danielle-smith-alberta-premier

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith is the premier of Alberta. After taking over as the leader of the United Conservative Party, she steered the UCP to victory over the NDP in the 2023 Alberta election.

Danielle Smith’s political career

Many thought Smith’s political career was over in 2014 when, as the leader of the now-defunct Wildrose Party, she led a mass floor crossing to the governing Progressive Conservatives. 

The surprise move angered her supporters and was considered a major factor in the election of Alberta’s first NDP government. That, in turn, was a driving force in the unite the right campaign that eventually merged the PCs and the Wildrose into the current United Conservative Party.

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After leaving politics, Smith soon found herself hosting a radio show and eventually heading up the Alberta Enterprise Group — a business advocacy organization which lobbied the provincial government. 

Despite predictions that she’d never return to politics, Smith entered the race to become leader of the UCP in 2022 after Jason Kenney stepped aside following months of controversy and dismal polling numbers. She won the race in October 2022.

Danielle Smith’s Alberta Sovereignty Act

During the leadership campaign, Smith courted anger at pandemic public health policies which helped to bring down Kenney, and promised to stick it to Ottawa with her proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act that she insisted would allow the province to ignore some federal laws. 

Those promises and the wave of frustration that crowned her leader of the UCP have been a source of controversy now that she’s in government.

The new premier has struggled under the weight of controversies — from claiming unproven Indigenous heritage, to her watered-down Alberta Sovereignty Act, to saying the unvaccinated face more discrimination than any other group, to her proposal to subsidize oil and gas companies to clean up their messes and a short-lived war of words over proposed federal “just transition” legislation.

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