Kenney: Looking for support for UCP leadership
Jason Kenney, former Conservative MP and then-Alberta PC leadership hopeful, addresses a crowd of people at the Reich residence just outside of Ponoka during one of several Unite Alberta Truck Tour stops back in 2016. Since then, he's become PC leader, helped to unite the Wildrose and PC Parties and is now vying for leadership of the United Conservative Party (UCP). The vote takes place this week, with results revealed on Saturday, Oct. 28,2017. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
Throughout my campaign to unite Alberta, I’ve done over 850 public events and put over of 100,000 kilometres on my blue Ram pickup.
And I’m just getting started.
Since first arriving in Alberta 25 years ago, I have committed myself to public life. In the early 1990s I helped start the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and would later become its president. The CTF gave a voice to the silent majority of Albertans who were fed up with governments taking nearly half of their families’ incomes.
As one of Canada’s original tax fighters, I worked with Ralph Klein to implement “No More Boondoggles” legislation, which ended corporate welfare in Alberta. Together we drafted the Taxpayer Protection Act, which ensures the province cannot impose a sales tax without a referendum. We also worked together to draft the Balanced Budget and Debt Retirement Act, which simply stated that “expenditures during a fiscal year must not be more than revenue.”
As president of the Taxpayers Federation, I went on to fight the same fight at the national level, pressing the Chretien government to stop Canada from going over the fiscal cliff in the mid 1990s.
When the Liberals released trial balloons about major tax increases, I sprang into action with a series of “No More Taxes” rallies across Canada. And in what now seems like a political miracle, the Liberals listened to Canadians, by cutting spending, balancing the budget, and, eventually, reducing taxes.
As a Member of Parliament, I enjoyed the honour of serving in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, where I chaired the Cabinet Operations Committee. As chair, I helped undertake two of Harper’s most transformative changes: dismantling the Wheat Board’s monopoly on western wheat growers and scraping the Liberal long-gun registry.
I also served as Canada’s longest-serving Minister of Citizenship and Immigration where I fixed a broken immigration system that saw refugee claims drop from 40,000 to 8,000. As Minister of Employment, I launched a skills agenda to boost trades training and restore the dignity of hard work throughout the country.
During my time as Minister of National Defence, I was honoured to work with our brave men and women in uniform, and deployed the Canadian Armed Forces to bomb ISIS in the Middle East, and to Ukraine to strengthen that country’s defenses.
In 15 months we’ve proved the nattering nabobs of negativism wrong. This Unite Alberta campaign became a voice and a vehicle for grassroots, free enterprise Albertans who wanted to focus on the future rather than the past, and put their province ahead of any political party. And we did just that, with 95 per cent of members in both parties voting for unity.
On October 28, members of the United Conservative Party will elect their first leader, and potentially the next premier of this great province. With my combination of experience and work ethic, I hope to earn your vote.