In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Alberta’s United Conservative Leader says he will rollback the socialist polices of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the province.
Jason Kenney spoke to TheDC Saturday while visiting Ottawa as a featured speaker at the annual Manning Networking Conference, a vital event that brings fiscal and social conservative groups together to discuss policy and political strategy.
He thinks conservatives will “be able to undo the damage of the NDP and once again turn Alberta into — in many ways — the leader of the Canadian federation.”
Kenney has achieved something of a political miracle in the last 12 months: first successfully winning the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, merging the party with the right-of-center Wildrose Party and then becoming leader of the newly formed United Conservative Party (UCP). Some predicted disaster for Kenney when he left federal politics after serving as a high-profile and highly quotable cabinet minister in the previous Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Kenney says that he would never have started the political odyssey if he “thought I couldn’t do it.”
“I didn’t think success was guaranteed. It was hugely ambitious and a little bit crazy to take on.”
What are Kenney’s goals for early 2019? “First of all reinvigorating our economy by restoring investor confidence. Secondly…repealing the carbon tax as the first act of government. And thirdly, scrapping the NDP’s planned rewrite of our school curriculum and redeveloping the curriculum to focus on teaching essential knowledge and skills to kids and ensuring a robust system of school choice.”
Additionally, Kenney is not afraid to deal with what the Canadian left likes to refer to as “contentious social issues” like abortion and gender-neutral bathrooms. He says he believes in free votes and listening to the people.
“Freedom Of conscience is the first fundamental freedom created in the [Canadian] Charter of Rights; it is a universal human right and freedom of conscience must be respected in our legislatures as well…A party leader has no business dictating conscience votes,” he told TheDC.
When asked how the most conservative province in Canada elected a quasi-socialist government in the first place, Kenney added that “a lot of conservative voters cast a their ballot for the NDP thinking it was a risk-free protest vote and those folks woke up with a bad hangover the next morning.”
He also pointed to polls showing him holding a large lead over Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP, as a sign of a strong conservative movement in the province.
“Albertans continue to believe in free enterprise values, fiscal responsibility… opposing tax increases, opposing the carbon tax and supporting parental responsibility, in school choice — you name it.”