Kenney criticized for insulting prime minister while insisting on decorum

In a newspaper column published Wednesday, United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney said Trudeau doesn't have "the foggiest idea" about how to resolve the dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through British Columbia.

'I know Justin. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing'

UCP Leader Jason Kenney says he stands by remarks published in a newspaper column that questioned the depth of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CBC)

United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney is standing by insults he made in a newspaper column about the intelligence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In a column by the Calgary Sun's Rick Bell published Wednesday, Kenney said Trudeau doesn't have "the foggiest idea" about how to resolve the dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through British Columbia. 

"I know Justin. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing," Kenney said. "This guy is an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl.

"He can't read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin."

The comments were published one day after Kenney remarked on what he considers a lack of decorum inside the Alberta legislature, a frequent complaint of his since becoming an MLA earlier this year. 

"So now I see we're back to the NDP attacking their opponents," Kenney said in the house Tuesday. "But that's all right, Mr. Speaker. When they go low, we'll go high. Can you hear them heckling? It never stops.

"The anger machine never turns off."

Kenney was challenged by reporters at the legislature about the apparent contradiction between his words and actions. 

Initially, Kenney resorted to his usual talking points on how the prime minister was not standing up for Alberta. Then he claimed he was simply answering a question. 

"I was asked about whether I thought the prime minister understands the complexity of the pipeline issue and frankly, based on my first-hand experience, I don't think he does," Kenney said.

Premier Rachel Notley said she found it ironic Kenney could express such "a tremendous amount of personal hostility toward the prime minister" on the same day he used Michelle Obama's "when they go low, we go high" quote.

She suggested Kenney's remarks were unseemly for someone who aspires to be premier of Alberta.

"Anyone who is presenting themselves as being equipped to lead the province needs to learn very quickly to rise above his personal hostilities," she said.

Kenney insisted he was standing up to a prime minister who has put the future Trans Mountain expansion in jeopardy. 

"I was using colourful language to respond to a question about his understanding of this issue," Kenney said.