CALGARY – Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says it’s short-sighted and irresponsible for her UCP opponent to keep attacking her relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Notley says United Conservative Jason Kenney’s constant suggestions that she is Trudeau’s willing accomplice are nothing more than political game-playing.
“Random grandstanding for the sake of short-term political gains at the expense of actual real goals is politically irresponsible. It’s not good leadership,” Notley said in response to questions Tuesday.
“My job is, as the premier of the province, to work with people in all levels of government — regardless of how much I do or do not disagree with them — in order to achieve the goals we need.”
The campaign for the April 16 provincial election reached its halfway point Tuesday and Kenney has increasingly focused on Notley’s relationship with Trudeau.
He says Trudeau’s policies are gutting Alberta’s core oil and gas industry and that Notley has been a willing participant in what Kenney refers to repeatedly as the “Trudeau-Notley alliance.”
On Monday, Kenney promised to do whatever he could to see Trudeau defeated in the fall federal vote.
Notley said she has publicly voiced concerns with Trudeau over various issues, including proposed legislation that would change approval rules for major energy projects.
She added her working relationship with Trudeau helped keep the multibillion-dollar Trans Mountain pipeline expansion alive last year when it was faltering.
“We pushed the federal government to buy it. And if we hadn’t done that, it, too, would not be in play. Instead it is,” said Notley.
“That’s not about friendship or not friendship. That’s simply about standing up for Alberta with determination and strength and conviction — and doing it in a way that is focused on achieving the goal … not short-term political points, which is what Mr. Kenney seems to be more interested in.”
Kenney, speaking in Turner Valley, Alta., said Trudeau’s actions, and Notley’s failure to stand up to him, have left the province with just the one Trans Mountain pipeline option to get oil to the B.C. coast and from there to more lucrative markets in Asia.
He said Trudeau has hamstrung Alberta’s industry with a bill to expand, and possibly delay, approvals of future pipeline projects, along with a tanker ban on B.C.’s northern coast and a federal carbon tax that Kenney promises to fight in court.
Kenney said he realizes provinces must work with Ottawa but: “Let’s be clear. The re-election of Justin Trudeau will be a huge blow to Alberta’s prosperity and our economy.
“This premier … sold us down the river to Justin Trudeau and all we got for it is a jobs crisis, a carbon tax and no pipelines.”
Kenney said if he wins the election, and Trudeau’s Liberals win the federal vote in October, they will come to some kind of working relationship.
“We can sit down and have a civil conversation. It doesn’t have to be a bun fight. But I will be firm and clear in asserting Alberta’s vital economic interests in that relationship.”
— By Dean Bennett in Edmonton