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Kenney: 'Fort McMurray, don't take this for granted'

PHOTO. Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Laila Goodridge defends the recently released 2019 Alberta Budget and addresses claims by the Alberta NDP of a $4.5-billion handout to large corporations. Goodridge, seen left, with Premier Jason Kenney in a 2018 byelection photo. File Photo.

Jason Kenney was in Fort McMurray for the second time in two weeks campaigning with Laila Goodridge.

The United Conservative Party is hoping to hold onto their seat that was left open when Brian Jean stepped down at the end of March.

Kenney has gone door knocking with Goodridge and said the main concern they’ve heard is in regards to the economy.

“I think people here have a sense that we need a provincial government that is going to stop being apologetic about the industry that drives Alberta’s prosperity and start fighting for it,” said Kenney. “I can tell you one thing, I am scrapper and so is Laila.”

Kenney said the UCP is taking this by-election very seriously, adding that there is a reason the NDP government called the election in the middle of the summer.

“[Voter] Turnout will be very low. Which means a highly organized campaign by the NDP and it’s interest groups could upset us in this riding. This is an opportunity for Fort McMurray people to send a message to stop raising the carbon tax, stand up for our oil and gas industry and racking up $100-billion debt.”

Kenney mentioned that while the Fort McMurray-Conklin riding is historically conservative and that they have a great candidate and a great campaign, the possibility of them losing the riding is very real.

“There is only 15,000 eligible voters in Fort McMurray-Conklin, last election only about 6,000 voted. Typically, only half of that show up at a by-election and it is in the middle of the summer. That’s why we’re saying to Fort McMurray, don’t take this for granted.”

Kenney believes if Goodridge is elected, she will be a strong local representative.

Goodridge has previous political experience, working with Brian Jean, Tany Yao and she was an advisor to a senior federal environment minister.

“She is better experienced to be an MLA than many of the ministers of the current NDP government are. She also brings a typical Fort McMurray toughness that I want in our caucus,” said Kenney.

The by-election is on July 12.

Advanced polls run from July 3-7.