Ken­ney says Throne Speech missed the mark by a long shot

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Premier Ja­son Ken­ney says the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s throne speech spec­tac­u­larly missed the mark for Al­berta.

He said there was noth­ing in the Trudeau gov­ern­ment’s plan for the ail­ing en­ergy in­dus­try that has suf­fered thou­sands of job losses.

“Yes­ter­day’s throne speech in­cluded 6,783 words,” Ken­ney said Thurs­day dur­ing a me­dia tele­con­fer­ence. “Not one of them was about the largest in­dus­try sec­tor in the Cana­dian economy. Not one of them men­tioned our oil and gas sec­tor, which helped to pull Canada through the last global re­ces­sion.

“Not one word rec­og­niz­ing the cri­sis in that sec­tor and in en­ergy-pro­duc­ing prov­inces like Al­berta.”

The Lib­er­als’ throne speech said that if they don’t first tackle the pan­demic, they can’t move for­ward on pre­vi­ous com­mit­ments to fight cli­mate change or to ad­dress sys­temic racism and eco­nomic in­equal­ity.

Ken­ney said pre­miers had called on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to fo­cus on two pri­or­i­ties: the economy and jobs, and health.

“Th­ese is­sues were not ad­dressed,” he said. “There was space for ev­ery bright, shiny ob­ject, ev­ery pos­si­ble po­lit­i­cal dis­trac­tion. Kooky aca­demic the­o­ries like in­ter­sec­tion­al­ity found their way into yes­ter­day’s throne speech.”

In­ter­sec­tion­al­ity is a the­ory that peo­ple have unique ex­pe­ri­ences of dis­crim­i­na­tion. It sug­gests govern­ments look at any­thing that can marginal­ize peo­ple by gen­der, race, class or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Ken­ney said there wasn’t any­thing in the speech to ad­dress fed­eral health trans­fers to the prov­inces as they cope with an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and the pan­demic.

In­stead, the throne speech fea­tured poli­cies, such as the clean fuel stan­dards, that could fur­ther hurt the oil in­dus­try, he added.

“All we are ask­ing of the gov­ern­ment of Canada is to let this prov­ince and our re­source in­dus­try to get off their knees, to get back onto our feet dur­ing the largest eco­nomic con­trac­tion since the Great De­pres­sion.”

The speech, he said, showed a lack of un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent eco­nomic cri­sis.

“It was a fan­tasy plan for a myth­i­cal coun­try that only ex­ists ap­par­ently in the minds of Ot­tawa Lib­er­als and like-minded Lau­ren­tian elites, and that for­gets about the re­gions and the re­source work­ers who have been the mo­tor of Cana­dian pros­per­ity.”

Ken­ney said Canada needs Al­berta’s en­ergy for a real eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

He also said Ot­tawa needs to rec­og­nize the fis­cal calamity Al­berta faces and should give the prov­ince $6.5 bil­lion in fis­cal sta­bi­liza­tion pay­ments.

Op­po­si­tion NDP Leader Rachel Not­ley said she was alarmed by Ken­ney’s com­ments.

“The premier is so des­per­ate to dis­tract Al­ber­tans from his in­abil­ity to cre­ate jobs and restart eco­nomic growth that he is con­tin­u­ing his fake fight with Ot­tawa at the ex­pense of the best in­ter­est of the peo­ple he was elected to rep­re­sent,” she said in a state­ment.

The throne speech promised to do what­ever it takes to pro­tect Cana­di­ans’ lives and pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port for as long as the pan­demic con­tin­ues, in­clud­ing an ex­ten­sion of the 75 per cent emer­gency wage sub­sidy through to next sum­mer.

It also promised ex­panded emer­gency loans for busi­nesses and tar­geted fi­nan­cial sup­port for in­dus­tries hard­est hit by the pan­demic, in­clud­ing travel, tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity.

The speech promised over the longer term to work with the prov­inces to set na­tional stan­dards for long-term care fa­cil­i­ties, where more than 80 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19re­lated deaths have oc­curred, and to set up a uni­ver­sal phar­ma­care pro­gram.

Ken­ney said Al­berta would opt out of phar­ma­care.

“We don’t need politi­cians and bu­reau­crats in Ot­tawa mi­cro­manag­ing ... our health pri­or­i­ties,” he said.

Not­ley said that’s a self-serv­ing de­ci­sion that would un­der­mine the qual­ity and af­ford­abil­ity of health care for mil­lions of Al­ber­tans.

The throne speech also promised to make ac­tion on cli­mate change the “cor­ner­stone” of its plan to cre­ate one mil­lion new jobs.

Ja­son Ken­ney

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