With less than a week before the election, United Conservative leader Jason Kenney paid a visit to Wood Buffalo.
Kenney shared his government’s plans for the region if elected.
“The biggest issue here is our energy industry and we have a whole strategy to fight back for the industry against the Trudeau government, and the special interests that have been landlocking our energy.”
He blames the special interests for forcing industry south of the border, reducing investment, and flatlining the region’s population.
Kenney promised to fight proposed federal legislation on project assessment in court as both unconstitutional and as a major deterrent to future megaprojects.
Of course, energy and megaprojects together mean pipelines.
Jason Kenney shared his plans for pipeline construction.
“We are going to create alliances with pro-development First Nations, help them to get a co-ownership stake in pipelines like Trans Mountain. We are create alliances with pro-pipeline provincial governments like [the] New Brunswicks and Ontarios who want to revive Energy East.”
Kenney also mentioned reviving Northern Gateway and going after foreign-funded groups against their construction.
Should B.C. continue with their delay of Trans Mountain, he said he would proclaim legislation giving Alberta the power to reduce oil shipments to the province.
A second highway
Residents are discussing the prospect of a second highway for Wood Buffalo.
Kenney says there should be an Energy East Clearwater Highway.
“We will be adopting, should we be elected, effectively the same capital plan of the current government about five to six billion dollars a year on capital projects like highways.”
He also says there are many needs across the province to consider such as hospitals, schools, and road infrastructure.
UCP leader Jason Kenney believes firmly schools should be safe places for learning.
However, he pointed out the sharp decline in math skills among students.
“We have to really address the huge decline in math skills that happening across the province, including Wood Buffalo. That really has bad implications for their future.”
Kenney wants to end the Discovery Math program and renew algorithms and multiplication tables to build the competency of students.
Part of his education reform includes changes to laws protecting gay-straight alliances (GSA).
Currently, students can join a GSA without their parents’ knowledge.
Kenney says he’s against bullying and supports GSAs, but disagrees with NDP legislation, he says, pits schools against parents.
“We shouldn’t create a completely adversarial approach in law, which basically under the NDP law says that parents can never be trusted in any circumstances. I think there are unique circumstances where a school can say ‘this child needs the loving support of caring parents’, and we shouldn’t completely foreclose the possibility of that in the law.”
Kenney said the PC and Wildrose parties supported the original legislation for GSAs in 2014.
The election is on April 16, 2019, less than a week away.
Phil Wood with files from Canadian Press