Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney is being criticized for a personal attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who he called empty and clueless.
Kenney — who has said he wants to bring civility back to politics — made the comments in a Calgary Sun column detailing his frustration with how Ottawa is handling a dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
In the column, Kenney said he got to know Trudeau well when they were both MPs in Ottawa and said Trudeau doesn’t have “the foggiest idea what’s going on.”
Kenney went on say Trudeau “doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing” and called him “an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl.”
He also said Trudeau can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the comments show a lot of personal hostility toward Trudeau and says Kenney needs to rise above that to be an effective leader.
Watch below: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley calls Jason Kenney’s comments about Justin Trudeau a sign of ‘personal hostility.’
Since becoming leader of Alberta’s UCP, Kenney has said he is on a mission to bring back civility to politics and recently told the legislature that “When they go low, we’ll go high.”
When asked by reporters on Wednesday whether his comments on Trudeau throw that commitment to decorum into question, Kenney pointed to his party’s actions in the legislature over the past few months.
“I think we’ve gone 10 weeks here… based on my recollection, not a single heckle coming from a United Conservative MLA and as I say everyday, I have tremendous respect for our premier and many great, talented members of her team and we intend to continue with that.”
Watch below: Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney admits he used colourful language to respond to a question about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said he doesn’t believe the prime minister knows what’s going on with Kinder Morgan.
Kenney was asked if he thought some of his comments about Trudeau amounted to a personal attack but Kenney seemed to dismiss the accusation.
“I was using colourful language to respond to a question about his understanding of this issue,” he said.
“All I can tell you is I worked with dozens of MPs in Ottawa, including critics who were thoughtful, intelligent, engaged people with whom I had a constructive relationship — he wasn’t one of them.”
Watch: The leader of the UCP isn’t apologizing for personally attacking the prime minister. Jason Kenney said Justin Trudeau has the “political depth of a finger bowl.” Sarah Kraus has more.
Kenney also called Justin Trudeau “one of the worst prime ministers for Alberta in our history” and also said he was “the most unpopular prime minister in Alberta polling history.”
“The reason we’re in this crisis now is because he killed Energy East, he killed Northern Gateway, he surrendered to Obama on Keystone XL and he’s done precisely nothing to ensure the construction of Trans Mountain. He’s trying to impose a 67 per cent increase on the carbon tax, a pipeline bill that will prevent the construction of future pipelines — this is a series of policies that have done deep damage to Alberta jobs and the economy and I cannot understand the Alberta NDP’s strategy of total surrender to Justin Trudeau on all of these fronts. It’s time that we had a provincial governement that acutally defends our province and doesn’t apologize for it.”
-With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich