VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – He’s about to be sworn in as Alberta’s premier, so will Jason Kenney follow through with his much-ballyhooed promise to “turn off the taps” to B.C. within hours of taking office?
The opinion on the ground in Alberta seems to be yes, yes he will.
He’s gone too far, beyond pot committed at this point, is how many see it.
“He has to, because he said he would, he said that’s the very first thing he did,” Duane Bratt, who is a political scientist at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, says.
“So, he’s ramped this up and to back away from this? I mean, they pushed the NDP to pass it, he went on the campaign trail, said ‘This is the very first item that we do.’ If he doesn’t do this in his first cabinet meeting, there’s going to be all sorts of people going ‘Why didn’t you?'”
Kenney’s swearing in ceremony at the Alberta legislature begins at 9:00 a.m. PST, and could take some time.
However, the United Conservative leader is poised to get right to work, meaning Bill 12, which would “ensure the interests of Albertans are optimized before authorizing the export of natural gas, crude oil or refined fuels,” could be proclaimed pretty quickly.
“It will almost certainly be done in just a matter of days,” Rick Donkers, a freelance broadcaster who covers the Alberta legislature, says.
It is conceivable Kenney could hold a caucus meeting this Monday afternoon or early Tuesday at the latest to discuss Bill 12, the “Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act.”
“He says they have no other option after making such a big deal of ‘turning off the taps to B.C.’ to enact that legislation,” Donkers adds.
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Throughout his years covering Alberta politics, Donkers says he’s “never seen something as certain as this when it comes down to a government making campaign promises that they can’t wiggle out of,” despite serious opposition.
If Alberta’s new premier does in fact follow through, the B.C. government will likely immediately file an injunction against the move.
“This appears to be going down the tracks, and there’s no way — politically — that Premier Jason Kenney will be able to stop it,” Donkers says.
Along with the pipeline, the UCP leader has also campaigned on jobs and the economy.
Some experts have said prior to the Alberta election that Kenney’s promise to turn off the taps was an empty threat, adding the government would be harming big businesses in that province.
With Alberta’s refiners relying heavily on shipments to B.C., these experts have said it would be unlikely that the Alberta government would want to “shoot itself in the foot.”
-With files from Martin MacMahon and 660 NEWS