Kenney vows oil fight as Conservatives regain power in Alberta

Alberta Premier-elect Jason Kenney speaks at a campaign stop in Edmonton on April 15. Image: Twitter/Jason Kenney

Alberta returned to its conservative roots, electing United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney premier by a large majority after he vowed to fight harder for the Canadian province’s beleaguered energy industry.

Kenney defeated centre-left incumbent Rachel Notley, 55, whose New Democratic Party snapped four decades of conservative rule in 2015.

Kenney’s election may herald big changes for Alberta’s energy industry, which produces more oil than most OPEC members and has the world’s third-largest petroleum resources.

He’s vowed to get stalled pipelines built, scrap the province’s carbon tax, and create a “war room” to hit back at anti-oilsands campaigners. He also pledged to cut corporate taxes and balance the province’s books in his first term.

Kenney, 50, a former Cabinet member under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, tapped into voter frustration over the failure to get pipelines completed, which has battered oilsands prices and sparked an exodus of capital by energy firms like Shell, ConocoPhillips and Kinder Morgan. Alberta, traditionally one of the richest provinces in Canada, now has among the highest jobless rates and one of the weakest economies in the country.

“Albertans have elected a government that will be obsessed with getting this province back to work, a team that will do everything in our power every single day to create tens of thousands of good jobs,” Kenney said at a victory rally in Calgary.

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