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Canada 'Reject this arrogance': Jason Kenney has message for Quebecers amid dispute with Bloc leader

07:35  16 november  2019
07:35  16 november  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging Quebecers to reject the “ arrogance ” of Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet. Kenney and Blanchet have been sparring with each other after the Bloc leader this week made dismissive remarks about Alberta’s oil industry.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging Quebecers to reject the “arrogance” of Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Kenney and Blanchet have been sparring with each other after the Bloc leader this week made dismissive remarks about Alberta’s oil industry.

Kenney returned to the fray on Friday when he addressed the Rural Municipalities of Alberta Fall Convention in Edmonton.

“We Albertans are friends with Quebecers,” said Kenney.

He said most people in Quebec supported buying Alberta oil rather than from foreign sources (about 44 per cent of the province’s oil comes from the West), that most supported the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the government of Quebec supported Alberta in opposing C-69 — the “no more pipelines” bill — and the Quebec government was also with Alberta in a Supreme Court challenge of the Liberal carbon tax.

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping has issued a veiled warning to Donald Trump as the threat of a trade war with the US simmers, calling on other countries to refrain from “seeking dominance” and “ reject power politics,” adding that “ arrogance will get [you] nowhere”.

Kenney and the western premiers are demanding more support for resource development from the federal government, while the Bloc Québécois has named climate change among its top priorities and staunchly opposes any new pipeline through Quebec.

With 32 seats, the Bloc is the third-largest party in the Commons and holds the balance of power in the Liberals’ minority government.

“Mr. Blanchet, I do not believe you speak for the majority of Quebecers. Quebecers understand that they have benefited enormously, annually, to the tune of $13 billion in equalization payments which comes disproportionately from the energy wealth we develop here in Alberta.”

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He added, “I say to the people of Quebec: Reject this arrogance, this idea that Quebec should be able to take the benefit of our resources without allowing us to develop it.”

On Wednesday, Blanchet, after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was asked about western alienation.

“If they were attempting to create a green state in western Canada, I might be tempted to help them,” he said. “If they are trying to create an oil state in western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”

The same day, Kenney fired back at Blanchet. “You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Pick a lane.”

This caused Blanchet to respond. “You know what, I like my cake … and I will do what I think about it. I think he can, as far as I’m concerned, have his own oil and do whatever he wants with it.”

Later, on CBC’s Power & Politics, Blanchet said Quebec’s “needs are fulfilled” and has no reason to support further pipeline development. “Our responsibility is to consume less and less oil, not more and more,” he said. “Therefore, there is no reason for Quebec to support being simply a territory that you cross in order to increase the exportations of Canadian oil to wherever they want.”

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The Bloc Québécois Leader has no interest in getting along, he has his own agenda. When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney picked up on things the Bloc Québécois Leader said on Wednesday about the oil patch and started blasting back at Quebec, it was no skin off Mr. Blanchet’s nose.

Kenney noted that many Quebecers , “even very serious Quebec nationalist commentators,” have The Bloc Quebecois ejected one of its few caucus members in the House of Commons last week Although he called Bloc leader Daniel Paille’s decision to eject Mourani from caucus “pathetic,” he

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also waged in accusing the Bloc leader of being insulting.

“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 Thursday. “Disingenuous because he refuses to acknowledge how much his province has benefited from the west’s economic success. His hypocrisy and double-standard are astounding.”

At Friday’s convention, Kenney said Blanchet was a powerful leader who could not be ignored.

“Some people are saying that I should just ignore this guy, that he’s not relevant,” said Kenney. “But he’s the leader of the third-largest party in the Parliament of Canada. He controls the balance of power in the federal government. Whether we like it or not he’s relevant.”

He defended a top adviser whose $18,000 travel bill for four trips to London has prompted the opposition NDP to call for the auditor general to investigate.

David Knight Legg has been hired to advance Alberta’s economy on everything from energy to high-tech. But the province has offered no details, citing professional confidences and concern that Knight Legg’s contacts could be targeted by anti-energy industry groups.

“This is a guy who actually, I know personally, has spent thousands of dollars of his own money hosting international business leaders without expensing that to the government of Alberta,” Kenney said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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