Jason Kenney is outlining a busy agenda for his last chapter as Alberta premier.
For the first time since announcing his eventual exit as premier, Mr. Kenney spoke to the media on Friday ahead of a cabinet meeting in Calgary. However, he did not take any questions from journalists.
“We have a lot of important work in front of us following the vote from the leadership review earlier this week,” Mr. Kenney said.
The caucus of the United Conservative Party has ruled out selecting an interim leader after Mr. Kenney received 51.4 per cent support in a party leadership review and declared that was not enough to sustain him in power.
On Friday, Mr. Kenney, who has been premier since 2019, said remaining in place for now would allow for continuity and stability “to continue to focus on the people’s priorities. For me that is the most important thing.”
He said the government is determined “to keep our eye on the ball” and continue to lead Canada in economic growth and job creation.
And he announced that the government would work away on such files as seeking the support of provinces and other stakeholders for the legal battle ahead after the Alberta Court of Appeal recently ruled that Ottawa’s environmental assessment law is unconstitutional.
The federal government has said it will appeal the Alberta ruling on the Impact Assessment Act, formerly known as Bill C-69, at the Supreme Court of Canada. Story here.
“Alberta’s government continues to do the people’s business, continues to fight for this province, to work for a strong economy to make life better for Albertans,” Mr. Kenney said.
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BEIJING DENOUNCES OTTAWA HUAWEI DECISION – Beijing has accused Ottawa of “political manipulation” after it moved to ban Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from Canada’s 5G networks. Story here. There’s an explainer here on why Canada is banning Huawei from participating in the country’s 5G network.
MENDICINO DEFENDS USE OF EMERGENCIES ACT – Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he stands by previous statements that the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act on the recommendation of law enforcement officials. Story here.
CANADA ANNOUNCES NEW SANCTIONS – Canada said on Friday it was imposing additional sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banning the import and export of targeted luxury goods from Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Story here.
ROYAL VISIT CONCLUDES – It was a different ending than the one Buckingham Palace had planned. Sometime Thursday, Prince Charles, apparently moved by his encounters with residential-school survivors, chose to can the brief remarks on climate change he’d planned to deliver before flying to home to Britain. He chose instead to mark the jubilee of his mother, the Queen, with a fairly lengthy speech on the “deeply moving” experience of speaking with survivors and their families. Story here.
LICH BREACHED BAIL CONDITIONS: PROSECUTOR – A Crown prosecutor argued on Thursday that Tamara Lich, an organizer of the “Freedom Convoy,” breached her bail conditions by accepting an award for her leadership during the Ottawa protest. Story here.
FORMER B.C. LEGISLATURE CLERK CONVICTED – A B.C. Supreme Court judge found the man described as the former “chief executive officer” of B.C.’s legislature guilty of breach of trust and fraud Thursday in connection with improper expense claims for more than $1,800 worth of clothing. Story here.
ONTARIO ELECTION TODAY – The Ontario election campaign trail will run virtually and in-person as NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner isolate with COVID-19. Story here. And Vote of Confidence, the Globe’s Ontario election newsletter, is here with a look at the biggest climate policy promises on the table for Ontario. And there’s a look here at the strategists behind the curtain for Ontario’s election heavyweights
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
Some candidates were campaigning in Quebec on Friday ahead of the official French-language debate in Montreal next Wednesday night. Roman Baber had a meet-and-greet event in downtown Montreal. Patrick Brown was also in Montreal on Friday, then headed for the Greater Toronto Area for the weekend. And Leslyn Lewis had an event scheduled in the Montreal-area city of Brossard where she was to give brief remarks and take questions at a hotel. Pierre Poilievre was in the city of Saguenay on Friday for the beginning of several days in Quebec. He was to be in the town of Victoriaville, the southeastern Quebec city of Magog and Montreal through the weekend. Meanwhile, Scott Aitchison was in Markham, Ont. And Jean Charest was in the Vancouver region with events in West Vancouver, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Vancouver scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
FRENCH-LANGUAGE DEBATE MODERATOR – The leadership organizing committee for the federal Conservatives announced Friday afternoon that Marc-Olivier Fortin will act as moderator for the French-language leadership debate set for Laval, Que., on Wednesday, May 25th. The debate runs from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. In a statement, Ian Brodie, the chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee, said that Mr. Fortin has served twice on the committee and been involved in previous debates.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May 20, accessible here.
TORY MPS JOIN INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office has announced the appointment of two Conservative members to a committee of parliamentarians that consider security issues. Rob Morrison, MP for Kootenay–Columbia, and Alex Ruff, MP for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, are joining the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. The committee was launched in 2017 to provide a non-partisan view of national security and intelligence activities across government. The committee chaired by Liberal MP David McGuinty includes representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate. With today’s new appointments, all seats on the committee are now filled. Conservatives have previously had concerns about the committee, but interim Leader Candice Bergen announced, in February, that the party would put forward a pair of caucus members as representatives on the committee, a decision detailed here. On Friday, Ms. Bergen said in a statement that “It is important for Conservatives to have a voice and presence on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) during these historic times. That’s why Rob Morrison and Alex Ruff will be joining the committee. Conservatives will continue to work toward substantial reforms at NSICOP to make it fully accountable to Parliament. We will also continue demanding answers and documents related to the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg as well as the Liberal’s invocation of the Emergencies Act.” The intelligence committee’s website is here.
FREELAND IN BONN – In Bonn, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland continues to participate in the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, travels to Munich and departs for Toronto.
VIA RAIL PRESIDENT QUITS – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, issued a statement acknowledging the resignation of VIA Rail Canada’s president and chief executive officer: As minister responsible for Via Rail Canada Inc., he said he had accepted Cynthia Garneau’s resignation effective May 20, 2022. “I would like to thank Ms. Garneau for her service and her work over the past three years in contributing to the modernization of VIA Rail, and adapting VIA Rail operations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while always ensuring the health and safety of employees and passengers.” There’s a story here on Ms. Garneau’s work at VIA.
COMMITTEE MEETINGS – House of Commons committee meetings Friday include the standing committee on Indigenous and northern affairs holding a hearing on the Effects of the Housing Shortage on Indigenous People Across Canada – details, including video links, here. Also, the special committee on Afghanistan is meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan – details here. Overall details on committee meetings are here.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Carrie Tait, a Calgary-based reporter in The Globe’s Alberta bureau, talks about Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s announcement that he will resign as leader of the United Conservative Party following the results of his leadership review. He received support from 51.4 per cent of party members. Ms. Tait explains that while a few front-runners have emerged to replace Mr. Kenney, uniting the right in the province remains a difficult road. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In Sept-Îles, Que., the Prime Minister held private meetings and visited Aluminerie Alouette to highlight investments in Canada’s critical minerals sector followed by a brief media availability. The Prime Minister then met with chiefs of the Innu Nation, and was scheduled to meet with mineral technology students at the Cégep de Sept-Îles.
No schedules released for party leaders.
OPINION – JASON KENNEY
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how conservatives are developing a culture of cancelling their own: “Jason Kenney was ousted by the Alberta United Conservative Party he created. Ed Fast was pushed out of his post as federal Conservative finance critic for suggesting it might hurt Canada’s financial credibility if political leaders such as Pierre Poilievre attack the independence of the Bank of Canada by promising to fire the Governor. That came a few months after Erin O’Toole was dumped as leader. It sure seems like conservatives in Canada are turning their parties into meat grinders that are churning their own into pieces.”
Duane Bratt (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Jason Kenney’s leadership style hurt him, but UCP’s internal divides made it unlikely any leader could hold the party together: “Clearly, Mr. Kenney’s leadership style – top-down, combative, demonizing of critics, unable to listen or apologize (he was accused of cheating during the 2017 leadership race and 2022 leadership review) – was a major reason for his downfall. But the internal divides within the UCP were such that it was unlikely any leader could hold the party together. If Jason Kenney, the smart, competent, experienced, hard-working architect of the party’s formation, couldn’t unite the UCP, then no future leader will be able to do it either.”
Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on COVID-19, conservatism and the downfall of Alberta’s Jason Kenney: “Kenney’s successor in Alberta, Doug Ford in Ontario, those vying for control of the federal Conservative party – each will continue to grapple with a base that has moved if not farther to the right (after all, Kenney has arguably been one of the most hawkish among them), then to a place more stubbornly resistant to authority, rules or a sense of common care. A place of extremes, felt most keenly by people in Alberta and next door in Saskatchewan – but with pockets of growing resonance across the country.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the point that how we respond to Bill 96, Quebec’s language law, is who we are: “Which brings us back to the question posed at the top. It is the same question raised by Bill 21. What kind of country are we? Are we a country that believes in and lives by the principles we say we do: that a Canadian is a Canadian, that rights are rights, that everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law, and that no one is above it? Or are these all just meaningless slogans? Are we a genuine political community, with moral obligations to one another? Or are we just a place on a map?”
Diane Peters (TVO) on how no fare is fair: Should Ontario get on board with free transit?: “And on May 2, the Ontario Liberal Party promised that, if elected, it would drop transit fares across the province to $1 until January 2024. The plan also includes free rides for veterans and $40 monthly passes, all backed by $375 million in additional transit operating funding. “It’s a step in the right direction,” says Kirstin Pulles, a founding member of Free Transit Ottawa, of the Liberal pledge. But, in her view, it doesn’t go far enough: “Free is better. Everyone benefits. It’s a true public service … The idea behind free transit is it’s exciting and gets people back on the system.” So how would free transit work – and would it actually boost ridership?”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how the Emergencies Act inquiry must examine the fallout for banks and their trucker clients: “Participants in the self-described “freedom convoy” protests risk becoming financial martyrs. That’s because the Trudeau government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to end blockades created repercussions for financial institutions and their customers that are still not well known or understood by most Canadians. Those long-term consequences, however, ought to be front and centre for the public inquiry headed by Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Paul Rouleau and for parliamentarians who are separately probing the legislation’s use.”