United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney received a resounding victory in last month’s Calgary-Lougheed byelection, the details of which are ignored in Simon Ducatel’s Jan. 9 column (p. 6 Innisfail Province), “Kenney victory not particularly surprising.” While I agree with his assertion that the victory was not surprising, the column overlooks several important and historical details about the strong mandate given to Jason Kenney by voters and the overwhelming rejection of the NDP agenda.
At 72 per cent of the vote, Jason Kenney achieved the largest provincial win in Calgary since 2001, and the second largest win in Calgary-Lougheed history. With 7,760 votes, he also set a new record for most votes received in an Alberta byelection.
Regrettably, Mr. Ducatel’s column seems fixated on the voter turnout number, never once mentioning that the byelection turnout in Calgary-Lougheed was in line with historic byelection turnouts in Alberta.
Voters also overwhelmingly rejected the NDP agenda of job-killing carbon taxes and escalating debt. The premier and nine of her NDP cabinet ministers actively campaigned in Calgary-Lougheed, pushing a fear-mongering agenda that attempted to deflect from their own record. Voters saw through it, as shown by the nearly 50 per cent drop in the NDP vote.
The NDP’s carbon tax, which was just hiked by another 50 per cent on Jan. 1, makes life in Alberta more expensive — from filling up cars, to buying our groceries, to heating homes in the winter. Regrettably, the NDP did not campaign on the carbon tax – they just imposed it on Albertans after the election. It precisely represents the arrogant and out-of-touch government that voters in Calgary-Lougheed rejected in the Dec. 14 byelection.
The United Conservative Party’s policy process is underway, a true grassroots process, which will be completed this spring. It’s not the old, out-of-touch, top-down approach used by the NDP.
We have a brand new party whose members will democratically develop policies, leading to a detailed platform to present to Albertans for the next election.
While there have been clear policy commitments on major policy issues, such as scrapping the carbon tax, balancing the budget, fighting for equalization reform, and protecting school choice, the United Conservative Party is a member-driven party that is taking direction from Albertans. Jason Kenney has been clear and consistent on the need for the party to take its direction from the grassroots.
Mr. Ducatel’s column laments he is tired of hearing our new leader “droning on about how terrible the NDP is.” It must be pointed out that Jason Kenney’s criticisms of the NDP government are specific to criticism of NDP policy. After all, he is leader of the official Opposition. These recent criticisms include the NDP inaction on rural crime, a topic that sadly more than a few readers of this paper are likely familiar with.
Since launching his United Alberta campaign in 2016, Jason Kenney has been clear that it’s time for a party that takes direction from Albertans – a message that earned a strong mandate from voters in the recent Calgary-Lougheed byelection.
United Conservative Party MLA for the riding of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre