Alberta’s new Conservative party leader isn’t letting Alberta’s socialist premier get under his skin. Jason Kenney told CTV News that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s suggestions that he is too conservative for mainstream voters is just “crazy talk.”
He put the Trudeau government on notice as well, saying he would fight any imposition of a carbon tax on his oil-rich province while remaining vigilant to ensure that the federal government’s plans to legalize marijuana won’t endanger youth.
After Kenney took the leadership for the United Conservative Party last weekend in a decisive first ballot victory, Notley was quick to accuse the former federal defense minister of representing a “job-killing, gay-outing, school-cutting, health privatizing, backward-looking, hope destroying, divisive agenda.”
The new provincial oppositon leader dismissed the string of barbs as nothing more than the “transparent desperation” of Notley and her leftist New Democratic Party.
“They’re turning the volume knob on the anger machine up to 10, 20 months before the next election. My advice to them would be just calm down a notch, because you’re going to lose Albertans by using that kind of massively overblown rhetoric,” he said. “I guess the only play they have is that kind of crazy talk.”
Kenney believes it is important for his new party to become the next government in Alberta, not only for conservatives in his province but for the country as well.
“I think this is a hugely important step forward for common-sense values in Alberta, but also the Conservative movement nationally,” said Kenney.
“I felt we couldn’t really have renewal of the national Conservative movement without Alberta coming back.”
Kenney is also refusing to be cowed by Notley’s suggestion that parents have no right to know if their children opt to join the so-called “gay-straight alliance” clubs that now proliferate in the provincial school system. He said that “mainstream values in Alberta” support parents being informed about decisions on sexuality that their children might make at school.
Despite further criticism from Notley, Kenney would not be pushed from his past support of social conservative issues, saying that he endorses free votes in the provincial legislature to decide vexing policy matters. “When divisive or difficult issues occasionally arise, you deal with them with mutual respect,” he told CTV’s Question Period.