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Canada ‘Pick a lane’: Kenney calls out Quebec’s use of equalization payments after Blanchet’s meeting with Trudeau

01:31  14 november  2019
01:31  14 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

Kenney fires back after Bloc leader shows little sympathy toward calls for more Western independence

  Kenney fires back after Bloc leader shows little sympathy toward calls for more Western independence OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet began his day on Wednesday in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but ended it in a spat with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Dismissing calls for more independence for western Canada, Blanchet said he doesn’t believe Canada is currently experiencing a national unity crisis. Dismissing calls for more independence for western Canada, Blanchet said he doesn’t believe Canada is currently experiencing a national unity crisis. He claimed Alberta and Saskatchewan are using concerns about western alienation to force the federal government’s hand in an attempt to garner more support for the petroleum industry.

Trudeau ' s meeting with Moe was the latest in a series of get-togethers with premiers as the prime minister seeks input and ideas on how his legislative After their conversation, which lasted less than 30 minutes, he said common ground exists between him and Trudeau on items both promised during

“ After this meeting here today, what I do see is that we’re going to see more of the same from this Like Kenney , Moe suggested Wednesday that he will turn his efforts to finding ways to make Moe was the third conservative premier to meet with Trudeau after the Liberals were returned to Ottawa

Jason Kenney, Yves-François Blanchet are posing for a picture: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took aim at Quebec's history with equalization payments following comments made folliwng Bloc Quebecoir Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet's meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.© Global News Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took aim at Quebec's history with equalization payments following comments made folliwng Bloc Quebecoir Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet's meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Alberta's premier is calling on Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet to "pick a lane" after he said he wouldn't offer advice to Western provinces looking for more independence within Canada.

“If they were attempting to create a green state in Western Canada, I might be tempted to help them,” Blanchet said following a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.

Andrew Scheer blasts Bloc leader Blanchet for 'hypocrisy' in comments about western Canada

  Andrew Scheer blasts Bloc leader Blanchet for 'hypocrisy' in comments about western Canada OTTAWA — Conservative leader Andrew Scheer took aim at the leader of the Bloc Québécois on Thursday, calling Yves-François Blanchet “insulting” and “disingenuous” for dismissing concerns about western alienation earlier this week. “Insulting because he accused westerners of faking a unity crisis when the frustration and anxiety out west is all too real,” Scheer said in a statement. “Insulting because he accused westerners of faking a unity crisis when the frustration and anxiety out west is all too real,” Scheer said in a statement. “Disingenuous because he refuses to acknowledge how much his province has benefitted from the west’s economic success. His hypocrisy and double-standard are astounding.

Quebec , despite requesting less per capita top ups to service spending, is the main villain in the discussion of equalization . Not only does Mr. Blanchet ’ s callous statements show his complete ingratitude for the Alberta economy that Jody Wilson-Raybould asks for meeting with Liberal cabinet.

The Alberta premier and PM will meet Thursday just hours after Kenney testifies before a Senate committee studying the government’ s bill to re-write the rules for environmental assessments of energy projects. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only.

“If they are trying to create an oil state in Western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”

READ MORE: Trudeau’s throne speech likely to have Bloc support, Blanchet suggests after meeting

That sentiment didn't sit well with Premier Jason Kenney, who took the opportunity, during an address to members of Alberta's oil and gas sector, to again raise the issue of equalization payments that he says the province of Quebec benefits from.

“These statements [are] being made a week after Quebec tabled a budget with a $4-billion surplus thanks to a $13-billion equalization payment from Ottawa, which came from the workers that many of you [oil and gas companies] had to lay off,” Kenney said.

Blanchet's comments came on the same day Kenney said the Parti Québécois tabled a motion in the National Assembly that would see Quebec have the ability to veto any proposed changes to the equalization formula.

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Quebec Premier Rene Levesque, right, shrugs his shoulders and walks away from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau , left, after a chat prior to the beginning of United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney drives his truck after meeting with reporters at the Blackfoot Diner and Truck Stop, in Calgary, on

Trudeau will be meeting Scheer, along with the leaders of the other main political parties and premiers this week. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister met with Trudeau last Friday, in which he offered friendly advice to the prime minister on how to address western anger.

“To Mr. Blanchet, to the Parti Québécois: if you are so opposed to the energy we produced in Alberta, then why are you so keen on taking the money generated by the oilfield workers in this province and across Western Canada?" Kenney asked.

"You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Pick a lane.”

Kenney said Alberta has paid $600 billion in equalization payments since 1960, adding the province has contributed $23 billion each year for the past five years.

"And yet we are going through an economic crisis," he said. "All we ask is a little bit of fairness -- we’re not asking for a special deal, we’re asking for a fair deal.”

READ MORE: Premier Jason Kenney announces ‘Fair Deal Panel’ to advance Alberta’s interests, like pipelines

The comments come on the heels of Kenney's announcement of a "fair deal" panel on Saturday, which is aimed at pushing forward with Alberta's interests.

In his announcement, Kenney said many of the ideas the panel would be looking at, like having provincial representation in negotiations that relate to the province's interests, are borrowed from Quebec.

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Jason Kenney , leader of the United Conservative Party, reiterated his four main promises for the economy during campaign stops in Calgary on He also said the UCP would hold a referendum in fall 2021 to remove equalization payments if no coastal pipeline has been built by then, and if Bill C-69

The equalization payments that would be required to bring that province’ s fiscal capacity up to the Many provinces receive equalization payments . The program’ s main purpose, as specified in the The total revenue that a province uses to provide public services depends heavily on its own efforts to

“Either you can say as Quebec you’re no longer going to take the energy and equalization resources from Western Canada’s oil and gas industry, and then you can become even more independent -- by the way -- on OPEC dictator oil imports, or you could do what we do as Canadians, coming together to support each other, especially at times of adversity.”

Following the federal election which saw Trudeau's Liberals win a minority government, Kenney said he sent a letter to the prime minister outlining Alberta's key interests, one of which was a demand for fundamental change to the equalization payment program.

He also said at the time that if there were no changes made to the highly controversial Bill C-69 -- dubbed by some as the "no more pipelines" bill -- he would mount a challenge to have equalization eliminated from the Canadian constitution.

Premier Jason Kenney heads to Texas to push investment .
Jason Kenney will be travelling to Houston, where he is set to meet with investors and business leaders over a four-day trip that also includes a day in Dallas. "Our top goal is getting Alberta back to work," Kenney said in a news release. "This means restoring investor confidence and reversing the flow of money, ideas and businesses from Alberta to places like Texas."This trip will allow me to raise awareness among prospective investors.

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