As the Progressive Conservative leadership race heats up, the Journal brings you a weekly roundup of the major developments ahead of the first ballot, set for Sept. 6
McIver apologizes for taking part in parade
Leadership candidate Ric McIver was forced to apologize for participating in Calgary’s March For Jesus, which was organized by an anti-gay church. The website says gay people are “people of wrong sexual preferences” who are “not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan) and in the same way not concerned with provoking greatly the wrath of the Living God.” McIver said he was unaware of the church’s anti-gay stance and the “ugly, negative, nasty, untrue” anti-gay comments posted by the event’s organizer, Artur Pawlowski. The street minister also wrote in a blog that last year’s flood in southern Alberta was caused in part by God’s displeasure with homosexual people: “He is weeping for the perversions of homosexuality.”
Carbon levy to stay if Prentice wins
Front-runner Jim Prentice said he would not scrap Alberta’s existing carbon levy, but won’t increase it unless the United States implements a similar tax. Prentice said that unilaterally imposing additional business costs will make Alberta energy producers uncompetitive, and will lead to lost jobs and fewer investments in Alberta’s economy. The carbon levy is currently set a $15 a tonne, and the regulation that governs the tax is up for renewal in September.
Candidates comment on Northern Gateway
Leadership candidate Jim Prentice pledged to directly engage with aboriginal communities affected by the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which will carry Alberta’s oilsands products through British Columbia to West Coast tidewater, for sale to Asia. He also said Alberta’s next premier will play a “critical” role in making sure the pipeline gets built. Candidate Thomas Lukaszuk said he too would speak directly with aboriginal groups, noting “it takes political leadership to put forward a framework of negotiations.” Candidate Ric McIver said he is looking forward to seeing Enbridge demonstrate its ability to meet the 209 conditions set down by the National Energy Board, many of which involve aboriginal communities.