Economist expects Jason Kenney to be key player in upcoming federal election

Jason Kenney won the majority of Albertans’ votes with his campaign promises to build pipelines, create jobs and better the province’s economy.

But a Canadian economics professor says the premier-designate could face some barriers on the way to addressing those key issues in coming months and years.

Kenney unveiled his platform promises in a 117-page document while campaigning in March.

“It’s one of those things that looks really nice on the campaign trail, where you make a lot of promises. You know the facts on the ground will prove whether it’s actually a program that can be implemented and implemented the way that he says,” said Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University in Montreal, who often teaches in Calgary. Lander spoke on CBC Calgary News at 11 on Thursday.

Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University in Montreal, says Kenney will end up on the wrong side of history on carbon pricing. (CBC)

Kenney had previously said he would get to work undoing NDP policies, most notably cutting the carbon tax.

Lander said undoing the carbon tax could mean it will come back in a different capacity.

“He’s going to be on the losing side of history there,” Lander said.

“Even if this is a short-term gain, it’s going to be long-term loss. The best thing is to accept that that’s reality and work within the constraints of that carbon policy, rather than trying to repeal it,” he said.

Ottawa is applying its own carbon tax on fossil fuels in Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, provinces that do not have their own carbon pricing scheme.

Pipelines

Lander said pipelines are necessary, but because the federal government owns the Trans Mountain Pipeline, they’re the only body that can put that can put it into play.

“At the end of the day, the biggest issue in [Alberta] is not the oil in the ground. It’s once the oil is out of the ground, where do you send it?”

“If Jason Kenney wants to start picking fights with B.C., with threats to turn off the taps, or asking politely in French for the Premier of Quebec to welcome the oil and gas, that’s great, but that doesn’t make it a reality that the fact is that the government federally are the owners of Trans Mountain,” Lander said.

However, when Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau was in Calgary in March he reaffirmed that the government wants to move the pipeline back into private hands.

Countdown to federal election

While on the campaign trail, Kenney spoke about frustration with Ottawa, and stood beside Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at a pre-election rally.

Kenney has federal cabinet experience and is now premier of one of the strongest provinces in Canada, Lander said.

“He’s [going to] become the mouthpiece for Andrew Scheer and the federal Conservatives in a very attractive sort of way to the Prairies, Western Canada,” he said.

Lander said he expects Kenney will become a player in the federal election in the same way that Conservative Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to be.

Unofficial results from Elections Alberta show the United Conservative Party taking 63 seats to the NDP’s 24.

Canadian economics professor Moshe Lander was on CBC Calgary News at 11 Thursday. Full episode below. 

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