Prairie Post (East Edition)
Danielle Smith seems to have a conquer then divide approach
Southeastern Alberta is no more the forgotten corner. Premier Danielle Smith, the newly elected UCP leader, aspires to be the next MLA for Brooks – Medicine Hat. This decision and her recent pronouncements are revealing about her style.
She called this byelection to become a MLA. She stated that the convention is to facilitate the election of a new premier/ leader ASAP, and hinted it would preferably come without opposition. But, Barry Morishita (Alberta Party) and Gwendoline Dirk (NDP) will oppose her. The constituents will vote their choice, which is the grassroots process.
Premier Smith and her Wildrose colleagues regularly talk the need to better involve the grassroots. Yet, she does not seem to have the same concern for the constituents of Calgary-Elbow. They will have to wait until the general election next year to vote for an MLA.
It is unusual, but that is her way. She has a “cafeteria of personal principles” and she chooses whichever will suit the need. Evidently she fears Calgarians will reject her leadership and her agenda. This time grassroots does not fit.
Apparently she has projected the potential outcome for the upcoming general election. Win 41 rural seats and with a few urban ones, the UCP can form a majority government, since at least 44 seats are required. Does she want to be premier of the whole province, or only of the rural sector? The rural vote – her base – won her the leadership, but most of the province’s population lives in urban centres. Apparently they are not important to Danielle Smith.
Her signature platform – a sovereignty act – has already been changed to be more acceptable to the general public. Now, it will be within the rule of law, and intrusive federal laws will be referred to the Supreme Court for adjudication. Again, choosing what is most suitable for the situation.
Can she be trusted even as an MLA, and she is also the premier? This change to her signature platform leans toward the alarm button. Will any of her pronouncements have any validity since she may decide to change on a whim?
She has an aggressive legislative plan – a provincial police force, health-care changes and a tax collection agency – but she ignores the convention of governing with a mandate. She received support from slightly over 50 per cent of the voting UCP members (42,423), which comprises less than two per cent of registered provincial voters. A true supporter of grassroots would want a mandate from a majority of Alberta’s voters, but this is Danielle Smith, and she just plucked another one from her cafeteria.
Her leadership and her management skills are really the same, which she had in her Wildrose days, and her track record was quite dismal. Prior to this current resurgence she was a host on talk radio in Calgary. She had the opportunity to hone her articulation, but that improvement does not result in better leadership and management. Her approach to the long-standing issues of shortages and waiting lists in our health-care system and to the recent management of the pandemic reflects this major shortcoming, but brevity prevents further comment.
We have been forewarned that Smith will be controversial because she is “outside the box.” A different take is she appears to have “fallen out of the box.”