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Kenney's premiership poses challenges, opportunity for Trudeau, Scheer

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney addresses supporters in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 16, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

OTTAWA — Attention is now turning to how Jason Kenney’s win in Alberta could impact the fall federal election.

Political observers say Kenney, an outspoken and articulate former Stephen Harper cabinet minister, creates threats and opportunities for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer ahead of the fall campaign.

Kenney has made it clear he plans to fiercely challenge Trudeau on issues including the carbon tax and equalization payments, and so far has pummelled the Liberals on the former, says former federal Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day.

Day says the premier-designate is also poised to be a national voice defending areas of provincial jurisdiction.

Abacus Data chief executive David Coletto says Kenney intends to be a thorn in the prime minister’s side, but that could give Trudeau an opening to convince voters it is necessary to elect a federal government to act as a counterpoint to Conservative politicians across the country.

But Kenney has also picked on issues that could be difficult for Scheer to navigate on a national stage, says University of Alberta political scientist Jared Wesley, including demands to change the equalization formula that most federal politicians avoid discussing,

The Canadian Press

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