Alberta leaders renew attacks on final full day of election campaign

UC Leader Jason Kenney and the NDP’s Rachel Notley traded attacks over the pipeline issue

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, left to right, Alberta Liberal Party leader David Khan, Alberta New Democrat Party leader and incumbent premier Rachel Notley and Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel greet each before the start of the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan)

A day before Alberta voters go to the polls, United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and the NDP’s Rachel Notley traded attacks over the pipeline issue that has come to define the campaign.

“Just one more sleep, one more day before Albertans have an opportunity to vote for change that gets our province back to work and that gets Alberta back on track,” Kenney told cheering supporters outside a campaign office in Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton, on Monday.

READ MORE: Albertans at the polls: Ten constituencies to watch in the provincial election

Kenney, Notley and all other parties knocked on doors and rallied supporters one last time before voting day on Tuesday.

In Calgary, Notley donned a hard hat and work boots to tour a pipe fabrication yard.

“Through patient and determined action, we have built a durable national consensus on the need for pipelines,” she said.

“A strong and growing majority of Canadians support Alberta pipelines, including in British Columbia. And I intend to keep it that way.”

She said she’s expecting a federal green light next month for the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would move oilsands crude to the West Coast for export.

Kenney has spent much of the campaign criticizing Notley for what he calls her failure to deliver on a pipeline and her failed collaboration with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on energy and climate policy.

He has said that if elected, he would set up an Alberta government “war room” to go after pipeline critics in real time and file several legal actions.

In Sherwood Park, Kenney reiterated that Job 1 of his government would be to proclaim into law a bill passed by the Notley government giving the province the power to reduce oil exports to B.C. if it continues to impede progress on Trans Mountain.

“What we will no longer tolerate are politicians and governments benefiting from our hard work and our resource wealth while doing everything they can to block that wealth and not allow us to achieve our economic potential,” said Kenney.

Notley said Kenney’s stance puts the pipeline in jeopardy.

“Mr. Kenny is prepared to mess it all up so that he can make headlines. It’s risky. It’s wrong for Alberta,” she said.

Notley ridiculed Kenney’s promise to turn off the taps to B.C., saying the province is currently not the major roadblock to Trans Mountain. Rather, the expansion was delayed last year because the Federal Court of Appeal ordered more Indigenous consultation and study into the impact on marine life.

“Unless he thinks he’s got one particular judge that he’s going to somehow pull back on their access to gas … it’s just not connected to the real problem,” she said.

“And he knows it, but he’s just playing games. It’s irresponsible and Albertans deserve better than that.”

Also Monday, Kenney addressed the issue of his Calgary-East candidate Peter Singh. Mounties raided Singh’s auto-repair shop last week and confiscated a computer hard drive and other items.

Singh has said he has done nothing wrong.

Kenney told reporters that while he has not talked with Singh, he understands police are dealing with Singh’s son, not Singh.

“I’ve learned nothing more than what I’ve read in the media,” said Kenney.

“As far as I know, he (Singh) hasn’t been accused of anything.”

— With files from Lauren Krugel in Calgary

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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