Federal Tory Leader Andrew Scheer headlines United Conservative Party rally in Calgary - 2019-04-11
CALGARY—Next fall's federal election campaign came early for hundreds of high-spirited United Conservative Party supporters at a baseball diamond in southwest Calgary on Thursday afternoon. Standing on the back of UCP Leader Jason Kenney's signature blue Dodge Ram pickup truck parked in front of home plate, federal Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer said his upcoming showdown with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicks off with Tuesday's election in Alberta.
"It's going to start here in Alberta by getting rid of the first part of the Rachel Notley — Justin Trudeau alliance," Scheer said amid driving snow to cheers and applause from the crowd. "It's been winter for far too long, but spring is right around the corner." Scheer's appearance at Thursday's rally represented the most high-profile political endorsement Kenney has received in person so far. Throughout his speech, he praised Kenney's political leadership and suggested Notley and Trudeau are in political lockstep over their oil-and-gas policies — a familiar theme to anyone following the UCP's electoral campaign over the past month, in spite of numerous efforts by both leaders to support the industry. "They are cut from the same cloth," Scheer told the crowd. "They both have the same attitude toward our energy sector. They demonize those who have built an industry, who have constantly struggled and striven to improve what you do best every day to innovate, to support families."
The leader of the opposition also supports Kenney despite numerous controversies dogging his campaign, including past hateful remarks made by UCP candidates. In an interview with 660 News before Thursday's rally, Scheer dismissed them. "They are the typical smears every time the Liberals or the NDP lose the debate on ideas, they go to these baseless personal attacks," Scheer told the station. In return, Kenney made a point of throwing the spotlight onto Scheer, describing him as an essential way for Alberta to get a "fair deal" from the rest of the country. He said Albertans are becoming disillusioned with remaining in Confederation, noting a recent poll suggesting over half of Albertans want to separate.