Trudeau says Alberta government fanning the flames of ‘political division’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday there are politicians in Alberta who are contributing to the less than favourable attitude toward his government.

Appearing on 630 CHED Mornings, Trudeau pointed to the recent backlash against the single-use plastics ban in Alberta as one example.

“There is a bit of a political division that unfortunately sometimes takes the place of everything else,” Trudeau said.

Read more: Ottawa plans to ban single-use plastics: What does that mean for Alberta?

On Oct. 6, the province announced the new ban would actually infringe on its plan for plastics. The plan would see plastic products manufactured in Alberta using natural gas, with enhanced recycling techniques to use recycled plastic in the manufacturing of new products.

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“Stay in your own lane, stay within your own constitutional bounds,” Energy Minister Sonya Savage said at the time. “Those plastics are going to be manufactured somewhere, and if it’s not here in Alberta, it’s going to increase manufacturing in other places. We need it in Alberta to diversify the economy and create jobs.”

According to Trudeau, that argument contains a lot of “torque” because a big part of the ban is, while the government is banning specific toxic, one-use plastics, they also plan to bring in a “significant” recycling program for use on plastics so the country can get economic benefits, while having fewer plastics end up in landfills.

“So a lot of the things that we’re doing actually do align with what a lot of really thoughtful people and businesses in Alberta are already going towards,” Trudeau said.

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Read more: Ottawa plans to ban single-use plastics: What does that mean for Alberta?

Political division is also playing a part in getting Alberta the COVID-19 app, he said.

There’s been a lot of discussion about why Alberta isn’t online with the COVID Alert app yet. Alberta created its own COVID-19 alert app, but ran into troubles that required the app to remain open with certain operating systems.

Read more: Kenney says federal government told Apple, Google not to work with Alberta on contact tracing apps

While the province attempted to get that fixed, Premier Jason Kenney said the federal government told Google and Apple not to work with the province.

At the time, there wasn’t a federal app. Now that there is, Trudeau said the reason it isn’t available for Albertans is because Kenney’s government isn’t allowing it in Alberta.

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“If you come into contact with someone from Saskatchewan who then goes on this one and tests positive, it will alert you. So it’s already useful,” Trudeau said.

“It’ll just be a lot more useful when the province decides to give people the ability to plug in the codes.”

Read more: Still no timeline for when Alberta will have access to federal COVID-19 tracking app

Global News has reached out to both Kenney and Savage’s office’s for comments on the claims Trudeau made. This story will be updated if a response is received.

Defending federal policies in Alberta

While appearing on the show, Trudeau was asked about the feeling in Alberta that a lot of his policies hurt Albertans more than help.

Read more: Edmonton company receives federal funds to develop COVID-19 vaccine

He defended his government’s actions by pointing to COVID-19 supports like the emergency wage subsidy and CERB, as well as saying his government has “consistently” been there to support Alberta, “whether it’s a billion dollars for orphaned wells, whether it’s hundreds of millions of dollars for emissions reductions funds.”

“We’ve bought a pipeline in Trans Mountain, which is being built right now because we understand how important it is to get oil to new markets.”

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Read more: Canadians forced to miss work due to coronavirus can apply for federal financial support

Trudeau said that it’s important to get oil to those markets while working to transform the economy to emit less carbon and said that “Alberta ingenuity” will be needed to get that done.

The delay in parliament

Trudeau also took the time to defend the choice to prorogue Parliament for a confidence vote on a new throne speech.

“The plan we put forward 10 months ago in the speech for the throne at the end of 2019 that didn’t allow for a global pandemic, needed to be updated. So we needed to prorogue Parliament to have a new throne speech in order to give a new direction to Parliament,” he said.

“And part of that, in a minority government, is making sure that we have the confidence of the House to be able to continue. We don’t get to govern unless the House has confidence in us.”

Read more: Liberals will not view second Conservative committee motion as confidence vote

Trudeau also called the confidence motions put forward by the Conservative opposition “political games” and said his government remains focused on the pandemic and the health of Canadians.

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“As others play politics and focus on me, I’m going to stay focused on Canadians.”

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