With the surprising announcement that Jason Kenney would be stepping down as Alberta’s premier, Danielle Smith has joined the ranks of the political elite, assuming Alberta’s top spot. Her first week in office has been, to say the least, eventful.
In a province-wide video conference on Nov. 22, 2022, Smith televised her prospective plans for Alberta. In her address, she discussed the Affordability Action Plan, a response to the high inflation rate we have seen in the past two years.
The Alberta Consumer Price Index Change found that between October 2021 and October 2022, goods and services increased by 6.8 per cent, food increased by 10.3 per cent, and energy by 13.6 per cent. The Affordability Action Plan details $2.8 billion in relief measures to cut costs for families, businesses, and Albertans struggling with the inflated cost of living.
These measures include fuel tax relief, electricity, and natural gas rebates.
Smith also declared that the Alberta government will provide financial support for seniors and families with dependents under 18 with an income threshold of $180,000 per year. These financial moves aim to provide relief for Albertans during this inflationary time.
While families and seniors are grateful for the financial support, many of us are awaiting word on the future of our healthcare system. Smith’s AHS Reform Plan aims to increase emergency vehicle response times, decrease emergency wait room times, reduce the wait times for surgeries, and consult with front-line workers on improving the health care system.
The reform focuses specifically on emergency services and wait times but avoids discussing the issue that most Albertans have been itching to hear about since she was made Premier. Will she be pursuing a privatized healthcare system? Smith has yet to answer this question in full, but with the UCP’s strong stance towards it when they voted to approve the policy back in 2020, Albertans could be gearing up for a privatized system.
Premier Danielle Smith has only been in office for a month and has big plans for the future of Alberta. We will begin to see her latest plans take action at the start of 2023.