New Alberta premier-designate Jason Kenney rode into UCP party headquarters in a blue truck to deliver his victory speech after his party won a majority government during the 2019 Alberta election.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could be forgiven for feeling a little lonely the next time he sits down with all of Canada’s premiers.
Alberta elected the United Conservative Party (UCP) to a majority government on Tuesday night.
That means, out of 10 provinces, six are governed by conservative parties, one of them a minority government (New Brunswick).
Meanwhile, a whole other province is governed by a left-leaning party that actually has fewer seats than its centre-right opposition (British Columbia).
The premiers of four of those conservative-governed provinces have already aligned against the prime minister on at least one issue — the federal carbon tax.
Before he was even elected to the legislature, Alberta Premier-designate Jason Kenney formed a united front against the tax along with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Kenney has pledged to scrap Alberta’s $30-a-tonne carbon tax that the NDP introduced in 2017.
The UCP has pledged to replace it with a program known as Technology Innovation and Emissions Reductions (TIER), which targets large greenhouse-gas emitters and is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Any province that doesn’t come up with its own carbon-pricing regime will face a federal “backstop,” a carbon tax that will start at $20 a tonne and then grow by $10 each year before it hits $50 in 2022.
Kenney has vowed to challenge the tax in court — and Ontario is already doing that.
The province was in the Ontario Court of Appeal on Tuesday as part of its challenge to federal carbon pricing, arguing that Ottawa’s actions have been unconstitutional and that it has trampled on the idea of co-operative federalism.
All of that, before Canadians even go to the polls in October.
“In terms of the national campaign, Kenney winning adds another conservative voice in the premier table that is critical of Trudeau,” Jared Wesley, a University of Alberta political scientist, told Global News in a previous story.
And with his knowledge of federal politics, Kenney could prove a savvier foe than Trudeau has faced among the provinces.
“He understands Ottawa and Trudeau knows this,” Andrew McDougall, political science lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told Global News earlier Tuesday.
“And he may be able to get Trudeau with this insider knowledge.”
Canada’s premiers will meet at a Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon, from July 9 to 11.