VIDEO: Kenney takes blowtorch to NDP policies in 2019, aims for jobs progress in 2020

The NDP’s long-term plan to move the electricity system to a capacity market was scrapped

In 2019, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney made good on his promise to take a blowtorch to core policies enacted by the former NDP government.

In 2020, the goal of the United Conservative Party leader will be to get traction on his signature promises to bring in more jobs, boost the economy, get more pipelines going and balance the books in three years.

He’ll need to do it as Albertans grapple with higher costs for tuition, school and municipal fees flowing from Kenney’s first budget, while public sector workers promise push back on looming layoffs and job cuts.

Kenney says the goal is to communicate the message but not lose resolve.

“I didn’t go through all of this work in the past three years, working to unite (the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties), two warring factions — all of this work, to sit in this office and preside over a broken status quo,” Kenney said in a year-end interview.

“I priced in that there would be protest when we tried to bring fiscal balance back to Alberta or focus on private-sector economic growth.”

En route to winning the April election, Kenney promised rapid action to liberate an oil-and-gas-based economy he said was plodding in mud due to federal policies, foreign-funded activism and NDP tax and fee hikes.

Change was quick and acrimonious as Kenney, facing former premier Rachel Notley as Opposition leader, hurled insults and accusations across the aisle in two legislative sittings.

The UCP ended the NDP’s consumer carbon tax on gasoline and home heating, saying it didn’t help the environment but hurt the economy. That tax will be replaced in the new year with a federal one.

The NDP corporate income tax rise will be gone by the new year, reduced to 10 per cent from 12, and will eventually be cut to eight per cent.

NDP minimum wage hikes for youth were cut to help get more of them hired. The sweeping NDP education curriculum revamp was halted and is under review.

A publicly funded superlab for drug testing was tossed out. NDP workplace rules and injury insurance for farms were overhauled, exempting small operations.

The NDP’s long-term plan to move the electricity system to a capacity market was scrapped.

While the NDP focused on public delivery of health care, Kenney’s UCP is ratcheting up more private delivery of public care to reduce wait-lists.

The NDP froze public sector staffing but avoided deep cuts. This spring, though, nurses and health support workers have been warned that layoffs may be coming.

The NDP have accused the UCP of governing for its own benefit, rewarding boardroom buddies by reducing the corporate tax and firing the elections watchdog who had been investigating the party. They say voters have been suckered in a bait and switch, given Kenney promised to continue current funding of education and health care as before, then failing in the October budget to match money to inflation and population growth.

The UCP has seen recent popularity poll numbers sag.

But Kenney said he expects shipping more oil by rail, eventually getting more out via the Line 3 project to Wisconsin and the Trans Mountain expansion to the British Columbia coast. And a leaner, more effective public service and a balanced budget will be the rising economic tide to lift all boats.

The government needs to continue to communicate not the what, but the why, Kenney said.

“This is what conservatives often are not good at. Usually we kind of put on our green eye shade and sharpen our pencils to add up the sums and we don’t explain why are we doing that.

“If people see the benefits of reform, ultimately, they will support it. But if you get spooked by entrenched opposition, then why are you even bothering?”

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woofs and Laughs coming to Lacombe Memorial Centre

Comedy night supports Saving Grave Animal Society

Lacombe County fire permit season begins March 1

Lacombe County reminds people that permit requests are free and easy to submit online

Lacombe IODE chapter supports Alberta Council of Womens Shelters

Lord Lascelles Chapter looking to raise $100,000 for children exposed to domestic violence

New municipal assessor appointed for the City of Lacombe

Council awarded the assessment services contract to and appointed Wild Rose Assessment Services Inc

New bylaw hours changes service delivery in Lacombe

Council approved changes to the Enforcement Services schedule

WATCH: Night Among the Stars Celebrity Dance-off supports Lacombe BBBS

Over $12,000 raised for Dancer’s Edge Parents Association and Lacombe BBBS

Courts to decide regarding Ponoka County’s north-west area structure plan

Ponoka Right To Farm Society versus Ponoka County

Canada prepared to monitor for community spread of COVID-19: Tam

The U.S. confirmed one case of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, in California Thursday

11-year-old Sylvan Lake burn survivor using his story to inspire others

Kaden Howard was recently named the 2020 Champion Child for the Stollery in Edmonton

Conservative MP questions whether rail blockades constitute terrorism

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett travelled to B.C. to meet Indigenous leaders

Lawsuit over African mine can be heard in British Columbia: Supreme Court

B.C. courts dismissed Nevsun’s attempts to make Eritrea the forum for any lawsuit proceedings

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Winners and losers in Alberta’s 2020 budget

UCP government has tabled a new 20-per-cent tax on vaping devices and liquids

‘Finer focus on job creation:’ Alberta government files red-ink budget

Projected deficit of $6.8 billion on revenues of $50 billion

Most Read