Danielle Smith’s Victory Speech: Backtracking Big Time

Did anyone catch Danielle Smith’s victory speech? In it she did three things:

  • She started to back away from her key campaign promise, the Sovereignty Act
  • She characterized the UCP as the party that is both fiscally responsible and compassionate (entrepreneurs with a heart and a soul)
  • She repositioned herself as a staunch supporter of Confederation

Judging by the applause, the audience fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Alberta will take its rightful place

Smith started with the usual pitch. It’s time for Alberta to take its place as a “senior partner” in building a strong and unified Canada.

Then she launched into an attack on those who would impose vaccine mandates, silence our voices, land lock our resources or phase out our energy. (Damn that “virtue signalling prime minister.”)

Danielle Smith

What was missing from this “stand up for Alberta” diatribe was an explanation of how her pledge to enact the Sovereignty Act would free Albertans from federal interference by allowing her government to ignore any federal laws or court decisions it didn’t like.

Perhaps this was because a couple of days later Rob Anderson (who co-wrote the Free Alberta Strategy which outlined the Sovereignty Act and who is now a key aide in the premier’s office) said the Act would not allow her government to ignore Supreme Court rulings.

This is important.

When a province doesn’t like a federal law, it can ask the Supreme Court to decide whether the law is valid. If the Supreme Court decides the law is valid and if Smith is not going to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling, then she is not planning on ignoring any federal laws the Supreme Court decides are valid.

In other words, Smith is backtracking.  

That pfft you just heard was the sound of the air being let out of Danielle Smith’s key campaign promise.


Why did Smith do a U turn?  

Was she convinced by the legion of legal academics that the Act was unconstitutional and violated the separation of powers, the constitutional division of powers and the rule of law which dates back to the Magna Carta?   

Was she concerned that passing the Act would trigger a constitutional crisis?  

Was she worried that she had no mandate to proceed?*   

Or was it something more basic, like the possibility that she’d lose the election in May 2023?

Backtracking and rewriting history  

Smith’s ascension to the UCP leadership did not mirror Kenney’s decisive victory. He won on the first ballot with 61% of the vote. It took Smith six rounds to win with 54%, a mere 3 points more than the 51% that led to Kenney’s resignation.

Her caucus is full of MLAs who are uncomfortable with her and with her Act. She needs to convince them that they will not be violating their duty to uphold the law if they support the Act, failing which they’ll vote against it (how embarrassing!) and may refuse to run in 2023.  

And here’s the kicker.

In May 2023, Smith must convince 2.7 million eligible voters (the bulk of whom see themselves as Canadians first and Albertans second) that the Sovereignty Act was not a stunt to curry favour with the extreme right, but rather a legitimate solution to a real problem.  

In anticipation of this conundrum Smith started to rewrite history in her victory speech.  

She said Ottawa and the “establishment even in here Alberta” don’t want the UCP to stay united. They’ll “drag up old statements, past mistakes, use cancel culture, fear mongering” to divide the UCP.

Many “in the Notley/Singh/Trudeau alliance will claim [the] Sovereignty Act…is meant to move Alberta to leaving our beloved Canada [and] that is a lie.”

Oh please. That is not a lie. That is exactly what her Act did. She said it would allow Alberta to walk away from federal jurisdiction. This would trigger a constitutional crisis. The only way to move farther away from Confederation is to declare you’re leaving.

No, no, Smith protested. “Albertans love Canada.” It is “our country, our home.” In case we missed Smith’s love for a unified Canada, she closed her speech with a line from Oh Canada, (May God keep our land glorious and free).

What’s next

Smith will water-down the Sovereignty Act to make it acceptable to her caucus.

The final version will likely state that Alberta may do everything in its power including bringing a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada and let the court decide whether a federal law or court decision applies to Alberta. Alberta already has this power so this will be a colossal waste of time but it’s the only way Smith can save face.  

She’ll use the “more compassionate UCP” mantra to buy votes by throwing money at everyone the UCP trampled in their first three years in office.

And she’ll rewrite history. saying she had no intention of passing the legislation that would have allowed Alberta to turn its back on confederation and anyone suggests such a thing is lying.  

The only people she won’t hoodwink are the sovereigntists who voted for her because they believed she’d force Ottawa to cave to their demands.  

And that’s where the trouble lies.

Welcome to Danielle Smith’s UCP. A more polarized version of the Kenney’s UCP.

*NOTE: Smith maintained her mandate flowed from Jason Kenney’s Equalization Referendum and the Fair Deal panel‘s recommendations. This is not true because neither of those policies said the government could refuse to follow federal laws.

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67 Responses to Danielle Smith’s Victory Speech: Backtracking Big Time

  1. Bota28 says:

    Great article Susan 👏 watched a clip today on CTV Question period Twitter account between Evan Solomons and Former PM Brian Mulroney; with Evan asking his insight on the latest comments made by Smith on the Sovereignty Act and how this would challenge the “ very fabric of the constitution” Former PM Mulroney quoted Mario Comeau “ you campaign in poetry but you govern in prose and the new AB Premier will learn it, just as the QB Premier has learnt it” 😊 he also noted “the courts are there to rein us all in” so in the coming weeks watch the deflecting and gaslighting as she tries to “ dodge the bullet” by her base.. https://twitter.com/ctvqp/status/1579136880032903168?s=20&t=Ty2oZqel7LT3sALrcLdj4w

    • Bota28: Thanks. That was a great clip. The Globe & Mail reported that Pierre Poilievre invited Brian and Mila Mulroney to dinner so they could talk about how he could transition from fire-brand CPC leadership candidate to PM-in-waiting. Mulroney told Poilievre he’d have to tone down the rhetoric. But given his performance in Parliament thus far I don’t think Poilievre has taken Mulroney’s advice.
      The latest Nanos poll shows that Canadians think Poilievre is too right-wing and if the public had to choose between Trudeau and Poilievre 46% would choose Trudeau and 30% would choose Poilievre. This is despite the fact that those polled didn’t like either of them that much.
      Seems to me you can court the extreme right-wing to win the battle. but in the end you’ll lose the war.

      • Kelly Miller says:

        It’s pretty obvious to me that Pierre plans to spend from now to the next election screaming that Justin Trudeau is to blame for everything wrong with Canada. And I said to my mother that if the Liberal Party wanted to throw a wrench into the Cons’ plans for the next election, they’d wait until just before the next election and then announce that Justin won’t be running again and that someone like Chrysta Freeland is running for PM instead. Blow up 3 years of Pierre whining at the last minute, and force him to change strategies.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It’s clear that Danielle Smith went in way over her head, thought she knew how things would be, but it didn’t end up that way. It’s unfortunate that Albertans may end up paying for her arrogance, until the next provincial election. I’ll share some fitting music. This is also in my music collection. It’s from 1958, and it’s Connie Francis doing Who’s Sorry Now?

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is my final song pick. It is from 1966, and is from The Yardbirds. It is a band composition, Lost Woman. This is in my music collection too. It features Jeff Beck on lead guitar, after he replaced Eric Clapton, in the group, in early 1965. Chris Dreja, the band’s rhythm guitarist, and later bass player, did the cover artwork on this album, and would later become a successful photographer. Jimmy Page was the last lead guitarist in The Yardbirds, before the group disbanded in July of 1968. Jimmy Page then formed Led Zeppelin in 1968. This group lineup features Keith Relf on lead vocals and harmonica, Jeff Beck on lead guitar, Paul Samwell-Smith on bass, Chris Dreja on rhythm guitar, and Jim McCarty on drums. Paul Samwell-Smith quit the band, in 1966, and went onto be a music producer, for artists such as Cat Stevens and Carly Simon.

    • Dwayne, thanks for the music. I can’t remember the last time I heard Connie Francis. In one of your comments you asked how the UCP could possible portray themselves as fiscally responsible and compassionate. Frankly I have no idea. There’s no evidence to support the premise that conservatives are fiscally responsible. Perhaps it’s because the cons are prepared to cut services to the bone and those who support the cons have no compassion of the folks who need these services but can no longer access them.
      Danielle Smith is no different. A few years back she said that families, non-profits and small businesses do a good job of meeting the needs of most communities most of the time. This is bananas.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I see issues with homelessness in Alberta going up. The UCP’s policies had an effect on this. In different places, I see so many begging for money, shoplifting increasing, and addictions going up. What will Danielle Smith and the UCP do about it? Families, non-profits and small businesses can’t do much, when they are financially strapped themselves. In an oil abundant province like Alberta, there should be no excuses for this. As Peter Lougheed knew, from his time in the oil industry, when he wasn’t a politician, oil booms can easily turn into busts, and you have to prepare for that. The Heritage Savings Trust Fund should he created, should have more than it does in it, but Conservative governments in Alberta squandered most of the money away, and had the false belief that oil booms would always be here.

  4. Leila Keith says:

    This bimbo does not understand democracy. She just assured To take us back farther rather than addressing the problems in Alberta the tax payers face…

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Smith sure knows how to work a crowd, though. She pressed every button.

    • Leila and Mike: I agree. Smith’s leadership campaign was nothing more than an amped up version of “bad Ottawa” and yet her victory speech quickly dropped the “bad Ottawa” theme and replaced it with “we love Canada.” I think she figured out that she’d lost the trust of Albertans who resented being asked to choose whether they were Albertans first or Canadians first. It’s a stupid question to ask in a confederation, but it was a snappy little campaign slogan, which got her over the top.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: How is the UCP fiscally responsible and compassionate? They are neither. The UCP have been involved with one very costly mistake after another, and have cost Albertans very large amounts of money in the process. $10 billion in USA dollars was thrown away on a pipeline that was stopped, like Joe Biden said it would be, had he became president of the USA. In Canadian dollars, that’s $7.5 billion, or thereabouts. The corporate tax cuts that the UCP claimed would increase employment, never did that, and this is in the ballpark of around $10 billion, which is now lost. Shoddy accounting practices made $1.6 billion disappear. Pension money is long gone, and $4 billion of it, to be exact. The Heritage Savings Trust Fund had two losses, the first being nearly $2 billion, and the second being something like a negative 4.1 percent loss. $4 billion, which came from the federal government, as covid relief money, cannot be accounted for by the UCP. There are multiple other things, in addition to all of these, including a new development. The UCP now must face an mining corporation from Australia who is unhappy about the UCP nullifying a previous contract, by the UCP, for allowing that corporation to do coal mining in Alberta, and they are suing the UCP for next to $4 billion. I don’t know how Danielle Smith will ever deal with that. In addition, the UCP has made an exponential debt for Alberta that is now likely past the $125 billion mark. Compassion also isn’t there with the UCP. There is a program called A.I.S.H, for those who are incapable of holding down employment, because of some type of severe chronic health conditions, or some other type of impediment. Their benefits were cut back. The very paltry sum of $1,688 a month is no longer tied in with the rate of inflation, and Alberta just so happens to have the highest rate of inflation in Canada, making things worse, because the stagnant income can’t keep up with the rising costs of things, such as rent, power, phone, internet, food, and also clothing. Visiting a local grocery store shows just how much food prices have soared in Alberta. When these individuals on the A.I.S.H program get paid has also changed, and that happened without any notice. It used to be four banking days prior to the first of the next month, but is now on the first day of the next month. Power bills, phone bills, and rent, are now late, and many end up owing a lot of money for things like unpaid power bills, or get surcharges on their rent. Any supplementary benefits and supports for A.I.S.H clients has also been cut off. Benefits to seniors has also been cut off by the UCP. I don’t think Danielle Smith will change what happens to those on A.I.S.H, or to seniors. I don’t know who Danielle Smith is trying to fool here.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Dwayne, I agree with every point you’ve made. Unfortunately, what we think is irrelevant to the UCP Faithful. One mark of a good politician is the ability to tell the mob exactly what they want to hear, exactly the way they want to hear it.

      Like her or loathe her, Danielle Smith has this quality and to spare. Whether she can woo a crowd that doesn’t already agree with her–that’ll be the big test. We’ll see soon enough.

      • Mike you’re absolutely right that Smith can woo the crowd. I thought she’d have a harder time given that she burned so many bridges when she crossed the floor to join the Prentice government. Surely the UCP membership would see how cynical and opportunistic that move was, and yet she still managed to get the votes she needed to beat Travis Toews.
        For the life of me I don’t know what happened to Brian Jean. He came out strong but soon fizzled. Perhaps people thought he was too harsh in his criticism of Kenney, I don’t know, but I thought he’d do better than he did. Weird.

    • Dwayne, this is quite a list of failures. You’d think it would make the conservatives sit up and take notice, but (sigh) it doesn’t appear to have any impact at all.
      We have to vote them out next May. That’s all there is to it.
      PS just one small point on the list, I think the Kenney government spent $1.5 billion on KXL in the US and lost all but $200-300 million when Biden won the presidential election. Either way, betting on the outcome of a foreign election to boost Alberta’s prosperity was pretty damn stupid.

      • Kelly Miller says:

        Conservatives never fail. If something seems to go wrong, it just requires more cuts… /s

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I heard there were loan guarantees on the KXL pipeline. Something like $6 billion. I don’t know what happened to that.

  6. Donna Core says:

    That’s why Jason Kenny said, “she’s nuttier than a squirrel’s fart”, and coming from him, that says something!!

    Donna Core Sent from my iPhone

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Did he really?!? It’s true, but I have to say, the idea Jason Kenney said (tweeted?) it is a little too good to be true.

    • Donna and Mike: Kenney did not hold back in his criticism of Smith’s Sovereignty Act. He said it was a “de facto plan for separatism” and that it would kill investment and make Alberta a laughing stock. I guess the man had a shred of integrity left as he went out the door.

  7. jerrymacgp says:

    I did a bit of number-crunching on the leadership vote, and it was telling. While Smith started out in first place after the first ballot, her share of the vote grew less after each round of preferential ballot redistribution & recounting than that of any other candidate — with the sole exception of the fourth round, after Todd Loewen was dropped.

    2nd ballot: up 0.09%
    3rd ballot: up 0.33%
    4th ballot: up 9.69%
    5th ballot: up 2.01%
    6th & final ballot: up 8.03%

    Travis Toews’ vote share grew more than twice as much in percentage terms than Smith’s over the six ballots: 46.91% between the first & sixth ballots, as against 21.39% for Smith.

    This seems to hint at a fairly significant “anybody but Dani” sentiment amongst many UCP voters, although not enough of one to defeat her. So, how “united” is the UCP?

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Interesting analysis, jerrymacgp. Loewen was sucking up from Day 1 of the campaign. He’ll be rewarded with a big, shiny cabinet position. Anyone want to guess what he’ll be doing?

    • Great analysis Jerry, especially the bit relating to the impact of Todd Loewen dropping out.
      Danielle welcomed Loewen back into caucus in her victory speech. She didn’t say anything about Drew Barnes, but that could be because she used the occasion to thank the other candidates who ran against her and Barnes wasn’t in the race. He, like Loewen, bent over backwards to prove his loyalty to her so I suspect he’ll be back in caucus in no time.
      It was interesting to hear her praise Jason Kenney notwithstanding his attacks on her sovereignty proposal. She thanked her “friend” and called him one of the most “influential conservatives and a “giant in the conservative movement”. Perhaps, but I predict Kenney’s glory days are over. He made such a hash of his 3 years leading the most conservative province in Canada that his credibility is shot.

  8. Jaundiced Eye says:

    It is astounding to think that she accomplished all of this by appealing to the crowd that will vote for you if they think you hate the same people they hate.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Not just astounding either, appalling and disgusting too.

    • I agree Jaundiced Eye and GoinFawr. The big question is how is she going to keep this crowd onside when she moderates her policies. Her Sovereignty Act is nothing but window dressing and now she’s pitching a garbled message about the bad Notley/Singh/Trudeau alliance while at the same time telling Albertans how much they love Canada.
      I was listening to a panel that included Jared Wesley, Lisa Young, and Eric Adams. One of them said that the trouble with conservative populism is you must always win, you can’t compromise. Well Smith is compromising so she can win the 2023 election.
      It won’t take long for her extreme right wing supporters to turn on her the way they turned on Kenney when his Equalization Referendum failed to force Ottawa to give Alberta what it wanted.

  9. John Iliffe says:

    She only won the UCP leadership with 54% of the vote. That means that in her own party 46% of the members disagree with her. Her party has a very small minority of Albertans as paid up members meaning that only a vanishingly small number of people support her position so if she tries any radical changes she will fail.

    For a politician failure means unemployment!

    John ========

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      John, for a conservative party leader it’s even worse. Failure usually means not just losing an election, it means being kicked out by your own party. That can really hurt your employment prospects.

      • Dwayne says:

        Mike J Danysh: For the last 17 years in Alberta, there is a list of Conservative provincial leaders who never completed their terms. Some of them got more support, or a close support to what Danielle Smith got in the leadership race for the UCP, and stepped down. It’s a case of where are they now?

    • John you nailed the issue that’s bothered me so much about the fact that by winning the UCP leadership race, Smith says she has the mandate to enact the Sovereignty Act. As you point out, her so-called support is less than 2% of the eligible voters of Alberta.
      Compare this to the Quebec referendum on separation. Not only did they run the question as a referendum (as opposed to a campaign promise made by one of the contenders for the UCP leadership), they spent almost a year educating the public on what it entailed, they send written materials and a draft of the Sovereignty Act to every household in Quebec, and the leaders of the Yes and No sides engaged in public debates. There was a lot of clarity and transparency on what it entailed. As a result the voter turnout was 93.5% of the eligible voters.
      Now that’s a mandate!
      PS we came real close to losing Quebec, the Yes vote was 50.6% and the No vote was 49.4%.

  10. Jim Lees says:

    Hi Susan, even scarier and more worrisome is her stated top priority to repair our health care system. Apparently she knows how to improve ambulance service in rural areas, fast-track hiring more staff, and bolster health care employees’ morale. At least that is her stated intent….I suspect her focus will be privatization, in her view that will fix everything. Just what we need – another AHS shake-up, new Board of Directors and CEO. The next general election can’t come fast enough!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Jim, Smith is adding outrageous insult to grievous injury–by blaming the victim. AHS has been battered by funding cuts for decades (except under the Notley almost-Tory party, who only froze funding). Kenney’s UCP deliberately attacked Alberta doctors and nurses. And THEN came Covid-19.

      Smith, aping Kenney, blames AHS management for erratic numbers of emergency beds available during the worst of the pandemic. Kenney et al demanded superhuman effort to open beds–totally ignoring the fact a hospital bed is useless without trained staff to care for the person who’s lying in the bed.

      We can only hope that Queen Dannie, Empress of Oilberduh, will have the same result Lord Jason did when he decreed a witch hunt for enemies of the oilpatch. It will depend on who’s appointed by the Queen to do the investigating–and how biased they are. Keep your fingers crossed, and stay tuned….

      • Dwayne says:

        Mike J Danysh: I know you aren’t making things up. That’s what I meant in my other comment to you. What you said is correct.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        “AHS has been battered by funding cuts for decades (except under the Notley almost-Tory party, who only froze funding)” Actually, AHS has accumulated over a billion dollars in budgetary surpluses — https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/about/publications/ahs-pub-2020-2021-financials.pdf. This is about ideological suppression of investment in public health care, not about underfunding per se.

      • Jerrymacgp: I’m hopeless at reading financial statements, but it looks like three-quarters of that accumulated surplus is tied up in capital assets (see Note 20). I don’t know if this is the result of Alberta Health (the ministry, not AHS) funneling money into the capital budget but shortchanging the operational budget or what. All I know is I continue to hear stories about new hospital wings opening up and older wings going dark because there aren’t enough staff (the operational side) to support both of them.

    • Jim, your comment highlights one of the real dangers of Danielle becoming premier. She’s going to act swiftly to “fix” health care by implementing these poorly conceived ideas.
      In her victory speech she said something to the effect that when she directs AHS management to double ICU by a certain date, and gives them the resources to do it, that direction is to be followed immediately, and if it’s not, they’re fired.
      One wonders what “resources” she’s talking about. It’s one thing to plop a bed in a hallway. It’s quite another to put an ICU bed in an ICU ward with all the oxygen, ventilators, and additional equipment and all the doctors and nurses you need to take care of these patients.
      What does she expect, that all this specialized equipment and ICU trained staff will magically materialize overnight because she’s issued a directive?

  11. Mike J Danysh says:

    And now we get the excuses and revisions. It’s like predicting an egg will break, the instant AFTER you drop it.

    The worst aspect of Danielle Smith is not that she believes what she says while she’s saying it. That, after all, is a requirement for EVERY politician. No, Smith’s big problem is twofold:
    1. She believes her own BS even after she steps away from the microphone, and
    2. She’s credulous to the point of stupidity.

    Case in point: why Smith lost her talk show. She quit because Global/ Corus Entertainment told her not to pursue so many whacked-out conspiracy theories. Smith didn’t like being told to muzzle it, so she quit. Check the two sections headed “’Danielle, you have no crazy radar’” and “Off the air.” *


    Skepticism is good. It’s a mental tool that helps us separate good information from bullshit. Being credulous in not good. It can leave you vulnerable to any idea that’s plausible on the surface—but completely wrong when you look harder. The difference is education, and temperament. Can you reject an idea you really, really like when it turns you to be wrong? If so, that’s being skeptical. I strongly doubt Danielle Smith is skeptical.

    It’s almost heartening to see that Rob Anderson, at least, has some grasp of objective reality. He’s backtracking faster than Smith, and probably showing her the path with a lantern in hand. We’ll see if the other two authors of the Free Alberta Fantasy can tag along.

    Now that she’s clinched the Utterly Chaotic Party leadership, Queen Dannie will remake it in her own image. Utterly Crazy Party, anyone?

    PS: the Queen has announced that the UCP is again united. Did I imagine I heard a quiet, “…or else”?

    * Note to Con trolls: I did not make these up. Look for yourself.

    • Patricia and Tony Pargeter says:

      Haha, good insightful comment. Didn’t know that about her being fired, that whole right wing talk show thing is apparently what really got the ball rolling on all this psycho right-wing crap in the States I have read. Such a bubble. Also interesting about Rob Anderson trying to mitigate the crazy. Wow. Full time job in that party. Remember when “bozo eruptions” entered our lexicon with the Reform Party? They’ve never left all these years. Smith becoming “leader” reminds me of Liz Truss and even that young woman speaking on behalf of the hockey leadership who’s now resigned. When the bad boys go too far, the cheerleading women often show up in the breach, making it a “twofer” because the male-dominated organization in question can also be seen as paying lip service to women’s equality.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Pat and Tony, I’m not certain Smith was fired by Corus; she “left,” according to the article. From this statement she made later:

        “Finally, in early 2021, Smith announced she’d soon leave her longtime talk show, to evade the forces of ‘political correctness.'”

        …it sounds like Smith decided to quit because the station insisted on political correctness, aka factual accuracy and perhaps also balanced reporting. I can see how that would cramp her style.

    • Dwayne says:

      Mike J Danysh What are you making up? Danielle Smith’s history as a politician, proves she’s not fit to rule Alberta. She has a penchant for sticking her appendage in her mouth, and backtracks after that. She’s only there for herself. Having barely survived becoming leader of the UCP, after getting less than 54 percent support doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement to me. Danielle Smith’s political past, is still going to be Danielle Smith’s political future, because of what she says and does.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        …uh, Dwayne, the footnote was pointing to the headings I quoted from the article in the link. Hilariously, it’s a direct quote of Smith herself:

        “When I was in politics, my staff said, ‘Danielle, you have no crazy radar,’” Smith told a podcast called Cancel This in 2021. “Because I couldn’t really tell when someone wanted to approach me about an issue if they might have been a little unhinged or a little conspiratorial.”

        Judging from her uncritical adoption of the Free Alberta Fantasy, she still can’t tell if an issue is unhinged….

    • Mike thanks for your comment and the attached article. Fascinating reading. I’m always troubled by politicians who put other people on a pedestal. Smith idolizes Margaret Thatcher who she met in 1966. Pierre Poilievre found Milton Friedman when he was in his late teens. Decades later nothing has diminished their adulation of their heroes.
      I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a single person on the planet that I would hold in such blanket high esteem years after I’d encountered them. This is because the people I respect are human, they have flaws. And I’ve matured and developed a more critical mind.
      This cult of adoration and unquestioning obedience are elements of authoritarianism. Like I said, this sets off my antennae and not in a good way.

  12. Patricia and Tony Pargeter says:

    I wonder how much longer conservatives can “hoodwink” or fundamentally disrespect their scary numbers of politically undesirable supporters like sovereigntists AND the devoutly religious. They’ve managed to deke people out on the latter by renaming them “social conservatives,” but the love that dare not speak its name hiding in plain sight DID lead to the infamous “lake of fire” incident after all, relegating the Wild Rose Party as a bunch of “extreme” rubes at the time. Hypocrisy abounds though because let’s face it; the god idea all by itself is undeniably “out there.” People continue to assume that religion is harmless, just another basic charter freedom despite its increasingly overt politicization. Publicly subsidized churches of all stripes, Catholic hospitals AND schools DESPITE horrific residential “schools” and the movie “Spotlight” aren’t enough; believers want the full public affirmation that only governance can provide. The UCP could rightly be called the United Christian Party after all. I think most people have some religion in their background but many also think that these “social conservatives” don’t REALLY believe the actual myth, so it continues to act as a workable dog whistle. But talk about a wild card. Peter McKay had it right when he called religion an “albatross” around the neck of the CPC in what was an uncharacteristically TRUTHFUL observation. (We all saw how far THAT got him.) I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that the originators and currently most masterful wielders of “disinformation” are the disproportionately religious right.

    • Patricia and Tony: now you’ve raised a really fascinating topic–the hypocrisy of religion and how it intersects with the hypocrisy of politics. The first thing I thought of when I read your comment was Trump and how some of his supporters honestly believe that he was sent here by God and therefore nothing he does can ever be wrong. I don’t know how someone ends up with such a warped view of politics or life for that matter, but it’s absolutely frightening.
      I saw a pyramid of the conservative hierarchy somewhere. At the very top was God, then Dad, Mom, and kids. Although it wasn’t specified I got the impression that this was a white pyramid. I’ll see if I can find it.

    • GoinFawr says:

      great comment.

  13. Michael Klein says:

    Danielle Smith won. Did Albertans win or were Albertans defeated?

    • Michael: I don’t think anyone won. A tiny minority of Albertans voted in a premier who will do great harm to Alberta. They thought they’d won, but at the end of the day we are all defeated…at least until May 2023 when we’ll get a chance to rid ourselves of Smith and the UCP once and for all.

  14. mikegklein says:

    Danielle Smith won. Did Albertans win? Or, were Albertans defeated?

    • GoinFawr says:

      After round after round after round after round after round Danielle Smith ‘won’ nothing more than a 65k 50/50, involving less $$ than what you could land at an Oilers’ game.

      Less than 1% of Albertans just bought the premiership, possibly with foreign support, so if you have to ask…

  15. Paul Pearlman says:

    Many very good comments it’s seems many have more knowledge of DS than I. However it is still the Clown Party the leadership has just Changed from Bozo to as there have been many women clowns from Amelia Butler 1840,Betty Balfour 1903-1977, Clara Bow 1905 -1965 and many others we will soon see the Queen of all Clowns the lovely DS the car just got smaller but it seems to be overflowing.We must take a hard look as to we’re the Clowns want to take our province with a leader with 2% more than the Bozo who resigned, even the party has no clue.The test for those who want to be politicians is long overdue far too many with a failing grade !!! We all must do our part to get rid of them in May. We can only hope they don’t pull something weird to stay in POWER.

    • Paul I agree with your comment. We have no idea what Smith’s agenda is (other than that stupid act and fighting inflation). She’ll have piles of money to throw around and I predict it will be flying out the door on all sorts of hare-brained schemes.
      As you said, one bozo leaves, another one appears to take his place.
      Politics in Alberta. Lovely.

  16. Dave says:

    Now what is that saying? Oh yes, the sequel is seldom better than the original. Well Smith 1.0 wasn’t that great, particularly in the end, so I think a lot of us are already expecting 2.0 to be even worse, if that is possible.

    The tepid support – 6 ballots and in the end just a few percent more than Kenney got, does not indicate a party that is enthusiastic about her and no it was not that Toews was so charismatic and appealing, although he did sound reasonable in comparison. Perhaps her party will come around a bit – at least those that want cabinet or other good jobs will. However, I suspect voters at large are even a bit more skeptical and will likely remain wary.

    Smith claims to have principles, but she reminds me of what Groucho Marx once said “Those are my principles, but if you don’t like them, I’ve got others”. After sounding radical in the UCP leadership selection, she seems to now be tying herself in knots trying to sound more reasonable. I suppose this is the famous pivot. There is a risk this shifting will upset her original supporters who really want something more radical, while those she is trying to appeal to with supposed moderation will remain wary.

    Smith is a fairly good talker so it often does come off in the moment that she believes what she is saying. However, the problem seems to be that everything she does and says after contradicts it – the conviction is ephemeral. You really don’t seem to know what you will get with her, but often it does not turn out good.

  17. Dave, I share your view that Smith speaks with conviction but her actions often belie her words. She softened her stance on the Sovereignty Act (thank God!) but the mere fact she once thought it was a good idea is shocking.
    This is a good example of the problem with Smith. Her ideas are not well founded but she’s articulate and expresses herself well. Consequently people think she knows what she’s talking about. Sadly they don’t understand the rudiments of the issue at hand and they don’t ask probing questions which would expose the flaws in her thinking.

  18. Linda says:

    Ms. Smith has had her moment of happiness. She just glowed with satisfaction when on the stage acknowledging her ‘win’. Now comes the vote buying. Besides declaring that the UCP will ‘fix’ AHS, apparently one of the first items of business will be giving Albertans a $300 per person health spending allowance ‘to cover costs not normally covered by health care’. Other commenters have pointed out the flaws/issues in any possible health care reorganization or fix as imagined by the UCP. Somewhere in the past week I read that the government was hiring/importing 500 new nurses from the Philippines to help offset staff shortages. Sounds great, except for the little issue of said nurses qualifications possibly not being recognized here, which is an ongoing problem when it comes to immigration. Though perhaps there is some sort of legislation I don’t know about that magically gets around that little obstacle.

    I would characterize Ms. Smith as the modern day equivalent of a snake oil salesperson. She will say whatever it takes to make the sale, then leave before the credulous purchaser realizes what they received was not as advertised. While I would like to believe Albertans won’t be fooled, the fact that members of the UCP eventually elected Smith as their new leader does not indicate long term thinking about consequences. Here is hoping the population at large won’t follow suit. I’m pinning my hope of redemption from this UCP plague in May 2023.

    • Linda, I can’t figure out whether Smith means it (let’s face it the stuff that keeps coming out of her mouth is pretty stupid) or she’s just saying these things to whip up her base. Either way, it can’t bode well for her chances in May 2023.
      When the UCP party understands the extent of damage she’s doing to their credibility there’s bound to be an upheaval.

  19. Mike J Danysh says:

    Friends, we may have underestimated Smith and her cronies/handlers/keepers—and overestimated her rural base. Queen Dannie, Empress of Oilberduh, has struck a blow for freedom from responsibility and liberty to be stupidly selfish. She’s announced that anti-vaxxers are “the most discriminated against group” in Canada.


    The comments are flying—and so is the bullshit. It’s disturbing to see how many “I-know-my-rights” posts have appeared already.

    This is gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. Like a bad boss, a bad politician can screw things up long after he’s gone. The next premier (pray it’s Notley. Please.) will have to fire all of Smith’s new hires, just as a start.

    • Mike, this made international news. Forbes magazine reported the story. Not a great start for someone who’s trying to encourage investment in Alberta. Doesn’t help the “Alberta is calling” campaign either. What a mess.

  20. Carlos says:

    One more stab in our stuck political system. Danielle Smith becomes premier using the back door. As Jason Kenney before, she invited herself into the position. I think we all know where she is going next and for the second time in her political career.

    Now they manipulate the system again and they force a by-election so that she can get into the Legislature and present a fundamental law and the ultimate freedom fighter
    ‘The Sovereign Act’ – she is going to liberate us from slavery and we can now say NO means NO to the Federal Government. I cannot wait. What a moment it will be.

    Another political disaster for all Albertans and we do not even have to vote for her, we just get her because we are so fortunate to have a second amazing UCP lunatic running the whole show. What better hands could we hope for? In this case it must have been God directly because she does sound very unique.

  21. Carlos says:

    She is not in the Legislature yet and it has already started.
    The unvaccinated are the group of people that suffered the most discrimination she has ever seen in her lifetime.
    Well at least we know that along with the full lack of common sense she also does not understand discrimination. I wonder if she understands anything at all other than conspiracy theories or ready made extreme right slogans.
    AHS will have to definitely expand their mental services after we are done with the UCP conspirators.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: Danielle Smith is quite the talker, to make claims about discrimination. When she was the Wildrose leader, she had candidates who were loose cannons, like Ron Leech. She never reigned them in. Look at where that got her.

  22. Carlos says:

    This is her level of support she has right now but she will change whatever she wants regardless – we can stop it – try us.


    • Carlos, the Free Alberta Strategy people sent out a news letter saying they were pleased she was elected, but they’d be watching her closely to ensure she stuck with the program they elected her on.
      If she stays true to her promises she’ll lose a good chunk of Alberta, if she flips she’ll lose her free Alberta, anti-vaxx supporters. It’s going to be interesting.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Hmmm…that news letter sounds interesting, and the possible desertion by the extremist right may be good for Alberta (eventually), but I’m not sure it’ll happen. After all, Queen Dannie is literally their only hope–and she’s already in power. I don’t see the Free Alberta Fantasists giving up that toehold.

        We’ll see. Roll on, May 2023!

  23. Linda says:

    The reign of idiocy is well on its way. Ms. Smith apparently wants to enshrine vaccination status under the Alberta Human Rights act. That would permit anyone the ‘freedom’ to spread disease at will, as employers would no longer be allowed to require proof of vaccination for employment. Ms. Smith might claim this idea would ‘only apply to Covid’ but depending on how the language was worded, could apply to ALL vaccines. Too bad for you if you die as a result of someone exercising their ‘freedom to infect’.

    • Political scientist Duane Bratt posted an admittedly unscientific FB poll today of anti-vax FB users where 58% said the unvaxxed were the most discriminated against people in the last 51 years, 40% said they weren’t and 2% were unsure. There were 24,281 votes.
      Blows my mind.

  24. Carlos says:

    Real Life is tough enough these days to most of us, but our government seems to thrive on more unnecessary stress. In a time when we have record homeless people, when we are dealing with the consequences of the pandemic our premier is concerned about what she calls our freedoms. She is trying to liberate us from the the tentacles of Eastern Canada – the federal government.
    Somehow 29% of Albertans are supporters of these attitudes and bombastic statements but I am sure that sooner or later these people will have to admit that this is pathetic. They are incompetent for the most part.

    • I agree Carlos. Incidentally I don’t know if you heard Danielle’s victory speech. She mentioned the vulnerable, addicts, and the homeless and said the compassionate new UCP would embrace them in a warm hug and give them a hand up.
      The Globe and Mail ran a story today about the impact of the UCP’s addiction strategy. An addiction-treatment patient and advocate who’s been treating her cocaine and fentanyl addiction with medications prescribed by her local doctor said she was on a program which required her to take her meds on a strict schedule 3 times a day. The UCP’s program has taken the power to prescribe her meds away from her doctor, now she has to make a 4 hour round trip trek to a designated AHS clinic for treatment.
      Doctors describe the new rules as “punitive.” The Globe asked Smith to comment but she did not respond.
      So much for a warm hug and a hand up.

      • GoinFawr says:

        During that speech Ms.Smith gave a shout out to her campaign manager Matt Altheim, whom she noted that since he was from Edmonton, he ‘knows how to deal with the NDP’. (GF: blows long, loud raspberry.)

        According to the CBC, there was a Mathew Altheim who produced a show called ‘To The Point’, which was shut down for something the story claimed Mr. Altheim “took full responsibility”.

        Same region, same guy?

        Anyway, to Matt A. and DS and all the rest I offer my choicest of chef”s kisses, and have money on my flank that says the NDP will go toe to toe with your bought and paid for, absolutely unelected premier anywhere, anytime, anyplace; if only Danielle could muster the courage or simply the integrity to call an immediate election.

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