UCP Leader Jason Kenney at the Golden Temple in Amritsar – UCP photo
by Morinville News Staff
Despite picking up criticism for a “questionable trip” and the nickname Minister of Make Believe from Premier Rachel Notley, UCP Leader Jason Kenney says his six-day mission trip to India was a success.
Kenney was joined on the journey by Trade Critic Devin Dreeshen and UCP Energy Critic Prasad Panda, the latter of whom has now gone on to Hong Kong for additional meetings.
“After spending six days in India meeting with senior government and business leaders, I am more confident than ever that Alberta can and should forge stronger ties with India, the world’s largest democracy,” Kenney said in a media release Monday, adding he’s spent two decades developing relationships with key Indian political and business leaders.
The UCP leader said the purpose of the opposition visit was to renew relationships to create Alberta advantages with 1.3 billion potential consumers.
Among a number of India trip stops, Kenney and his UCP delegation toured the Reliance facility at Jamnagar, Gujarat, the world’s largest refinery. They also met with executives from Indian energy firms.
“It’s clear that Indian officials and industry leaders are highly interested in Alberta oil and gas to help meet their burgeoning energy demands,” Kenney said. “India is currently reliant on oil imports from such places as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela.”
Kenney said he believes Alberta, with its political stability, can replace India’s other suppliers, but the federal government needs to make it so the province’s oil can get to the coast.
“Should the UCP have the privilege of forming government next spring, I will make strengthening commercial relations with India a top trade priority for the Government of Alberta, including returning to lead a Government mission as Premier,” Kenney said.
Kenney has received criticism from the NDP for his trip and the possibility of those he met misunderstanding his role in government.
On Sept. 17, early into the trip, Nitin Gadkari, the country’s current Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, posted a tweet referring to Kenney as a Minister from Alberta.
Kenney said he neither missrepresented himself or criticized the government while in India.