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Albertans want Kenney to get aggressive on pipelines, carbon tax

Albertans appear to have both high hopes and high expectations for Jason Kenney, and he will have to take serious action to live up to them.

A post-election study reveals that Jason Kenney’s supporters are eager to see him push back against the federal government’s attack on the energy sector in Alberta.

The report, released last week by Navigator found that Albertans are anxious to see Kenney and the UCP tackle the province’s economic issues, build pipelines and fight the carbon tax.

Navigator held eight focus groups throughout the province after the UCP’s recent victory and included people from all age groups and social classes.

The poll found that the campaign promises Albertans were most eager to see materialize were Kenny’s pledge to  to restrict oil and gas shipments to British Columbia if its government keeps obstructing new pipeline projects, as well as joining the fight against the federal carbon tax waged by Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

Another key promise by Kenney that UCP voters eagerly support is to hold a referendum on equalization payments to Ottawa if there’s no progress on pipelines by 2021.

While Albertans understand that current pipeline issues are complex, the poll suggests they nonetheless expect Kenney to take serious action on the file.

“Alberta voters told us that they are proud Canadians. However they simply don’t understand why Alberta’s contributions to the Canadian economy through equalization, federal taxation, employment and clean ethical energy are not understood and appreciated,” said Jason Hatcher, managing principal at Navigator.

“While Albertans prefer that the provinces and the federal government find an amicable solution, patience has run out. They want action and real progress. Albertans have empowered the Kenney government with a mandate to use every tool available including turning off the taps.”

The report makes it clear that Kenney will have to deliver for the energy sector and get pipelines built — Albertans understand that a strong energy sector brings prosperity to their communities.

“When I look at pipelines, I see hospitals, schools, clinics, things we enjoy as Canadians,” said one person in a focus group.

Most respondents felt hopeful about the incoming UCP government, already noticing the boost in province-wide optimism.

“Life is coming back to Alberta,” said a female millennial participant.

“It felt like an Old West town and there’s tumbleweeds, and we were waiting around. Now you can hear the horses coming back.”

Albertans appear to have both high hopes and high expectations for Jason Kenney, and he will have to take serious action to live up to them.

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