'I don't have another country to belong to yet': Wexit Canada interim leader won't give up federal pension
Premier Jason Kenney said he assumed Jay Hill would give up his pension as head of separatist party
Veteran conservative politician Jay Hill says Premier Jason Kenney is mistaken if he thinks Alberta will ever get a "fair deal" from Ottawa — something he believes only the separation of the western provinces will achieve.
But despite taking over as interim leader of the separatist Wexit Canada party, there are some connections to Parliament Hill he is not yet ready to sever — such as his MP pension plan.
"I don't think I'll do it immediately — I don't have another country to belong to, yet," Hill told CBC Calgary News at 6. "I think most Canadians would recognize I put in my time there, represented the people.
"I've earned that pension many times over."
Hill was responding to comments made by Kenney on Wednesday, when the premier was asked his reaction to his former colleague taking over as Wexit Canada leader.
"All I can say is, that I assume he's going to give up his MP pension plan that's paid by Ottawa if he's going to advocate for separation," Kenney said.
Hill served as MP for Prince George-Peace River in northern B.C. for 17 years under three parties. He also served as House leader under then-prime minister Stephen Harper at the time of his retirement in 2010.
He will serve as party head until a new leader can be elected at Wexit Canada's first convention.
Speaking Wednesday to CBC Calgary News at 6, Hill said a successful Wexit Canada party would mean support from all of western Canada — not just Alberta.
"It'll all be up to the people, we've said that repeatedly," Hill said. "The people will, at one point, let it be known. If we cannot generate more than 50 per cent support for this in the various provinces, not just in Alberta, then it's going to fail."
In an interview with CBC News on June 23, Hill said he was re-entering politics with the future of his grandchildren in mind.
"I'm deeply concerned with the growing national debt, with a lot of the issues that are facing Canadians with a prime minister and a government that continues to throw billions of dollars away internationally while so many people are facing tough times here at home," he said Tuesday.
"That my grandchildren will not have the same opportunities that my father's generation gave us, people of my age."
With files from CBC Calgary News at 6 and Sarah Rieger