July 20th, 2024

UCP leadership hopeful makes surprise visit

By Gillian Slade on August 16, 2017.


A better deal on equalization payments for Alberta was promised by one of the United Conservative Party leadership candidates in an unexpected visit to Medicine Hat on Tuesday.

A referendum in Alberta will need to take place first to legally trigger mandatory negotiations with the Liberal government on equalization payments, said Brian Jean, former leader of the Wildrose. This would force the federal government and the other provinces to the table to negotiate a better deal for Alberta across the board. The Supreme Court previously ruled that a “yes” vote on a clear question compels the federal government and the other provinces to come to the table.

“Right now I will tell you that the majority of Albertans do believe they are not getting a fair deal,” said Jean.

Jean says he will also fight for pipelines in all directions to get Alberta’s product to market to the benefit of all of Canada.

The recent position taken by John Horgan, B.C. NDP premier, that has delayed progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline, had Jean promising to stand-up to those “bullying” Alberta.

“When they try to step in the way of what we have a right to do, here in Alberta and every other province of Canada, then I think that he’s going beyond his own power … I’m hoping that he’ll come to his senses and see that he’s going in the wrong direction and he needs to work with Alberta in order to make Canada a better place,” said Jean, pointing out that B.C. sends its products across Alberta.

When it comes to “persuasive” action that Alberta should take against B.C., Jean believes it can be fairly simple.

“I think we don’t need to be any more persuasive than to point out what the constitution says and what their obligations are in the constitution,” said Jean.

Since Jean announced his intention to run for leadership of the UCP, he has announced a range of policy positions.

Jason Kenney, who is also in contention for that top job, has refrained from announcing any policies, stating it would be up to the party’s “grassroots” to formulate the policies.

Members of the party will approve all policy but it is important to hear what the vision is of a potential leader, said Jean.

“I think it is very clear I have nothing to hide from Albertans, that I want Albertans to know exactly where I stand,” said Jean. “Nobody’s fooled. Everybody knows that it’s the members of our party (who make the policies) and that’s been very clear from the start.”

Although there were no public meetings in Medicine Hat for Jean’s visit he did make stops at local coffee shops and a restaurant to talk to Hatters, he said.

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