On Oct. 6, 2022, it was announced that Danielle Smith would be the premier-designate for Alberta. She won by 53.8 per cent on the sixth ballot, while Travis Toews received 46.2 per cent of the vote and Brian Jean was kicked out of the race after the fifth ballot (Global News). Smith beat out Toews, the former Minister of Finance under Kenney and the UCP, and Jean, the former and final leader of the Wild Rose party. Jason Kenney’s successor and the next premier of Alberta was determined by members of the United Conservative Party (UCP). However, Danielle Smith was the only contestant to not have a seat in the Alberta Legislature and is still yet to win a seat.
The leadership race comes after Kenney decided to step down as leader of the UCP. As the leader of the UCP, Kenney faced many scandals, leading to the UCP calling for a leadership review. The leadership review led to a no-confidence vote, where Kenney received a confidence vote of 51.4 per cent (CBC). However, Kenney did not find 51.4 per cent sufficient enough to stay on as leader and then resigned. His resignation led to this leadership race, and Danielle Smith succeeded him.
Jason Kenney was the first leader of the UCP, which was formed by combining the former Progressive Conservative Party and the Wild Rose Party in 2017. Later in 2019, the UCP won against the New Democratic Party (NDP), and Jason Kenney succeeded Rachel Notley, leader of the NDP.
Smith won the UCP leadership race while running on several controversial opinions. She has previously said, “hydroxychloroquine cures 100 per cent of coronavirus patients within six days of treatment” (CBC). Other statements regarding the COVID-19 pandemic include believing that unvaccinated people are the most discriminated against worldwide.
Other opinions regarding health have also included stating that cancer is preventable up to the fourth stage. “But, when you think about everything that built up before you got to stage four and that diagnosis, that’s completely within your control and there’s something you can do about that that is different” (City News).
Opinions not relating to the COVID-19 pandemic include the Alberta Sovereignty Act. The Alberta Sovereignty Act would allow Alberta to not follow federal laws that the provincial government disagrees with. The Alberta Sovereignty Act would mean that the Alberta government would have to be ready to ignore rulings on their decision-making performed by the courts (CTV). According to Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant-General of Alberta, that would violate the constitution, and she will not sign a bill into law that violates the constitution (CTV).
Regarding individuals who work for minimum wage, Smith argues that people who work minimum wage are people who “lack skills.” Smith wants to lower Alberta’s minimum wage from $15/hour (Fraser Institute).
Image credit: James Franson/The Canadian Press