by in Slave Lake yesterday and filled up my pickup box with some Alberta local brews because I was trying to avoid the NDP beer tax… so it’s just going to make that cost of living so much higher for Albertans. By the way, did the NDP run on a platform to raise beer taxes? No, they didn’t. It’s just another part of their hidden agenda. And now, they’re going to spin off a subsidy to some beer makers and not others. This is what happens with a socialist government. They end up making a bad situation worse and I just think it shows just how out of touch they are.”
Kenney also had a fair bit to say about the NDP’s proposed carbon tax, literally pleading with the government not to make that move in one of his statements.
“This is not just about oil prices. Ralph Klein balanced the budget, lowered taxes, and we had a stronger economy, with more jobs, at $20 oil, and even at $10 oil. Oil prices are now $45 or $50 a barrel. The NDP cannot blame global commodity prices for the dire predicament that they’re putting us in in this province. So I would say first, do no harm. Please, NDP, do not actually impose that carbon tax.”
The subject of the carbon tax has already sparked much debate and quite a bit of backlash. Another hot button issue is the provincial unemployment rate, which is higher than ever.
“I think this is devastating news for Alberta. Unemployment has gone up from 5 to nearly 10 per cent, since the NDP came of office 13 months ago. Youth unemployment is up to 24%, and insolvencies and bankruptcies are up, incomes are down, the provincial debt is going through the ceiling, and the NDP’s response to all of this is higher taxes,” said Kenney.
Overall, Kenney says the response to the tour so far has been positive and that he’s encountered many Albertans who are desperate to get rid of the NDP.