'Stop blocking oil and gas pipelines': Kenney fires back at Legault over equalization
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 2:44PM MDT
A third round of shots was fired Monday between Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Quebec Premier François Legault in a cross-country dispute about equalization.
Kenney said the French-Canadian leader doesn't understand the Canadian equalization system in a Facebook post, responding to remarks Legault made at a conference over the weekend.
"Our call for a fair deal in the federation simply means this," Kenney wrote.
"If Ottawa and other provinces want to benefit from Alberta’s resources, then they must not oppose the transport and sale of those resources."
The back-and-forth was prompted by a video Kenney posted to Twitter on Saturday, in which he said Alberta would hold a provincial referendum about erasing Section 36 of the constitution, the founding principle of Canada's equalization system.
"We are fighting for a fair equalization formula. If we do not get one, and if we don't get a coastal pipeline built, if we don't have a federal government that repeals and anti-Alberta laws like Bill C-69, then we will, here in Alberta, hold a referendum on deleting Section 36 of the Constitution Act," he promised in the video.
At Coalition Avenir Québec, Legault responded by saying he intends for Quebec to not need equalization payments in the future—but that they are a right until then.
“Equalization has been in the constitution since Day 1 of Canada. The idea that we might let equalization drop is out of the question,” the Montreal Gazette reported Legault saying.
In his Monday response, Kenney said it was wrong for Legault to suggest the equalization formula is as old as the constitution or that it cannot be amended.
He added Alberta would not stand by while provinces that either oppose energy development or do not develop their own resources benefit from Alberta's oil profits.
"To put it more bluntly: If you want to benefit from our oil and gas wealth, stop blocking oil and gas pipelines," Kenney wrote.
Kenney said the potential referendum would be held in 2021, to coincide with the municipal elections.