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Jason Kenney grew up – and the Ottawa-Alberta relationship is getting worried



The defeat of the new Democrats in Albert's provincial election chose the end of a remarkable chapter in provincial politics – Albert's first ever NDP government.

The arrival of a new provincial conservative government, meanwhile, could mark the start of a new chapter of federal policy.

Premier nominee Jason Kenney left after a decade of stint in federal politics to help create the US Conservative Party and take it to power. Veteran political viewers say their high national profile and strong ties to provincial and federal conservatives will ensure he is still an influential player on the national political scene.

Mount Royal University Professor Duane Bratt said Albertans saw abundant signs during the campaign of close family ties between the UCP and the federal party – Kenney shared a campaign stage in a blizzard with federal conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Kenney's campaign in Calgary with Laureen Harper, wife of the former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the former PM himself throw his weight behind his former minister on social media.

It all points to the big gap Kenney uses in the broader conservative family, Bratt said. The intense national media interest in Albert's election (certainly more intense than it was in 2015) enhances "enormous consequences for the rest of the country" by the UCP's profits, he added.

So what does the Blue Law's return to power in Alberta mean to exercise power in Ottawa? Here are five ways that tonight's elections could contribute to shaping federal policies.

Kenney says Alberta is "open to business" after UCP has won:

The UCP leader says his party's victory shows that "help is on the way and hope is on the horizon". 01:20

Another province, another federal coal backstop

Kenney has said that the first bill that his new government will present will be the "coal tax repeal". When Premier Kenney moves to eliminate the province's $ 30 / ton coal fee, Ottawa must respond by introducing a federal "backstop" coal tax in Alberta, as it did with Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick

In an email to CBC News, Environment and Climate Change Canada, saying that if a province changes its pricing system, the federal government's first response would be to review the changes before deciding to impose its own federal price.

Marilyne Lavoie, spokesman for environment and climate change Canada, did not say how quickly the federal government would move to make changes. "Canada's government will move as quickly as possible to minimize a gap in coverage," she said.

In fact, Albert's drivers would still enjoy a break in the coal tax after the abolition of the provincial fee. If Albert's carbon tax is suspended altogether, the residents will stop paying the federal backstop fee – $ 20 per tonne by 2020, $ 10 less than the current tax rate.

tax ratio

Kenney has put forward a number of ideas that can influence how the money flows between Ottawa and Alberta.

In the UCP campaign platform, the party promises to advocate a reduction of federal income taxes on Albertans equal to the amount the federal government transfers to Alberta through Canada Health Transfer and Canada Social Transfer. The province would raise its tax rates by the same amount; The party pledges Albertans would not pay more, but the regional government would have more control over how income tax revenue accumulated in Alberta is spent.

In his victory Kenney promised to fight "foreign funded interests" like the David Suzuki Foundation, which he accused of leading "a campaign of economic sabotage" against Alberta.

"Your days of pushing Albertans with impunity ended only. We Albertans are patient and we are fair, but we have had enough of your fight against bad and double standards," he told the audience.

"With this choice we begin to stand up for ourselves, for our jobs and for our future. Today we are beginning to fight back. From this day forward, when you lie about how we produce energy, we will tell the truth independently and we will use all the funds at our disposal to keep you account. "

Kenney strikes Ottawa's pipeline management:

UCP leaders say Alberta deserves more than the "weak hope" on 1 pipeline. 01:37

Kenney has pledged to push Ottawa for reforms to the Employment Insurance program to better help Albertans who have lost their jobs during the province's energy sector decline.

Finally, there is the UCP's most provocative fiscal promise: a countervailing referendum – federal money redistributed to provinces to help smooth the quality of public services across the country – to give the province a negotiating chip when pushing Ottawa to approve more pipelines.

UCP leader Jason Kenney has promised that his first act in office would be to interrupt provincial coal tax. (Jason Kenney / Twitter, Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

See you in court, Ottawa

Alberta and Ottawa may soon spend a lot of time talking through their lawyers.

Kenney has promised a constitutional challenge to Bill C-69, federal law that would change how energy projects are reviewed and approved.

He has also said that he will instruct his new attorney general to launch a formal court challenge to the federal coal tax if it is introduced in Alberta.

As part of the UCP's pressure on environmental groups that pressurize Albert's energy sector, it said on its election platform that it will challenge these organizations' charity status before the Canada Revenue Agency and appeal to the federal court to have its charity status terminated, if necessary.

The UCP leader is projected to form a majority government that manages its three-year goal of reconciling Albert's political right. 30:15

Kenney also pledged a $ 10 million District Court Fund "to support the First Nation for Development to defend its right to be consulted on major energy projects."

Braced for battle

The policy is one thing, but the tone that a new government sets can go a long way in determining how it merges with its neighbors and other levels of government. With Kenney in the office, McGill University politician Daniel Béland says, expecting more confrontation and discord on the federal-provincial scene.

"Jason Kenney has a much more controversial relationship with intergovernmental relations," said Béland, director of McGill Institute for Canada Study. "He is very powerful and opposed to the Trudeau government."

Look at Kenney s full victory:

"Your days pushing Albertans with impunity just ended." 00:59

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement in the immediate aftermath of the election, congratulated Kenney.

"Albertans has chosen to choose a majority government led by the UN Conservative Party," read it. "I look forward to working with the provincial government to create good middle-class jobs, build infrastructure and grow businesses and industries at the heart of Albert's prosperity so that the province can remain competitive in our changing economy."

"Together, we will address issues that are important to Albertan and all Canadians, including supportive canola producers, and take decisive action on climate change while marketing our natural resources."

Béland said he expects more excited rhetoric from Edmonton, rooted in Western alienation, regionalism and nationalism.

And while no one could describe Kenney as an ideological cousin to Quebec sovereigntists, Said Béland, he borrowed some tactics from Quebec's secessionist and nationalist movements.

"It is a conflict-based approach to politics where you frame the issue as a strong conflict between your province and the federal government," he said. "You must defend the people of your province against the state, against other provinces and the rest of the country."

Jason Kenney looks around as he sits next to Justin Trudeau during an event marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 2015 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)

Relief for Federal New Democrats?

It seems contra-intuitive, but Béland said he believes Kenya's win – and Albert's NDP leader Rachel Notley's loss – will actually help the federal NDP. "For some NDPers outside Alberta, this can be a source of relief," he says.

Notley and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh does not look at the controversial problem of pipelines – especially the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Notley stuck to his government and Singh opposes. Notley's defeat can eliminate the ideological rift in the NDP movement, says Béland.

Steep is disagreeable: He said he believes Notley doesn't go anywhere and will still be a long-standing pain in the side of the federal NDP.

"There are great frictions between Albert's NDP and the federal NDP," Bratt said. "Having Notley gone will not happen to them."

CBC's David Thurton can be reached on Facebook, Twitter or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca.


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