Kenney seeks significant change, allies at meeting of provincial and territorial leaders in Toronto
CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney has arrived in Toronto with a list of demands as he hopes to rewrite Alberta’s relationship with the rest of the country during his meeting with his fellow premiers.
The event, which is underway, is the first gathering of Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders since October's federal election.
Kenney is calling for a "fair deal" for Alberta — something he’s campaigned on since he was elected and which escalated after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won a minority government.
Kenney will be looking for allies on issues such as the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion along with the repeal of recently passed environmental laws.
Alberta’s leader is also pushing for leaving the Canadian Pension Plan in favour of creating a provincial pension, setting up an Albertan tax agency and creating a provincial police force.
One of the most divisive issues centres on how Ottawa transfers taxpayers’ money to other provinces. Kenney will be fighting for a change to the long-term equalization policy.
"Come hell or high water, Alberta will get a fair deal," Kenney said to loud applause during a speech he made at Saturday‘s UCP Convention. "In the future we need to reform that program to recognize when provinces like ours have a sudden precipitous decline in our revenues."
Kenney noted that in 2016, Alberta received the maximum $250 million dollars from the equalization program, which amounts to about $60 per person in the province. He says that amount barely scratches the surface of the financial impact of low oil prices and he’d like to see that cap removed at the very least.
Kenney added he will make good on a promise to hold a referendum on removing equalization if there is no prior line to the coast and no rewrite of Bill C-69.
Monday’s meeting of premiers in Toronto is underway and began with a closed session. Kenney is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week.