Kenney aimed to strengthen ties during trips to Quebec and Washington, D.C.
CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney is back in Alberta following a week-long trip to Montreal and Washington and is set to recap what was accomplished.
Kenney — and a delegate of Canadian premiers and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland — met with several business leaders and senior government officials in an effort to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Alberta’s energy sector.
Kenney says he worked to overcome concerns with the Keystone XL line which now has a presidential permit and would take more Alberta oil to terminals and refineries on the Gulf Coast.
He also took aim at some U.S presidential candidates aiming to block the Keystone pipeline.
North of the border, Kenney announced plans for a new Montreal-based trade office and says it’s just one part of a renewed push in the coming months to strengthen ties and find common ground with Quebec.
Kenney says the two provinces need to build on shared interests to grow the economy and balance it with the environment.
Kenney has criticized Quebec in the past for rejecting pipelines on environmental reasons while at the same time taking in billions of dollars in the equalization payments he says come as result of these projects.
The premier says there is room for cooperation and that we can expect more details on the trade office soon.
These aren’t the only megaprojects the premier has his eye on. Kenney recently penned a four-page letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging Ottawa to greenlight the controversial Teck Frontier mine in northern Alberta.
Kenney also acknowledged that an 'energy transition' will happen in coming decades, doubling down on remarks he made last Friday in Washington.
"It is preferable that the last barrel in that transition period comes from a stable, reliable libral democracy," said Kenney, speaking at Washington's Wilson Center.
NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips said this represented a new tune from Kenney.
"That is an interesting posture for him to take outside of our borders," said Phillips.
"Obviously the world is changing," she said. "Welcome to the analysis that everyone else has."
Not-for-profit advocacy group Solar Alberta said there was lots of optimism after hearing Kenney's remarks for the industry.
"If more of our electricity is coming from renewable resources like solar or wind, that's only going to be helpful," said executive director Benjamin Thibault.
Kenney pointed to a recent $500 million investment in a solar farm project near Vulcan by a Danish group as an example of Alberta's commitment to developing renewable energy sources.
"I think we're closing in on two billion dollars in renewable investments since our government came to office," Kenney said.
That solar farm project will produce 400 MW (megawatts) of electricity and could potentially power up to 100,000 homes.