Prairie Post (West Edition)

Local MLAs weigh in on Smith’s leadership victory


Danielle Smith has been elected as the new leader of the UCP and Alberta’s next premier.

Within Lethbridge, many political representa­tives shared their thoughts about Smith winning the leadership.

“I extend my congratula­tions to PremierDes­ignate Danielle Smith on her victory in the leadership race. We look forward to working with her and her team in continuing to find opportunit­ies to advocate for the residents of Lethbridge,” said Mayor Blaine Hyggen in a statement.

At the provincial level there was also excitement about Smith’s win.

“I am very excited, I think this was a long-awaited day no matter who anybody individual­ly endorsed,” said Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge East. “Now we can start fresh, beginning to work through where we want to go for the next campaign. We can sit down all together and work on our relationsh­ips.”

Speaking towards the unity of the party Neudorf says the UCP is mature and knows the cost of division.

“We are strongly committed to unity inside,” said Neudorf. “That job starts today, we are looking forward to the task.”

Those outside the UCP voiced their opinions as well.

“The commitment­s to having more instabilit­y in the health care system were underlined last night,” said Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge East. “Danielle Smith doubled down on those commitment­s that she would continue the war on healthcare workers, and continue uncertaint­y in terms of being able to attract doctors into Alberta.”

Commenting on Smith’s win, Phillips noted it was up to the voters who they chose.

“It is up to the members of the UCP who they want to be their leader, and they have narrowly chosen that they want Danielle Smith to lead the party,” said Phillips. “Now, (the UCP) are going to Albertans with a deeply unpopular agenda, that does not reflect Albertan’s priorities.”

Noting this, others drew on the struggle the UCP will have when it comes down to running government and campaignin­g.

“You have a new government, they have to have a new cabinet, they have to run the government and implement their policies, while they have to campaign to try to get re-elected,” said Rob Miyashiro, former city councillor and Alberta NDP candidate for Lethbridge East. “Our new government is going to have so many divided interests between what their local interests are, what the interests of the general population are, what new mandates they are going to be given by the new premier, and they have to fight an election against a party that is ready to fight.”

With a new leader comes new fights and new ways, and with the 31st Alberta general election scheduled to be held between March 1 – May 31, 2023, there is less than a year to campaign for all political parties in Alberta.

“We need to get back to a government that is not chaotic,” said Miyashiro. “Because you are doing things in a stable, concerted effort, to make sure things get done. Not just for businesses, not just for the economy, but also for the people.”

Voting concluded Oct. 6 with Smith winning on the sixth and final ballot of the night with 53.77 per cent of the votes, Travis Toews came in behind at 46.23 per cent. Other runners Brian Jean, Rebecca Schulz, Todd Loewen, Rajan Sawhney, and Leela Aheer were eliminated in earlier rounds.

Smith was sworn in as premier Oct. 11. She is running in the

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