Ken­ney draws fire for quips about PM

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - CLARE CLANCY cclancy@post­media.com twit­ter.com/clare­clancy

Op­po­si­tion leader Ja­son Ken­ney — who has re­peat­edly lauded the im­por­tance of ci­vil­ity and decorum in the house — came un­der fire for in­sult­ing re­marks he made about Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau.

In a Calgary Sun col­umn pub­lished Wed­nes­day, Ken­ney de­scribed Trudeau as “an empty trust-fund mil­lion­aire who has the po­lit­i­cal depth of a fin­ger bowl.

“He can’t read a brief­ing note longer than a cock­tail nap­kin,” the United Con­ser­va­tive Party leader was quoted say­ing.

Premier Rachel Not­ley said the com­ments dis­played a tremen­dous amount of per­sonal hos­til­ity to­ward Trudeau.

“I would sug­gest that any­one who is pre­sent­ing them­selves as be­ing equipped to lead the prov­ince needs to learn very quickly to rise above his own per­sonal hos­til­i­ties,” she said at a news con­fer­ence about the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion.

STANDS BY HIS COM­MENTS

Ken­ney stood by his com­ments and said he used “colour­ful lan­guage.

“I was asked whether I thought he un­der­stood what was go­ing on with Kinder Mor­gan — I hon­estly don’t,” he told re­porters.

The for­mer fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive cab­i­net min­is­ter said he had enor­mous re­spect for the vast ma­jor­ity of his par­lia­men­tary col­leagues in Ot­tawa.

“But I’m not go­ing to cover for a prime min­is­ter who is al­low­ing this at­tack on our vi­tal eco­nomic in­ter­ests.”

Ken­ney has re­peat­edly promised ci­vil­ity dur­ing de­bate in the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture.

“I and our cau­cus will raise the bar of ci­vil­ity and decorum in the leg­is­la­ture, and in the course of the next 16 months be­fore the next elec­tion,” Ken­ney told sup­port­ers in a Jan­uary speech after he was sworn in as an MLA.

He has also com­plained about heck­ling in the leg­is­la­ture, ar­gu­ing ques­tion pe­riod has de­volved into “a ping-pong match of in­sults and par­ti­san at­tacks.”

RE­VEAL­ING HIS ‘PER­SONAL GRUDGE’

Gov­ern­ment house leader Brian Ma­son said Ken­ney has been “Mr. Ci­vil­ity” in the house, but it’s a pose.

“I know what that cau­cus is re­ally like,” Ma­son told re­porters. “I think he’s let the mask drop a bit here and re­vealed his own per­sonal grudge.”

Whether he likes Trudeau or not, some­one who wants to be premier shouldn’t use deroga­tory lan­guage to­ward the prime min­is­ter, Ma­son said, adding build­ing re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple across the aisle is part of the job.

Ma­son said Ken­ney is out of touch with Al­ber­tans.

“When he was in Ot­tawa, he may have had fin­ger bowls and cock­tail nap­kins, but or­di­nary peo­ple don’t have those things and he needs to re­mem­ber that,” he said.

I was asked whether I thought he un­der­stood what was go­ing on with Kinder Mor­gan — I hon­estly don’t.

Ja­son Ken­ney

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