We have had a “new” Premier imposed on us by the decisions of a small minority of partisans (~ 43,000) who participated in the UCP leadership selection process. Danielle Smith became Premier by political convention, not by law or a truly democratic process.
What will be the impact on Alberta and Albertans with her as Premier under such circumstances? I think we can classify her as a “Probationary Premier” until the next General Election in May 2023. Until then, Albertans can expect a significantly increased level of political volatility, uncertainty, ambiguity, confusion, and instability in the governing of our Province. This volatility, confusion, and ambiguity will persist at least until the next election.
We can look to our Probationary Premier to be focused on three major areas that will demand her personal time and attention:
It is obvious that the UCP internal dissention is still a continuing and unresolved preoccupation of the Kenney replacement. With only 54% support for Danielle Smith as party leader, her hold on power in the party is very precarious. Ms. Smith’s keystone campaign policy, the so-called Sovereignty Act, and her determination to ram it through, in spite of major internal and external opposition, adds to political uncertainty and instability.
So Ms. Smith will be preoccupied with internal party unity issues as she tries to consolidate and confirm her power as leader. She has stated her replacement cabinet will be overwhelmingly shifted to rural MLAs, and away from the current Calgary domination.
This cabinet selection process will have no impact on Edmonton. The UCP has only one seat in the capital city and Edmonton has become accustomed to being “punished” by the UCP government. Calgary is another story. That city is used to being the political power center of UCP Alberta. Calgary MLAs had the majority of cabinet positions in the Kenney reign. This power shift domination by rural MLAs will have an internal and external political impact on UCP politically, since Calgary is acknowledged to be the decisive BATTLEFIELD in the next election.
2.Her Policy Agenda:
The Probationary Premier needs to get a seat in the Legislature. She has accepted the resignation of the UCP MLA from Brooks/Medicine Hat and called a byelection for November 8th. She has refused to call a concurrent byelection in the also-vacant seat of Calgary Elbow, for fear of losing it to the NDP or those citizens returning it to the Alberta Party.
She has said the Sovereignty Act will be her Bill 1 and she will PERSONALLY want to introduce it. So the next sitting of the legislature is postponed to the end of November to accommodate her byelection. The bill is yet to be drafted, so we don’t know what powers it will provide for other than to give the Legislature authority to ignore the rule of law and create constitutional chaos. Which is her stated intent.
She has also promised to amend the Alberta Human Rights Act to make any actions that “discriminated” against Albertans due to vaccination status. This effort will, along with the Sovereignty Act, undoubtedly face legal challenges based on Charter Rights and Constitutionality. It all promises to be a hot steaming pile while the real issues facing Albertans get diverted or ignored.
3.Reorganize Alberta Health Services:
She says she will fire the AHS Board by the end of the year. This is pure Fascistic scapegoating. She is getting bad advice or lacks the personal judgment necessary to really grasp the complexity of the decisions around controlling the spread of Covid in the pandemic stages and beyond.
Her health care focus is misplaced on anti-vaccination conspiracies, misinformation on masks and to deny necessary restrictions on the size and purpose of public gathering, which she misframes as a “lockdown.”
She is putting the execution of health care policy in the hands of a single “Administrator.” What he or she will be expected to deploy will be a health policy that she will devise and declare based on personal bias and some anonymous and questionably qualified “advisors.”
She has already aligned with Trump and promoted proven-to-be-dangerous compounds ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as Covid cures, instead of authorized and proven vaccines. There is obviously no telling what disasters will diminish the quality of Alberta’s health care system under her command and control.
A Call Away From Inaction:
Ms. Smith is an admitted Libertarian Populist. That is a dangerously simplistic and enormously destructive mindset in the interdependent and complex 21st century world Alberta is part of and integrated into.
She is proving to be incapable of governing in the best interests of all of Alberta. That means she is likely to lose the next election. Her probation as Premier will come to an end. And that failing will be unforgivable to the UCP rank and file. So her party leadership will be quickly stripped from her, after the election at the latest.
None of this is guaranteed. So if you wish for her and the UCP to lose, you have to fight and win. What are you doing to aid in the defeat of the UCP? Think seriously about what you are most concerned about and what you can to do Press for Change.