You have to ask the question.
Especially since Kenney and Trudeau are far from best buddies and a lot of Albertans are mad as hell.
If United Conservative leader Jason Kenney becomes premier of Alberta in the spring, what would he say to Trudeau the first time he talked to him?
Kenney says it would be first things first.
Even before picking up the phone to the prime minister, he’d send Alberta government legal beagles into court in Regina to support Saskatchewan’s fight against Trudeau’s carbon tax.
Then he’d phone Trudeau.
But Kenney wouldn’t be like Premier Notley.
He wouldn’t tag up with Trudeau hoping almighty Liberal Ottawa would offer a morsel to this province, which has given so much to Canada.
“I would make clear to him the depth of anger and frustration in this province for the way it’s been treated,” says Kenney.
“If we do not get fair treatment and respect, a coastal pipeline, a withdrawal of Bill C-69, I would be prepared to put a referendum to the people of Alberta on equalization.”
Bill C-69 is Trudeau’s latest brainwave to make new pipelines near impossible to build
A thumbs-up from citizens in a vote would force talks on “the money transferred out of Alberta.”
“I think that’s our most powerful card.”
Is he looking to fix this equalization cash grab or get rid of it?
“Stay tuned. It depends on how Ottawa responds. I am not going to limit our room to manoeuvre.
“We are going to defend ourselves, much like Quebec political leadership has defended their interests with great success.”
Kenney adds he wants to join with other provinces fighting for taxpayers. The country versus Trudeau.
On the home front, the premier continues to spout about what she must know is not true.
That a Jason Kenney government would make reckless cuts, even make 20% across-the-board cuts to the Alberta budget.
Remember the NDP plan. Paint Kenney as a slash-and-burn barbarian when he’s not being cast as a socially backward neanderthal.
It is all so predictable.
Kenney shakes his head.
“Are they back to that now?” he says, of Notley on the budget question.
“They’re on and off on that. I will not let them scare vulnerable Albertans with this nonsense.”
The UCP boss says he doesn’t need to make deep cuts.
To deal with the province’s sea of red ink Kenney says he’s looking for savings of a penny or two on the dollar.
What’s the other option? One he clearly he doesn’t want.
Just keep piling up the province’s debt as it heads to $100 billion, with ever-growing interest payments to bankers.
“The NDP plan is to kick the can down the field until it gets so serious some future government a decade from now would have to do 1993-style cuts.”
And there is room to reduce. Alberta government spending is big compared to other provinces.
“Why should we take any pride in being the most inefficient government in Canada?”
Kenney says Albertans will know about his budget plan before voting day.
“I look forward to the debate in the next election because we’ll win that debate.”
Hanging over all that’s being said is the very real pain in this province.
There are so many stories. Too many stories.
Kenney speaks of the Italian immigrant who, after 38 years, shut down his small business and laid off his workers.
A man who lost his life savings and his home and is 75 years old.
There’s the Christmas parties in the countryside where “tough, grown, rural men break down in tears because they’ve lost hope.”
Yes, so many Albertans know something has to change in Canada.
“They feel we’ve played by the rules, shared hundreds of billions of dollars with the rest of the country and all we’ve got is disrespect and blockades,” says Kenney.
And where is Trudeau?
Saying no Canadian would want to harm another Canadian and we should be there for each other and it’s just unnamed politicians stirring the pot.
When not serving up his usual empty-calorie diet of nothings Trudeau goes back to patting us on the head.
There, there. I feel your pain.
“We do understand Albertans could feel impatient,” says the PM.
Does he not realize his look-down-his-nose attitude just makes matters worse?
Frankly Alberta, he doesn’t give a damn.