Canada's UCP Leader Jason Kenney vows to fight harder for energy industry as conservatives reconquer Alberta

By Kevin Orland on 4/17/2019
Photo: United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.

CALGARY (Bloomberg) -- Alberta has made a conservative move by electing Kenney premier after he vowed to fight harder for the Canadian province’s beleaguered energy industry.

In a landslide victory, Kenney defeated center-left incumbent Rachel Notley, 55, whose New Democratic Party snapped four decades of conservative rule in 2015.

Kenney’s election may herald big changes for Alberta’s energy industry, which produces more oil than most OPEC members and has the world’s third-largest petroleum resources. He’s vowed to get stalled pipelines built, scrap the province’s carbon tax, and create a “war room” to hit back at anti-oil-sands campaigners. He also pledged to cut corporate taxes and balance the province’s books in his first term.

Kenney, 50, a former cabinet member under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, tapped into voter frustration over the failure to get pipelines completed, which has battered oil sands prices and sparked an exodus of capital by energy firms like Kinder Morgan Inc. Alberta, traditionally one of the richest provinces in Canada, now has among the highest jobless rates and one of the weakest economies in the country.

“Albertans have elected a government that will be obsessed with getting this province back to work, a team that will do everything in our power every single day to create tens of thousands of good jobs,” Kenney said at a victory rally in Calgary.

Gary Mar, president and CEO of Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) said, “The platform of the UCP precisely reflects the needs of the tens of thousands of service sector companies and workers that PSAC represents that have been devastated by the flight of capital from the oil and gas industry. Lack of progress to address egress, regulatory, and competitiveness issues has only served to exacerbate the downturn of the past four years.”

Duncan Au, chair of PSAC and president and CEO of CWC Energy Services, agrees and says, “The policies put forward by the UCP platform are already generating optimism for oilfield service companies. We look forward to a government that recognizes that a healthy business sector generates jobs and benefits for all Albertans, that understands that our vital oil and gas industry must succeed to continue to benefit all Canadians, and that we must be Canadians first and work together to create prosperity for all.”

Gary Mar continued to say, “We look forward to working with a UCP Government that declares Alberta is open for business, that has made a priority for policies to strengthen our oil and gas industry, that will combat foreign funds that are targeting our prosperity, and restore competitiveness and our Alberta Advantage.”

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