UCP Leader Jason Kenney made a stop in Red Deer Saturday afternoon. He announced new policies and then met with supporters later in the afternoon. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

UCP Leader Jason Kenney made a stop in Red Deer Saturday afternoon. He announced new policies and then met with supporters later in the afternoon. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

Conservative Leader Jason Kenney made some new election promises during his stop in Red Deer Saturday afternoon.

These specific measures in what he called his nine-point plan would give Alberta more control and ‘a fair deal in the federation.’

One such point involves equalization reform, which he said would use the, “Prospect of a referendum on equalization as leverage for federal action to complete a coastal pipeline.”

If elected, he said, his government would demand reforms to the current ‘unfair formula,’ such as excluding non-renewable revenues from the calculation of fiscal capacity.

This would also include penalties for provinces with policies that “artificially reduce their fiscal capacities,” such as Quebec and Nova Scotia, which have a fracking ban and don’t develop their natural gas, he said.

“Quebec learned a long time ago that, in this country, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. They made a lot of noise and they made a lot of demands and they have had a lot of referendums and that’s why they have got the best deal in the country of all the provinces.

“I think it’s time we took a page out of Quebec’s playbook — not on separatism — but on a forceful assertion of our fight for fairness.”

The nine-point plan announced Saturday also included converting the Canada health transfer and Canada social transfer to tax points for the provinces.

Kenney said he would stop the Trudeau-Notley payroll tax hike, seek what he called fairness in employment insurance, as well as create ‘pre-approved, guaranteed land corridors for Canadian products to each market.’

On the topic of the Red Deer Regional Hospital, Kenney said the UCP government would be committed to expanding and modernizing the hospital. He criticized the NDP government for taking the hospital off the priority infrastructure list.

“When it comes to determining what are the key healthcare infrastructure priorities, that should be done in a non-political way based on the local needs and the age of the hospital and the pressure on that local hospital.

“We would make an objective assessment about which of Alberta’s hospitals have to come first on the list. But Red Deer hospital would absolutely be on our healthcare infrastructure list and we would proceed forward with that as soon as possible.”

Red Deer’s hospital was removed from the Alberta Health Services priority list in 2017 but has since been added back on.

In response to a question about concern over whether the Conservative party would cut healthcare funding, Kenney said he has signed the United Conservative Health-Care Guarantee. He said this ensures the Conservative party would maintain or increase current levels of healthcare funding and maintain the publicly funded, universally accessible system Alberta currently has.

Kenney also addressed some of the controversies his party faces at the moment, specifically related to Calgary pastor Jeremy Wong, a party candidate, who has been accused of allegedly supporting gay conversion therapy in the past.

“I think this is just a distraction. It’s much ado about nothing,” he said. “We oppose anything that would be coercive … Mr. Wong has been clear. He said he repudiated conversion therapy, he has never been involved in it. I think Albertans want to talk about jobs, the economy and pipelines.”

After the press conference, Kenney met with roughly 1,000 supporters at UCP candidate for Red Deer-North Adriana LaGrange’s campaign office. There, the UCP leader pushed his position on getting Trudeau to complete a coastal pipeline.

“If we do not get completion of a coastal pipeline, we will give Albertans an opportunity on voting to remove equalization from the Canadian constitution.”

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

Just Posted

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Most Read