News / Calgary

Jason Kenney stirs pot with 'disgusting' Green Line statements

UCP leader suggests NDP played a role in the changes to the Green Line stage 1 project scope

Jason Kenney celebrates his victory as the first official leader of the Alberta United Conservative Party in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

Jason Kenney celebrates his victory as the first official leader of the Alberta United Conservative Party in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The Government of Alberta is saying statements UCP leader Jason Kenney has released on Facebook about their role in shrinking and delaying the Green Line are "completely wrong."

In a Facebook post over the weekend, Jason Kenney wrote that the Green Line has shrunk significantly after being stalled for two-years as the NDP government waited to decide on funding.

"The NDP also claim that cancellation cancelling of the carbon tax will jeopardize the project’s funding," [sic] wrote Kenney. "This is insulting to the intelligence of Albertans. Infrastructure spending occurred before the carbon tax, and it will continue after the carbon tax."

The post included a graphic that read "Why did the NDP shrink the Greenline?" [sic] with information about the LRT vision including 50 kilometres of track in 2015 compared to 20 kilometres in 2017.

"He is making political hay out of an issue, completely making up a story about what is happening with the Green Line and it's absolutely disgusting he's playing politics this way," said Alberta Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen. "This project wasn't stalled, there has been extensive planning going on ... I'm amazed that Jason Kenney would even come up with this story."

She said it's the height of arrogance to suggest that he knows better what the people of Calgary or city should do.

Jeff Binks, LRT on the Green Foundation president said it's disappointing to see Kenney mislead the public on the project. The grassroots group has been advocating for the project since 2014.

"I think it's important to say that Jason Kenney played a key role in securing the federal funding for the Green Line back in 2015, without that funding we wouldn't even have a conversation about the Green Line right now," said Binks. "But it's because of his role in 2015 that we're that much more disappointed about his statements."

Binks said the project hasn't been delayed, and although stage 1 only includes 20 of the proposed 40-kilometre line, the overall vision for the line hasn't changed. He also underlined that the NDP has had zero involvement in how the Green Line has been shaped.

"2020 has always been the start date since day one," Binks said.

He said Kenney's attempts to score political points by making false statements about the Green Line are taking away from a conversation that's needed: how to fund the remainder of the line.

When asked for a comment, Kenney's media representative resurfaced a statement he made in August about the "incredible shrinking LRT" and also urged Metro to look at some statements the UCP leader was making on Twitter.

"Reminder to the NDP: I secured & announced largest federal infrastructure investment in Alberta history, $1.53 billion for the Green Line," read Kenney's Tweet.

"After waiting two years and cutting the Green Line in half, you accuse me of wanting to scrap the project that I announced? That's about as credible as your platform that promised no carbon tax."

When asked about Kenney's Green Line statements blaming the NDP for the line's length and delaying the project, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he'd be happy to give any provincial politician a briefing on the importance of the project, but he's had no requests.

"It's kind of a silly thing to say," said Nenshi.

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