Election Victory Speech

Thank you!! Friends, today our great province has sent a message to Canada and the world: Alberta is open for business! This democratic decision is a message to all of those Albertans who are struggling. To the unemployed, to those who have given up, to the small business owners barely hanging on, to the young people who got their degrees and diplomas but can’t put them to work, to those who have lost their homes and their hope after years of economic decline and stagnation. To them, tonight, we send this message: Help is on the way, and hope is on the horizon! 

Albertans have elected a government that will be obsessed with getting this province back to work. A team that will do everything in our power, every single day, to create tens of thousands of good jobs:

– by restoring investor confidence, 

– by unleashing the job creating power of our entrepreneurs, 

– by taking Alberta from being the slowest moving and most over regulated economy in Canada to being one of the freest and fastest moving economies in the world!

Tonight I send a message to businesses everywhere: if you want to benefit from what will be the lowest taxes in Canada, a government that will cut its red tape burden by at least one third, with Canada’s best educated population and a deep culture of enterprise and innovation, come to Alberta! Help us to renew the Alberta Advantage!

And tonight we send a message to our fellow Canadians from coast to coast: We Albertans are proud Canadians, and tonight we have elected a government that will stand up and secure a fair deal for Alberta in this great country! There is a deep frustration in this province, a sense that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but that everywhere we turn we are being blocked in and pinned down. Albertans have contributed over $600 billion net to the rest of Canada in recent decades through fiscal federalism. And until recently, we have been a key engine of Canada’s prosperity, of growing the middle class, of economic progress and social mobility. Our population has doubled in recent decades as we have welcomed newcomers from every corner of Canada, people who often left behind the despair of unemployment to enjoy the dignity of work in Alberta’s opportunity society. We are proud to have helped our fellow Canadians when times were good here and tough elsewhere.

But now Albertans are going through a time of trial. We have the highest unemployment outside of Atlantic Canada.Nearly 200,000 Albertans are out of work. Thousands of businesses have closed their doors. Incomes are down. Bankruptcies are up. This is in part because we cannot get our energy to global markets at a fair price. We Canadians have been blessed with the world’s third largest oil reserves, and an abundance of natural gas. But we have been targeted by a foreign funded campaign of special interests seeking to land-lock Canadian energy. This means that we Canadians have become captive to the United States as the only market for Canada’s largest export product: our energy. As a result, we have been selling our country’s greatest asset at fire sale prices, losing billions of dollars of value, money that could build schools and hospitals across Canada. This giveaway of Canadian energy has caused the flight of tens of billions of dollars of investment from Alberta, and with it the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. And we are subsidizing the US economy in the process, while the investment that has fled Canada is fueling an unprecedented oil boom south of the border.

Meanwhile, the foreign funded special interests campaigning against Canadian energy have done precisely nothing to stop the doubling of oil production in the United States, or to reduce by one barrel energy coming from OPEC dictatorships, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In other words, we’ve been had. And in Ottawa, we have a federal government that has made this bad situation worse, killing two major coastal pipelines, including Energy East that would have helped Quebec and Atlantic Canada displace foreign oil imports with Canadian energy! That same federal government is imposing new laws that will make it impossible to get pipelines approved in the future. And we have provincial governments that have tried to block our energy. Tonight all of that changes. Tonight Albertans have decided that we will no longer passively accept the campaign of defamation against the industry that has helped us to create one of the most prosperous and generous societies on Earth. Tonight we say to our fellow Canadians: let us unite, together, to unleash our country’s full economic potential!

Let us renew the promise of Confederation as a true economic union. Let us begin a new era in Canada, putting behind us all the barriers to trade and mobility that make us poorer. We Albertans love our natural environment, and seek to preserve it. We take seriously the challenge of climate change. We are world leaders in innovating to reduce emissions and shrink the environmental footprint of Canadian energy. And we are united in the need to continue diversifying our economy. But as long as there is a growing global demand for oil and gas, the question is who will provide it: will we abandon global energy markets to dictatorships that spread conflict and violence around the world? Or will Canada compete with and displace conflict oil with Canadian energy that is produced at the highest environmental, human rights and labour standards on Earth? Fellow Canadians, the world needs more Canada, and more Canadian energy. This is not just about our shared prosperity. It is also a moral cause.

Let me thank the growing alliance of provincial governments who are champions of jobs, pipelines, and our natural resources. Thank-you especially to my friends the Premiers Moe of Saskatchewan, Pallister of Manitoba, Ford of Ontario, Higgs of New Brunswick, and McLeod of the North West Territories. I look forward to deepening our work together to create jobs and prosperity. Let me also thank the growing number of progressive Indigenous leaders across Canada who want to be partners in responsible resource development. Alberta’s government will sit down with you in the spirit of the treaties, and of reconciliation, to develop real partnerships that can help move First Nations people from poverty to prosperity through resources. We will create the Aboriginal Opportunities Corporation to help First Nations become co-owners of pipelines and other major projects. The time has come to move beyond symbolic gestures to real, practical measures for indigenous people to benefit from the resources that lie beneath the lands that they first inhabited. Again, this is not just an economic imperative. It is a moral obligation of our generation. And now I have a message to those foreign funded special interests who have been leading a campaign of economic sabotage against this great province.

To the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, Lead Now, the David Suzuki Foundation and all of the others: Your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended. We Albertans are patient and fair minded, but we have had enough of your campaign of defamation and double standards. Today, we begin to stand up for ourselves, for our jobs, for our future. Today we begin to fight back. From this point forward, when you lie about how we produce energy, we will tell the truth assertively, and we will use every means at our disposal to hold you to account. When multinational companies like HSBC boycott Alberta,we’ll boycott them. We will launch a public inquiry into the foreign source of funds behind the campaign to land-lock Alberta energy.And now I would like to speak directly to our friends in Quebec. LeQuébec et l’Alberta ont toujours été des alliés naturels.Les Albertains admirent les Québécois.

Nous partageons des valeurs communes et croyons en un fédéralisme respectueux des champs de compétence provinciale. Des milliers de Québécois ont choisi d’élire leur domicile en Alberta. J’ai énormément de respect pour votre premier ministre, François Legault. J’admire le fait que son gouvernement mette l’accent sur la croissance économique, et se soit engagé à éliminer la dépendance du Québec envers la péréquation. Les Albertains sont généreux. En période de prospérité, nous n’avons jamais hésité à partager notre richesse avec les autres provinces. Mais les temps ont beaucoup changé. L’Alberta fait maintenant face à de sérieuses difficultés économiques. Nous vivons une crise en matière d’emploi, marquée par un taux de chômage élevé. Pourquoi ces difficultés? Eh bien, l’une des raisons est que nous ne pouvons pas exporter notre pétrole dans les marchés internationaux. NOUS AVONS BESOIN DE PIPELINES pour la prospérité de tous les Canadiens, y compris des Québécois! 

WE NEED PIPELINES for the prosperity of all Canadians, including Quebecers! La décision à prendre n’est pas difficile: faut-il privilégier le pétrole albertain, qui est produit dans le respect des normes environnementales et sociales les plus rigoureuses? Ou celui des États-Unis et des dictatures de l’OPEC? Poser la question, c’est y répondre!

The decision we need to make is not difficult: must we favour Alberta’s oil, which is produced at the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility? Or must we choose oil from the United States and foreign dictatorships? To ask the question is to answer it! So, let me say this to all Quebecers and to Premier Legault: at a time when Alberta is hurting, we need to work together.

Si le Québec et les autres provinces veulent accepter les transferts fiscaux massifs provenant de l’Alberta, alors, s’il vous plaît, aidez-nous à développer nos ressources naturelles et notre économie! Travaillons ensemble afin d’accroître notre prospérité commune au sein de la fédération canadienne!

If Quebec and other provinces want to accept massive fiscal transfers generated in Alberta, then please help us develop our resources and get them to global markets! It’s a win-win! Let us work together to strengthen our shared prosperity in the Canadian federation! 

Friends, today Albertans have chosen hope over fear, and unity over division. They have chosen free enterprise values over the politics of resentment. They have rejected the politics of personal destruction, and endorsed the most detailed plan ever offered to Alberta voters. 117 pages long, with 375 specific commitments to get Alberta working. The silent majority has spoken. Not the loud and angry voices on social media. But average Albertans who simply want their common sense values reflected in their government:

-who want high quality health, education, and public services, but who understand that we need a vibrant private sector economy to pay for them.

-who get that governments can’t redistribute wealth unless someone is creating it through their hard work in the first place.

-who know that we can’t tax and borrow our way to prosperity.

-who see businesses as job creators to be strengthenedand encouraged, not as profiteers to be demonized, over regulated and over taxed.

-who understand that the carbon tax is all economic pain, and no environmental gain, and who want to scrap the carbon tax cash grab.

-Who know that debt is a trap that takes moves money from public services to bankers and bond holders

-who believe in our tradition of school choice because parents know better than politicians what’s best for their kids.

Let me thank all of those who have entrusted us with your confidence today. We will strive to honour your confidence every day. To be sure, our government will make mistakes. We will not be perfect. But I can guarantee you that we will work every single day to deliver on our commitments to you, to create jobs,to fight for a fair deal in Canada, to make Alberta strong and free. Premier Notley and I spoke earlier this evening. I look forward to working with her on an orderly transition. Let me thank the Premier for her tremendous public service. As I have said many times before, we are fortunate to have a Premier of such intelligence, ability and such passion for this province.

Our disagreements should never diminish our respect for one another as Albertans who are devoted to making life better for our fellow citizens. So on behalf of all Albertans, thank-you, Premier, for your hard work over these past four years.  Thank-you to your team. While we have policy differences, there can be no doubt that you have always sought to make the right decisions in the service of Albertans according to the best of your judgement. Let me also thank David Khan, Stephen Mandel, and their teams. Albertans are well served to have political leadership of this caliber. Thank-you as well to candidates from all parties who had the courage to put their names on the ballot. You helped to make democracy happen today.

Fellow Albertans, it is my hope that we can work together to stop the coarsening of our public discourse. To raise the bar of civility and respect. And while we will always have disagreements, as we should in a democracy, let us seek to express them without being disagreeable. 

Thank-you to our remarkable United Conservative team of candidates, a new generation that is ready to lead. To those who have been elected, I can’t wait to get to work with you. And to those who didn’t succeed tonight, you contributed to our broader success, for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank-you so much to our thousands of volunteers who have worked so hard to bring us to this moment of hope and change. Thank-you to the voters of Calgary-Lougheed for entrusting me with your confidence once again.  And a special thank-you to my campaign manager, Tascha Schindel, and our amazing local volunteers, for running a brilliant campaign in my absence! Nearly three years ago we launched an audacious campaign to re-unite free enterprise Albertans into one big tent coalition.  Many said it couldn’t be done. But we overcame enormous obstacles along the way. To all of those who opened their homes and their hearts to me as I visited every corner of this province over the past three years: thank-you! I have been moved again and again by the endless generosity of Albertans in building this grassroots movement into the biggest provincial political party in Canada.

Let me tell you about one such individual.

August the 6th, 2016, I pulled up that blue pickup in front of the Esso station in Hardisty. It doesn’t get much more Alberta than Hardisty, by the way. I was filling up my gas tank and a young fellow pulls up behind me, jumps out, rushes up, starts filling … says to me, “Excuse me, are you that Kenney guy?” I said, “Yeah.” He says, “How long before you get rid of this government?” I said, “Probably about three years.” He said to me, “Sir, that’s not fast enough. You got to go faster.” I said, “Look, fellow. I’m going as fast as I can, but they will choose when the election is, not us.”

And he stopped me right there. He said, “Sir,” he got very emotional. He said, “Sir, please understand. My dad lost his job out here 18 months ago. He’s getting depressed now. I’ve never seen him like this before and I’m worried about him. And I’m just 17 and I’m the only paycheck for mom and dad and all four of my brothers and sisters.” And that young 17-year-old started to tear up in front of me.

I realized at any normal time in our Alberta lives, that 17-year-old would be working hard and playing hard, probably not paying a lot of attention to politics. But suddenly, the decisions that we made today meant everything for him and his family.

To that young man, wherever you are… I have thought about you and your family every day for the past three years. I hope that you and your family are okay. I’m sorry that it took so long. But we finally got ‘er done. Folks, that young man, and countless other Albertans are what this is all about. We haven’t worked this hard for this long for politics, or for power, but for people. The people who have lost so much. The people at the margins. Tonight, and the next four years is for them. It’s about doing everything within to make it possible for people to achieve their God given potential. It’s about the single moms struggling to make ends meet. The seniors on fixed incomes who are anxious about paying the bills.

The farmers and small business owners who have sleepless nights about growing debt. The First Nations people who too often feel like they can’t get a fair shot at opportunity. The new Canadians who are stuck in survival jobs because they can’t get their degrees or work experience recognized. The young Albertans who are wondering if they have to leave our province to find work. The oil field families who have lost their homes. The lady in Medicine Hat who approached me in tears last week to say “my husband has been forced to work in Ontario for the last two years. Please help us so he can just come home to Alberta.” I stand here tonight to fight for these Albertans, and so many more like them. Let me speak to those Albertans who did not vote for United Conservatives tonight. I respect and honour your choice. We will strive to be a government for all Albertans, not just those who voted for us.

Albertans have given us a mandate to implement the positive ideas in our platform, to bring bold change that gets Alberta back to work. In implementing those policies, we will reach out to those who disagree in a spirit of dialogue, to find common ground wherever possible, to listen, and when we’re wrong, to change course. Friends, let me close as I began our Unite Alberta movement three years ago. I believe that Alberta is not just a random collection of people. It’s not just a place on the map. Alberta is an idea. An idea of a society that believes deeply in the dignity of the human person, and in a great tradition of ordered liberty. The idea that strong families, communities and resilient individuals are more effective at achieving human flourishing than a big, impersonal bureaucratic state. A place that believes in gratitude over resentment, and humility over hubris. The idea that we owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us: those who, through their sacrifices, gave.