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"Reject this arrogance": Jason Kenney has a message for Quebecers in a dispute with the bloc leader


Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney is urging Quebecers to reject the "arrogance" of Québécois Block leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Kenney and Blanchet quarreled after this week's block leader made scornful comments about Alberta's oil industry.

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

"We Albertans are friends with the Quebecers," said Kenney.

He said most people in Quebec supported the purchase of oil from Alberta, not from foreign sources (about 44% of the province's oil comes from the West), which mostly supported the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Quebec government. supported Alberta in opposition to C-69 – the “no more pipelines” bill – and the Quebec government was also with Alberta on a Supreme Court challenge to the liberal carbon tax.

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

With 32 seats, the bloc is the third largest party on Commons and holds the balance of power in the Liberal minority government.

"Mr. Blanchet, I don't think you speak for the majority of Quebecers. Quebecers understand that they have benefited enormously annually from the $ 13 billion in equalization payments that come disproportionately from the energy wealth we have developed here in Alberta."

He added, "I tell the people of Quebec, Reject this arrogance, this idea that Quebec can take advantage of our resources without allowing us to develop it."

On Wednesday, Blanchet, after meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was questioned about Western alienation.

"If they were trying to create a green state in western Canada, I would be tempted to help them," he said. "If they are trying to create an oil state in western Canada, they can't expect any help from us."

The same day, Kenney shot back at Blanchet. “You cannot eat your cake and eat it either. Choose a clue.

That made Blanchet respond. “You know, I like my cake… and I'll do what I think about it. I think he can, as far as I am concerned, have his own oil and do whatever he wants with it. "

Later, at CBC's Power & Politics, Blanchet said the "needs were met" and has no reason to support the development of new pipelines. "Our responsibility is to consume less and less oil, not more and more," he said. "Therefore, there is no reason for Quebec to support the fact that it is simply a territory you cross to increase Canadian oil exports wherever they want."

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also accused the bloc leader of being an insult.

"Insulting why he has accused Westerners of faking a crisis of unity when frustration and anxiety in the West is too real," Scheer said in a statement on Thursday. "Disingenuous because he refuses to acknowledge how much his province has benefited from the economic success of the west. His hypocrisy and double standard are surprising.

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," Kenney said. "But he is the leader of Canada's third largest parliament party. He controls the balance of power in the federal government. Whether we like it or not, he is relevant."

He defended one of the top advisers whose $ 18,000 travel account for four trips to London led the opposition NDP to ask the auditor to investigate.

David Knight Legg has been hired to promote Alberta's economy in everything from energy to high technology. But the province offered no details, citing professional confidences and concerns that Knight Legg's contacts might be directed by anti-energy groups.

"This is a guy who, in fact, I personally know, spent thousands of dollars on his own money hosting international business leaders without spending it for the Alberta government," said Kenney.

– With archives from The Canadian Press

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