EDMONTON — Alberta incoming premier Jason Kenney met with his caucus Friday and told members that their United Conservative election win is already starting to ripple through the economy.
“All week long, I've been receiving calls from CEOs from major corporations across Canada and around the world who want to invest in Alberta now,” Kenney said in a speech Friday bookended by standing ovations at Edmonton's Federal Building.
“People are making real, tangible life decisions — buying new houses, investing, unfreezing business decisions — because of the decision that Albertans made on election day.”
Kenney and his cabinet will be sworn in Tuesday.
His United Conservatives won 63 seats and 55 per cent of the vote in last week's election, defeating Premier Rachel Notley's NDP.
The NDP took the remaining 24 seats — all but four of them in and around Edmonton. The party will become the official Opposition when the legislature resumes sitting in the third week of May.
Kenney takes the rudder of a fragile economy, with unemployment rates in Calgary and Edmonton above seven per cent, due to a multi-year slump in oil prices.
Kenney won on a promise to slash taxes, cut red tape and reduce minimum wage for youth to embolden entrepreneurs and create jobs.
He also promised to take on all foes of Alberta's oil and gas sector, with an energy war room to counter misleading stories on the industry.
There will also be lawsuits against the federal carbon tax and on Bill C-69, which is proposed federal legislation to revamp energy project approvals. Kenney has called the bill an unconstitutional encroachment on provincial jurisdiction.
He has also promised to immediately proclaim Bill 12, which was passed by the legislature under Notley, but never formally made into law. The bill allows Alberta to reduce oil and gas shipments to British Columbia as leverage against the province's opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
B.C. has already challenged Bill 12 in court, but saw its case tossed out because — given the bill hadn't been proclaimed — there was no law to challenge.
Notley said Kenny, by proclaiming Bill 12, gains no strategic advantage by reopening that debate.
“The proclamation of Bill 12 next week is simply political posturing and bluster,” she said. “It amounts to blowing up your biggest weapon on the launch pad, and Albertans deserve better.”
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