Calgary

Kenney says UCP won't 'get distracted' by GSAs and other issues 'voters aren't talking about'

UCP Leader Jason Kenney says his party won't get distracted by issues he says voters are not talking about, including so-called bozo eruptions and gay-straight alliances.

'There are parallel realities going on here,' says party leader

UCP Leader Jason Kenney speaks to reporters in Calgary on Tuesday. (CBC)

UCP Leader Jason Kenney says his party won't get distracted by issues he says voters are not talking about, including so-called bozo eruptions and gay-straight alliances.

He made the comments during a media availability Tuesday in Calgary, where he addressed Senate hearings on oil and gas legislation.

"There are parallel realities going on here," Kenney said when asked about the number of questions he has received regarding political scandals UCP candidates have faced and the party's stance on gay-straight alliances.

He said he's heard from candidates that they're most often asked about the economy, jobs and pipelines while door-knocking, as candidates standing behind him chuckled and affirmed what he said. 

"We just don't get distracted by issues that voters are not talking about."

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Controversial comments by current and former UCP candidates have dogged Kenney throughout the campaign, including a candidate who compared LGBTQ relationships to pedophilia, and two candidates who dropped out of the election after racist, homophobic and white supremacist opinions were revealed. 

The party has also received heat for its plan to return to old rules on gay-straight alliances, which has drawn hundreds to protests around the province.

"There are two campaigns happening here. There's the Twitter-driven campaign, which is largely manufactured outrage dominated by the left-wing anger machine, which really bears no relationship to reality. And then there's the real campaign, which these folks encounter at hundreds of homes every day, which is focused on four years of economic decline and stagnation," Kenney said.

Shortly before he addressed the news media, Kenney stopped by a protest in downtown Calgary outside where Senate committee hearings were being held on Bill C-69, which would change how major energy projects are approved in Canada.

He told the approximately 1,000 protesters that if elected, the UCP would launch a legal challenge against the constitutionality of the bill. 

"We will use every legal and political tool at our disposal to fight this," he said.

He also accused NDP Leader Rachel Notley of meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the day Bill C-48 — which would ban oil tankers from docking on B.C.'s north coast — was announced.

On Tuesday, Notley addressed a Senate transport committee in Ottawa via video link and asked Senators to toss the bill "in the garbage."

"It's not really a tanker ban at all. It's a ban on energy resources produced in Alberta, by Canadians, from getting overseas," she said.

Notley also spoke to reporters about Bill C-69, saying Ottawa has a path forward to make needed amendments to the legislation.

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