Who Do You Trust?

In less than 70 days Albertans will decide whether Daniel Smith’s UCP or Rachel Notley’s NDP will form the next government.

Political junkies like me have pretty much made up our minds about who’s getting our vote, but we’re always interested in what others are thinking. which was why I tuned into a presentation by political scientist, Lisa Young, and journalist, Graham Thomson.     


Young provided a summary of the values of the two parties.   

The UCP value freedom (cue the UCP MLAs supporting the truckers and Smith’s pledge to make anti-vaxxers a protected class under the Human Rights Act), the private delivery of public services, staunch  support for oil and gas—after three long unproductive years the War Room is still up and running—and “Albertanism,” (Young described this as the belief that the Alberta government can meet Albertans’ needs better than the feds can). Not surprisingly the UCP’s relationship with the feds is marred by confrontation and performative measures like the Sovereignty Act, the referendum on equalization and numerous court challenges.   

Premier Smith

Young described the NDP as pragmatic. They’re deeply committed to the public delivery of public services, want legislated standards for healthcare, an increase in the number of primary care offices and publicly funded birth control. They support oil, gas and renewables, and value equity, diversity and inclusion (we saw this in Notley’s cabinet choices). While Notley opposed some federal energy policies, she’s more cooperative with the feds than the UCP.

Stranger than fiction

Graham Thomson reflected that in all his years covering Alberta politics it’s never been crazier than this. Kenney was ousted by the far right and moderate conservatives who felt he was too dictatorial and didn’t deliver the grassroots democracy he’d promised.

Smith who should have been un-electable after she crossed the floor to join the Prentice PCs (in return for the promise of cabinet posts that failed to materialize) made an amazing recovery.  

Thomson said this was because the other leadership candidates focused on May 2023—which one of them was best positioned to beat Notley in the next election; while Smith focused on Oct 2022, how could she get enough votes to win the leadership.

Smith succeeded (barely) by winning over the Free Alberta/Take Back Alberta crowd by promising her Sovereignty Act would rid Alberta of Ottawa once and for all. The fact it couldn’t deliver didn’t matter as long as enough voters thought it could.   

Thomson says Smith is using the “goodies for everyone” budget in the same way. It’s a fragile budget that will collapse if oil drops below $75 per barrel. But this doesn’t matter, the only purpose for the budget is to carry Smith to victory on May 29, 2023.  

The one thing Young and Thomson didn’t discuss was trust. Who do the voters trust to be the better leader? To do a better job for all Albertans?


Leaving aside the fact that Smith can’t open her mouth without sticking her foot in it, consider Smith’s election strategy to date. It’s a combination of:

  • Buying our votes with temporary programs that will literally expire right after the election.
  • Refusing to discuss issues Albertans care deeply about, such as:
    • losing their CPP (the government report on whether this is a good idea won’t be released until after the election, but a preview of what we can expect can be found in the Free Alberta Strategy coauthored by Smith’s right hand man, Rob Anderson
    • spending millions on a provincial tax collection agency (thereby forcing Albertans to file their taxes twice, but hey, what’s a little more red tape among friends)  spending millions on a provincial police force (despite the fact that most Albertans don’t want one) and
    • RStar, a $20 billion handout to deadbeat companies that refuse to obey the law and clean up their own mess.    
  • Gaslighting Albertans by:    
    • asserting AHS was responsible for the crisis in healthcare. Smith fired the AHS board and appointed an administrator who tinkered with the system for 90 days and declared the crisis had passed.    
    • ‘modernizing’ the education curriculum and ‘investing’ in education. And yet teachers don’t support the new curriculum, post secondary institutions are struggling and Calgary, the largest city in Alberta with 8000 more students attending school this fall will get one new school and one modernized school.
    • insisting Alberta has the best environmental and oil and gas regulations on the planet and the feds are wrong to interfere but turning a blind eye to unreported tailings leaks and resorting to bailouts like RStar to make oil and gas companies comply with the law.

It’s hard to trust a candidate who buys votes, hides their true agenda and gaslights the public. Nevertheless Smith is confident she’s got the rural vote and enough Calgary votes to win.

I’m not so sure.

This week I attended a fund raiser for Samir Kayandegat, the NDP candidate for Calgary-Elbow, and when I spotted a die-hard conservative in the room, I wondered whether Smith might be taking Calgary for granted.

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71 Responses to Who Do You Trust?

  1. Marg Tokar says:

    From an EX CON. There are more of us out here than the #UCPIsTBA realize.

    • Marg, that’s good news! I talked with someone who has good contacts within the UCP government who said, there are many UCP MLAs who are getting more and more uncomfortable with Danielle Smith’s TBA led leadership. Whether they’ll speak out about it is another matter.

  2. GoinFawr says:

    Lovely Susan. I like your angle that the failure of the UCP to put (Brian Jean?) at the wheel cost them the May election.

    “It’s a fragile budget that will collapse if oil drops below $75 per barrel. ”

    Western Canadian Select is at 47 USD/bbl right now, with sanctions capping the price at 60(?)USD/bbl russia probably gets more for their hydrocarbons from China.

    Can any Albertan call in to Ms.Smith’s radio show? If so I have some
    questions for Ms.Smith I am considering:

    Are there still any covid patients in Alberta hospitals today? If so, how many?

    Are there still covid patients in Alberta ICU’s?

    Has there ever been a day since you’ve been premier of Alberta that had the number ZERO for ‘patients in Alberta ICU’s suffering from covid’?

    How many people have died of covid since you became premier?
    Is long covid a hoax?
    Is covid a hoax?

    Of course I have no intention whatsoever of indicating to anybody on the phone which question I will really be asking, let alone what subject.

    Are these unfair questions?
    ps I would love to see other suggestions on other subjects too!

    • Bill Kaufmann says:

      Answers to your covid questions are on AB Health’s website: as of March 13, ICUs had 11 covid patients, hospitals 486 and no, there have been covid patients in the ICUs for pretty well since the pandemic’s start.

    • GoinFawr: I’ve listened to Smith’s radio show off and on (more off than on). I don’t know how they screen callers but every time I’ve heard the show there are a couple of callers who are clearly not supportive of Smith or her policies.
      The question I would like to ask relates to the business case for all of her goofy policies. What’s the business case for pulling us out of CPP, or ditching the RCMP, or setting up an Alberta tax collection agency. How much will it cost? What is the benefit? If she can’t tell us then there’s no reason for us to support it.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Well all right then, sounds heartening and that’s a couple more pointed queries right there.

        “While Notley opposed some federal energy policies, she’s more cooperative with the feds than the UCP.”

        and not just infinitely more cooperative either, but successfully so too.

        Now I’m looking at you UCPer, and I’m saying: Come. on. I know at least one bona fide ‘freedom’ law Ms.Notely’s admin. wrote that all you hosers really appreciate, even in rural areas, if you could just get over yourselves for a moment.
        How do you think the cons would have handled the cannabis transition, justly? I mean, I’m not saying it’s perfect now necessarily, but even Quebecers can’t grow their own cannabis plants, but Albertans can, thanks to
        Rachel Notley and the NDP
        Returning your actual, tangible, valued civil liberties.
        It bears repeating:

        Ms. Smith, in Quebec it is illegal to grow your own cannabis. In Alberta, it is legal, was it your government or the NDP that returned that civil liberty to Albertans?


  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for sharing another great blog. The UCP doesn’t know what they are doing, and this is ending up costing us lot of money. I hope Albertans will realize this come election time. I’ll play some more fitting music. Here is a John Sebastian composition from 1965, called Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind. He was part of the group, The Lovin’ Spoonful.

  4. jerrymacgp says:

    The NDP often gets slandered that it’s “socialist” — that is, slandered in the context of Alberta’s political culture; I for one wish it were. Had it been, then after four years of a Notley government we might have had publicly-owned gas and power utilities … public auto insurance … a single public K-12 education system rather than the faith-based parallel system we have now, and ditto in health care … much lower, or even free, tuition for post-secondary education … etc. etc. etc. Would the Kenney government have been able to overturn all of that? Who knows?

    On the subject of a “socialist” NDP, I’m going to take a page from Dwayne’s playbook and post a song … from one of my favourite female-fronted rock bands, Halestorm. It’s called “You Call Me a B**** Like It’s a Bad Thing”. Sadly I’ve never seen them live, but I’d love to. I’d also like to see Rachel say “you call me a ‘socialist’ like it’s a bad thing”.

    • Thanks Jerrymacgp: So many lines in this song ring true. For example: “You call me a freak like that means something/ Can’t get your way so you’re angry.”
      Seems to me all this name calling isn’t going to get the UCP as far as they like. Sure there are conservatives who swear they could never vote NDP, which tells me their political choices are based in ideology as opposed to a consideration of the party’s values and policies. This means they’ll support any crackpot as long as they label themselves “conservative.” Not a good thing.

  5. Carlos says:

    Lets try this one more time

    Susan great summary but in my opinion you missed the most important part of the equation – Albertans.

    All your points were very well described and if this coming election was in any other part of Canada, including Saskatchewan, Notley would be the desired choice. Not in Alberta. For years I believed that once we got into the extremism we are witnessing, it would be the end of Conservatism in Alberta. I was very wrong. There is no doubt that at least half of Albertans are behind this lunacy that Danielle Smith represents.
    There is no doubt that North America is the center of fascism in the world these days and Alberta is a strong component of it. Denying this is the problem we have had for many years.

    I have no doubts that Alberta, as hard as it is to admit, has at least 45% of people who believe in conspiracy theories, dictatorship, private everything and in a God that favours the rich over the poor. There are already calls to reduce the minimum wage because of course we need cheap manpower to feed those that deserve to have more just because of their economic status. They want less regulation so that they can do whatever they want even if means polluting and damaging our lands forever.
    Some of them even deny that Residential Schools were to take the barbaric Indian out of the native children. Forcibly taking these children away from their parents was the necessary evil to make them decent law abiding citizens, their masters never were.

    So do most of Albertans think the fact less propaganda and environmental denialism to be wrong? I do not think so.

    The only truth I believe these days is that if the UCP wins the next election, Alberta will never be the same province again and I doubt our children and grand children will be here to join the coming tsunami of unthinkable changes. My children and grand children are already gone and they will never come back.

    • Sandi says:

      Carlos, I agree with you but the winds are shifting. Even in the US they defeated that fascist way of thinking. I work with a lot of young people and most will vote NDP. They are far more informed than previous generations.

      • GoinFawr says:

        “THAT’S the Spirit!!” – Roy Batty

      • Carlos says:

        Sandi I do not doubt your belief but we made this same mistake in 1939 and we all know what happened. Fascism is not a fad, it is a constant reality and do not take it lightly.
        Young people are almost always center left until they start competing for money later on in life. Then greed develops and the rest of the story we all know. Reality hurts.

    • Carlos: while I understand where you’re coming from I, like Sandi, have seen an increase in engagement on the part of young people, many of whom might otherwise consider themselves to be progressive conservatives. They’re door knocking with NDP candidates because they know that Danielle Smith and the Take Back Alberta pack must be stopped.
      They’re also smart enough to realize that Smith is trying to buy them off with a budget that’s as fragile as tissue paper. Smith is making a lot of big promises but she won’t have the money to deliver on them after the election.
      Interesting times here in Alberta, but stressful too.

  6. Sharon says:

    Thank you Susan! This is a realistic picture of what’s going on in the mind of Dangerous Danielle. I have listened to a few podcasts and the question always comes up: who will win in May 2023? Usually, the answer is the UCP with caveats. The one caveat is whether DD can keep her foot out of her mouth. Looking at the RStar fiasco, the Children’s Tylenol debacle, the questionable interference in legal proceedings and her most recent one about the funeral arrangements for the two young officers killed in Edmonton, she shouldn’t stand a chance. But as Graham Thomson says, these are crazy times in Alberta. If she wants to win I would suggest duct tape over her mouth from now until after the election

    • Sharon, I agree 100%. Interestingly there are many moderate conservatives (apparently they’re not calling themselves “progressives” anymore) who are deeply troubled by the influence the Take Back Alberta crowd has on Smith. I think this is something the NDP can use to their advantage. Do most Albertans want to live in a province where a fringe group like TBA can call the shots? I don’t think so.

  7. David Baine says:

    Many thanks for your weekly views. Following is my letter to the Editor, Edmonton Journal; it never made press – I wonder why? In any case if you can use it in any manner, you are welcome to do so. Thanks and best wishes, David

    “False gifts and fools’ gold.
    Give and ye shall deceive. The art of political magic sometimes involves sleight of hand in which the right hand giveth and the left hand taketh away. The hope is that the hand is quicker than the eye – no one will notice. So how does it work? Over time, one hand removes or reduces essential supports for education, health, social services … creating desperate needs in each area. Then the other hand offers some of these supports in the form of gilded gifts – fool’s gold. But are we fooled? Only the election will tell! Remember, “What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.””

    • David, your letter is brilliant, thank you! I can imagine the Edmonton Journal editorial board trying to weigh the benefits of publication versus the blowback if they did. God forbid that the religious right decide it’s blasphemous. (I was going to go off on a riff about the wrath of God, but I couldn’t do your letter justice so I’ll leave it at that). 🙂

  8. lindapekrul says:

    I appreciate this article very much. You are calling a spade a spade. I believe the majority of Albertans don’t believe (or trust) the charlatan who is running the province but it is important for them to get out and vote on election day. Take Back Alberta is looking for the weak areas of voter turnout and they will be there with busses full of supporters willing to vote for UCP. We’ve seen that over and over in the board takeovers across AB and in the deluge of posters across the province inviting supporters to come and learn about how to “make” democracy work for them come election day. They’ve started with the dirty tactic of encouraging people to harrass the NDP doorknockers when they arrive at their door. There’s a video of one who actually chased them down the street. It’s really disgusting. UCP/TBA do not deserve the honour of running the province of Alberta.

    • Linda: your point about TBA working hard to get their preferred candidates elected is very well taken. I saw a note on social media in which the TBA were advising their supporters that the way to handle NDP candidates who come knocking on their doors was to surreptitiously record what the candidate said on their cell phones. The fact that this is likely a violation of section 184 of the Criminal Code of Canada didn’t seem to bother them.
      This is the kind of person who supports Danielle Smith’s UCP.

  9. lungta mtn says:

    6/10 UPC suffer from willful ignorance,
    The other 4 enjoy it
    The rest of us should
    “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”.

    • lungta mtn: “never argue with stupid people” is excellent advice.
      A friend who went doorknocking with an NDP candidate said they’d had a strange conversation with one homeowner. The candidate mentioned all the loony things Smith has said and the homeowner said yeah well if you looked through the things I’ve said over the last 12 years, you’d find some weird things in there too.
      This misses the point that (1) Smith didn’t say these stupid things 12 years ago, she said them yesterday and last week and last month, (2) the things she said are horrific (she’d pardon people who violated public health laws, anti-vaxxers are the most discriminated people on the planet, people should pay to see their GPs, etc) and (3) unlike Smith, he’s not running to be re-elected as the premier of the province responsible for a $68.3 billion budget.
      In other words I don’t care if this homeowner said stupid things 12 years ago, I do care that Danielle Smith says stupid things all the time. But, the guy’s mind is made up, nothing the candidate can say will change it, so it’s best to move on.

  10. Thank you Susan for another bang-on post that summarizes what many of us worry about under continued UCP governance. I value your dedication to keeping us informed about the little autocrat who’d demolish democracy as we know it in this province.
    I too listened to Graham Thompson and Lisa Young’s interesting CALL talk about the upcoming election and you’re right, they didn’t mention, much less emphasize, the lack of trust in this province. I think it was Maria Ressa who said that if people don’t trust the source of political information, they don’t believe the facts. What happens when people don’t like the facts they read (on social media), then distrust the source? Either way, trust and democracy lose and we’re trapped in what Timothy Nichols calls “the death of expertise.”
    When I asked Thompson and Young their thoughts re waking up Albertans to the threat to democracy, Graham Thompson said (paraphrasing) voters are only concerned with what immediately impacts their lives. Normally I’d wholly agree with him, but these are truly exceptional times in Alberta politics, and we can forget about all hopes for legislation that improves the delivery of public services if we don’t get out in droves and vote for democracy; i.e., give the UCP a tsunami defeat.
    I believe it’s incumbent on all journalists and public professionals to speak out against the damage to democracy if Smith gets elected premier in the upcoming election.
    Thank you, again and again and again, for doing that Susan. Dear readers, please VOTE! And please take a younger person with you, buy them a coffee/lunch, convince them that they have the most to lose by not voting.

    • Judy, thank you for your clear explanation of why democracy matters. People sometimes think democracy, like politics, is something for someone else to worry about. What they don’t understand is that their access to good education, healthcare, and jobs all flows from those in power and if those in power got there through something other than the fair and transparent operation of democratic processes we’re doomed. We need only look to autocrats like Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister who’s been in power since 2010, to see what can happen when the public is asleep at the wheel.

  11. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. It is from 1974, and it is Linda Ronstadt covering th Clint Ballard Jr. composition, You’re No Good. She is a great singer. This song is also very fitting.

    • GoinFawr says:

      ooo, Ouch! Someone plays that for you, better get some ointement.

    • Wow Dwayne I’d forgotten how terrific Linda Ronstadt was. This was a fantastic song and oh, so fitting!!!

      • Carlos says:

        I agree with you Susan – we have forgotten what quality means. It is as if suddenly no one knows what is fact and what is just Trump world.
        It is hard to believe that we find ourselves grasping for, at least, some common sense.
        If my Dad was alive, he would for sure check back into oblivion.
        I feel lucky that my grandkids are still too young to understand how bizarre our world is. I used to look at my grandfather with joy, respect and admiration for the world they were trying to create for us. I hope I will not be here to represent the awful mess we are leaving to our grandkids. That alone is a terrible feeling of failure.
        I know that many people believe on this positive thinking band wagon but I do not. We cannot resolve the crisis we are facing with positive thinking. We need positive action and that is not on the menu much. Unfortunately.
        People like Danielle Smith and her gang of crooks, in my world, would not have survived. Unfortunately that world is receding under the weight of lunacy and lies. My only question is what I thought I would never have to ask. Can we return to some sense of truth and respect for each other?
        If not, it will not be climate change that will destroy this planet.
        Yes for the positive thinkers this is negative but I have news for them – THIS IS OUR REALITY. If you avoid reality to feel positive, someone else will have to deal with what you avoided.

  12. Bota28 says:

    Thanks Susan ! Great piece and as I also attend NDP or AB Party fundraisers I am also spotting a lot of “die-hard conservatives” in the rooms and on the campaign trails …. I think Smith and her cronies are taking a lot for granted in this province not just Calgary and finding that governing is a bit more than what she thought.

    But will add someone a bit earlier has made mention of all the lunatics who are behind Smith and her conspiracy theories e.g. the LUB Bylaw Watch Group and the many more FB groups full of conspiracy theorists are a sign things are not well in AB and the world.

    • Carlos says:

      Yes Susan you are right – things are not well with the world. Trump brought to power all the zombies that use to live in their dens with their allies.
      Now they are out of the closet and they are dangerous.

    • Thanks Bota28. Like you I’ve noticed an increase is strange little groups which get weirder and weirder over time. I’ve read that conspiracy theories are like a bottomless pit, once you fall in it’s difficult to get out. However, it would appear the beat of the conspiracy theorists drum can be wearisome. Apparently one reason why the turnout to protest Trump’s pending indictment has been so underwhelming is because despite Trump urging them to “PROTEST!!!” they think it’s a law enforcement trap.
      God knows, but whatever the reason, some of his stalwart supporters are burning out. Hopefully the same will happen here.

  13. Susan in Palliser says:

    In praise of Susan on the Soap Box. Thank you.

    Susan, reno or no reno your analysis of the politics of Alberta written with clarity and depth offers me a perspective that helps hone my thinking. Bravo!
    The comments to your weekly summaries speak to like minds who add further elaboration. I am so grateful for the chance to broaden my thinking but also because the chats eat away at my sense of isolation. Moreover the updates challenge thoughts / anguish that I/ we will live for years under a UCP Smith lead provincial
    Signs of the times:
    1. For me the worry came with the Fair Deal Panel findings and now seeing Sovereignty and the components of the deal slowly being implemented as you mention.
    2. The woman MLA in the Calgary Glenmore riding is actually visibly campaigning. She has held a couple of pub nights and speaks to those gathered ( I attended one such gathering) and she sounds like a moderate. No mention of the premier and the many ‘gaffs’ or policy missteps.While the MLA has been seemingly quiet in the background in the past, she now can be seen at community or faith based functions bringing greetings or making introductions.
    3. Overhearing conversations at the gym with those I call ‘the middle blue’ I hear talk about recent spending as a move in the right direction; or how the premier is ‘toning it down’ or comments like ‘ I can’t no matter what vote NDP. The talk leaves me thinking a. I can do a small part to help the NDP candidate in my riding get elected or help in a leading Calgary riding while b. resigning myself to another UCP majority in May so as to minimize emotional fatigue.

    Personal Reno note: Be encouraged Susan.
    Reno’s May bring upset, delays and cost overruns. Results from my experience bring much pleasure. In my case I pinch myself that I get to live and work in a dream kitchen. How fortunate to be able to ‘Reno’ at all.

    Susan in Palliser

    • Susan in Palliser: thank you for your kind words!

      With respect to your third point about the “middle blue” contingent who think Smith’s on the right track with her spending, she’s toning it down, and they could never vote NDP, the attached article by Lisa Sygutek provides some insight into how how destructive the TBA who back Smith really are. I can only hope that more moderate conservatives read this article and talk about it among themselves because the process described in this article is undemocratic…limited time to vote, confusing and conflicting instructions about how to vote and who can vote. It’s classic voter suppression.

      In the end Sygutek says she can’t vote for Smith, she can’t vote for the NDP, so she’ll consider voting for the Alberta Party even though that would split the conservative vote. We can only hope other “middle blues” who aren’t blinding by Smith’s “by your vote” spending do the same.

      Here’s the link: https://albertapolitics.ca/2023/03/take-back-alberta-far-right-radical-group-continues-its-effort-to-take-over-ucp/

      PS the renos are down to the wire now. Hopefully we’ll be done this time next week!!!

  14. Dave says:

    We are now on at least version 4.0 of Smith, who is quite the political chameleon.

    Lest we forget, we first had her as a leader of grassroots political opposition party, then as someone who fairly unilaterally merged that party with the governing party she so vocally and forcefully opposed. Well understandably that sure went up in flames!

    So she laid low for quite a while and then gradually reemerged as a populist talk radio show host, although the criticism and high profile involved with that eventually seemed to be too much for her to bear, so oddly she disappeared for a while again.

    She then reemerged as a champion for anti vaxers and anti Ottawa separatists, which later gave her just enough support to win the UCP leadership. The anti Ottawa rhetoric seems to have diminished a lot since she won and it seems like the symbolic laws she passed will accomplish nothing.

    She now seems to be trying to spend her way to re-election, based on a projected oil price in her recent budget that is over $10 more than current prices. If re-elected, I see a deficit and spending cuts in her future. Perhaps that will be Smith version 5.0.

    To paraphrase the rap singer Eminem – Will the real Danielle Smith, please stand up?

    • Carlos says:

      I am sure she will not stand up because that is the way she governs. She pays attention to what is that we do not like to hear and she changes her mind to another version like you so very well explain.

      Amazingly nothing seems to change the minds of the blind following the blind number 1. It is more than clear that a lot of Albertans are to say the least, uneducated enough to not be able to discern what is true from what it is not.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      There’s a conservative political operative from Ontario named Steven Outhouse who is on the UCP’s campaign team — in fact listed as campaign manager — that has been credited by conservative pundits from outside Alberta for reining in Daniellezebub’s tendency to run off at the mouth with crazy talk, thereby contributing to her recovery in the polls versus last year.

      There is also room for some dismay at the relative weakness of the NDP’s current comms strategy and apparent lack of prominence in terms of advertising and other public statements, especially in the face not only of “official” UCP ads but also of ads from UCP-aligned third parties. Former NDP leader Brian Mason, no slouch he, has come out on Twitter from his BC Okanagan redoubt calling on the NDP to step up with guns blazing.

      I’m worried.

      • Carlos says:

        Aren’t we all WORRIED?

      • Dave says:

        I think there was a time, maybe late last year when the conventional thinking was Smith would shoot herself in the foot badly and the UCP would then fall apart. Maybe there is still a bit of that thinking leading to complacency of the part of some in the NDP, I don’t know. Regardless, this hasn’t happened.

        I do know from seeing Smith before that she is a smooth enough talker to convince some and appear competent enough for some period of time, until the mask slips or the wheels fall of the bus. I am sure that will happen eventually, but it may not be until after the election.

        I recall how some in the US were keen to have the Republicans choose Trump in 2016, because they thought the Democrats could easily beat him. Of course, it didn’t work out that way. In politics never underestimate your opponent even if they seem totally incompetent and crazy to you.

    • Dave, good points re: Smith being a political chameleon. Kind of makes you wonder what’s going on in the heads of Albertans who buy into the snake oil she’s selling.

      I worry that there’s not much we can do to turn these people around. We know all her pre-election goodies will vapourize when (not if) the budget collapses so those who think she’s finally spending the way she should be spending are in for a rude surprise.

      Ditto education and healthcare.

      Ditto diversifying the economy to address the inevitable slump when oil prices slump.

      I could go on and on but I’m preaching to the choir. I’m not sure how to address this issue but as jerrymacgp and others have pointed out, the NDP comms people need to step up their game.

  15. Linda says:

    I want to believe that Albertans have paid attention to how badly the UCP have performed & how they clearly do NOT have the ‘best interests’ of ‘all Albertans’ in mind. I think they have clearly demonstrated that they have the ‘best interests’ of ‘SOME Albertans’ – mainly their supporters, family & friends – in mind. And to heck with the rest of us. Take the CPP conversion to APP idea. I’m basing this on what previous PC governments have attempted to do to public pension funds & what the current UCP government has done to public pension funds. The legislation of AimCo as the fund manager for public pension funds – this after AimCo frittered away literal billions of Heritage Fund $ in an ill conceived gamble in the market. Yes, let’s ensure those AimCo folks keep their jobs. Because the UCP has ‘the best interests of all Albertans’ in mind. Not any Albertans who are members of a public pension plan, who are now forced to use AimCo regardless of how poorly their performance might be. Gee, thanks. Then let’s look at the concept that an APP would (as per the UCP) require LESS funding than the CPP. Which will help ‘young families’. Uhm, pardon, but the point of a pension plan isn’t to help ‘young families’. It is to ensure senior citizens have a secure income to live on when they are no longer young & may no longer be able to work for a living. As for requiring lower contributions, as any actuary or financial advisor can tell you, a DB (defined benefit) pension plans eventual guaranteed payout is based on the amount contributed as well as the time frame said contributions have been made into the plan. So it follows that lower contributions will NOT support a higher level of income come the day retirement income begins to flow. Smaller pool, smaller payout.

    As for a ‘provincial police force’, well, let us look at the track record of some of the UCP MLA’s. Like threatening a member of the public with a ‘visit’ by government employees (aka security/police). Or calling up a police chief to discuss a ticket. Or suggesting that prosecution doesn’t proceed. None of this suggests that a ‘made in Alberta’ police force, answering to ‘government’ would be used for ‘the good of all Albertans’. Just the opposite. You speak up, you oppose the government in any way, well, you just might receive a ‘visit’ from said ‘police force’. Sounds like a dictatorship in the making to me.

    As for pre-election promises by the UCP, one of which is to ‘improve’ health care, well, they’ve had 4 years to ‘improve’ & have done anything but. In fact, their actions have sent a clear message to the very health care workers they say they will now support that their efforts are not only not appreciated but are not worth paying more for. If I were working in health care Alberta would not be my first choice as a place to work in, especially if the UCP are in power. My income, my place of work, my pension (all health care workers with the exception of doctors are members of LAPP, a public pension plan – see AimCo above) have all been attacked under the UCP. As a health care worker, the UCP has shown that they will 1) rip up legal agreements because ‘they were about to expire’ anyway; 2) demand wage rollbacks, because those who are working in public health care during a pandemic are obviously not providing value & should be paid less; 3) if working in a rural locale, are in the eyes of the UCP responsible for ensuring that if they leave for finding a replacement for the work they do. Also, don’t expect to be paid for work performed if the UCP decides not to fund it. Can you imagine? The nerve! Expecting payment for doing work! As if it is valuable or something! Last but certainly not least, if there are issues in the health care system the blame for any shortfalls is due to those lazy, selfish health care workers. Not because of any mismanagement or lack of funding on the part of the UCP.

    • Carlos says:

      Great comments Linda.
      By the way another 80 million dollars down the drain in pain medication no one wants or needs.
      Seriously it is time these UCP people really take a look at the incompetence of this government. Forget Conservative versus Progressive. Look at the reality of bad government and money that has been lost. For a change forget the slogans and the cult and think straight and please do not vote losers again. We have had enough of this mediocre circus. If you cannot separate yourself from the crooked world created by Danielle Smith than just step aside and let sane people govern this province.

      • Carlos, the $80 million pain medication debacle is further evidence that Albertans desperately need a competent government, rather than one driven by ideology. If the real rationale for the $80 million pharmaceutical boondoggle was to say “So there, Justin Trudeau, take that!” it blew up in Smith’s face.
        I hope someone somewhere has been keeping track of these expensive examples of incompetence. The amount of money the UCP squandered under Kenney and Smith is staggering.

    • Linda, thanks for your insightful comments.
      The underlying message you’ve shared with us so eloquently is that past performance predicts future performance. Albertans should judge the UCP based on their record over the last 3 years. The UCP’s past performance has been disastrous for all but the UCP’s friends, family and loyal supporters. Since the rest of us don’t fall into those categories why would we give Smith another term.

      • Gerald says:

        The clown party takes previous loyal support for granted; perhaps they should not.

        Case in point, my mother, 80 years old and a long time conservative, almost caused me to do spit take while having coffee with her recently.

        To whit, “don’t you think Rachel Notley would have been at home in a Lougheed cabinet?”

  16. Guy says:

    Who do we trust? A difficult question to answer, especially in the world of politics where the words ‘trust’ and ‘politician’ are often found in close proximity to the word ‘don’t’. These are indeed the craziest of times in Alberta politics, as pointed out by Susan and Graham Thomson, but with the differences between the only two legitimate contenders in the next election being so stark, one would like to believe that there is almost no choice at all if the goal is to elect a viable, functioning government. This being Alberta however it seems that the early predictions are for a close race. If the election were a game show I imagine it going something like this:

    Alberta Voter, Come On Down! You win! You can choose:
    1) an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii OR
    2) you can have your hand slammed repeatedly in a car door.
    Which one do you want?

    Well, I’m a car guy so… uh, 2?

    Must-see TV indeed. No wonder the rest of the country can’t take it’s eyes off of Alberta.

    A few days ago I realized that if I’m to preserve whatever remains of my ever-eroding mental health I’m going to need to drastically lower my expectations for the next government. I don’t feel like I’m asking for much here but this is what I want:

    1. I want a government that can demonstrate a rudimentary level of competence. I don’t expect it to be great at everything. If it can show me that it can do even one or two things without completely screwing up that would be awesome.

    2. I want a premier who can make a public statement that doesn’t require an immediate ‘clarification’. A luxury, I know, but I can dream.

    3. I want a government that makes me believe that it has the best interest of all Albertans at heart, not just those that inhabit the political fringes and the top of the economic scale. If it could do that, who knows, perhaps trust could begin to grow.

    4. I want the next government to govern quietly. I don’t mean secretly. We need to know what’s going on. I mean I don’t want it shaking its fist and yelling at everyone it disagrees with ALL THE TIME. For that matter, I don’t want it spending all of its time looking for people to disagree with either. Just do what the rest of us do, get up, go to work and do your job. You know, the one you were hired to do not the one that you would rather be doing because you think it’s more fun. And do it quietly. I’m not getting any younger and I need a rest now and again.

    Right after my nap I’m going to try to decide which of our two available choices is most likely to deliver on my wish list so I know how to vote. It’s gonna be close…

  17. Carlos says:

    Our boss is visiting as I am sure you all know.

    Politicians certainly take care of themselves. Big pay raise coming, 6 thousand dollars a night hotels, Governor General expenses are out of this world despite having an indigenous leader from Nunavut and on and on.

    There is never enough money to build low cost homes for the homeless or even women’s shelters or anything that can help those Canadians that have to pay the price for our capitalist system but God forbid cutting back the best luxurious benefits for our, in many cases, useless politicians. The excuse is always security and blah, blah but the truth is that living like monarchs is pretty good whether or not the country is doing well. Never ever does any of them stands up as a true leader and stops these slaps on the face to the rest of us that are struggling to make a living every single day of the year.

    I can only say shame on all of us as a society.

    History has tons of examples of what these attitudes bring on but politicians keep pushing their luck and ignoring it and parading like peacocks.

    • Carlos says:


      Trust is earned not forced. Our political system is already chaotic but wait a little longer until a white nationalist takes over the country.

    • Linda says:

      Carlos, I hear you on the ‘living like a monarch’ thing. In all fairness, accommodation in the UK especially in a high end hotel is not cheap. The leader of a country can’t be expected to be taken seriously by staying in a youth hostel. Not having ever been in a position to be part of one of these political junkets but based solely on what I might see in social media, seems like leaders always have a number of folks in an entourage. So accommodation costs presumably include at least some of said entourage. Security, for instance, might actually remain in the hotel suite – hard to secure someone if you aren’t even in the room with them – plus a suite presumably is also used for business meetings with said entourage. So just a bed & bath won’t cut it. Also, given that time is a factor – usually meetings are scheduled in advance & again, travel to/from where a meeting is taking place means a central location is needed because it won’t do to arrive late – means where one may stay that fits the requirements is almost guaranteed to be on the high end of the spectrum. That follows even within Canada. If JT is visiting Calgary, he isn’t going to be staying at a Super8 motel. It will be the Palliser or one of the other high end hotels downtown & yes, he’ll be in the penthouse suite. Call it the political version of keeping up with the Jones.

  18. Mike J Danysh says:

    Breaking news: Travis Toews announces–via Twitter–that he’s quitting politics (for now).


    Of course he still supports the United (ha!!!) Conservative Party (just not the Take Back Alberta Party).

    • Carlos says:

      Well Travis Toews is not stupid enough to go through the embarrassment of being a lackey of Danielle Smith. I am sure by now he has realized exactly what she is about.

  19. Mm says:

    I have taken to reading about the nature of psychopaths, fascism and violence among people who believe they have a moral cause. This is not pleasant reading. We’ve seen it before in modern history. It might be what we are witnessing right now in Alberta. Time will tell. Whatever it is, it’s frightening. I hope we heed the warning signs.

    • Mm says:

      Is it possible that a certain faction of the Alberta population will seek out suffering as the path to cleansing sins and redemption, at whatever cost?

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        I’ve been pretty much convinced they do, ever since Premier Ed Stelmach accused the Opposition of damaging the “sanctity” of the Legislature. Imagine the Old Tories as saints….

        Some rural Albertans seem to feel the local MLA deserves the same unquestioning reverence as their parish priest. It takes extreme irritation to convince ’em to vote for somebody else (even within the same party). I dunno, maybe they feel they deserve to be punished for something.

      • Carlos says:

        That is a very interesting question Mm. Love it.

        I will just say that that part of the population that you are talking about are now in government. They are waiting for the opportunity to get a majority and take the first steps to their dark side of the moon. People that believe that the concept of market was given to us by God. It is sacred. I am sure you have heard the concept of economic inevitability and the market invisible hand.
        This brilliant system given to us by God has created the crisis we are in now which could take us all down.

        Of course for the UCP the solution is more of it because they continue to lower taxes to companies and keep paying for their responsibilities as in the case of the RStar system. At the same time thousands of Canadians are on the streets because just like in the third world they cannot afford a home.

        Pierre Poilievre, for example criticized this afternoon, in a comment after president Joe Biden speech to Parliament, the approach, in general, of the green programs that are now being developed by both the US and Canada.
        This from a person that, if in power, will do nothing for the climate change crisis because he does not even fully believe it is a problem. Not a comment about it ever. The climate crisis is not even a priority in their conferences. When was the last time anyone has heard Pierre Poilievre’s opinion on the environment? He does not have one but he is quick on using every single opportunity to criticize Justin Trudeau.

        So Mm your question is very interesting to me because I strongly believe that the quick answer to it is, very possible.
        Danielle Smith has shown to me very clearly that what she believes in life is definitely abhorrent to me.

  20. GoinFawr says:

    One more note regarding who you trust nationally. In my opinion every woman in Canada ought to take careful note of the following:


    Joe Biden President of the United States of America in Canada the other day talking about parliamentary demographics,

    “…and both of us have cabinets that are 50% women for the first time in history…”

    A growing applause follows, the House begins to rise, except for some of the cons, iirc including their ‘leader’ PP, who remain seated. President Biden quietly smiles as they give themselves away,

    “…even if you don’t agree guys, I’d stand up.”

    Joe rox.
    It was a bit disheartening that I couldn’t find that story on the CBC, or in any Canadian media. But then, we all know what the PaidPP UCP online army would have to say if the CBC covered it: Ezra would have been up in arms!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      LOL!!! Say what you will about Biden, he has a sense of humour–and he really knows how to work a crowd.

  21. Carlos says:

    Well as usual I was not able to reply to Linda so I am posting it at the root level.

    Linda I appreciate your comment but that is the same song I have heard for decades. Do some investigation and spend some time analyzing who is in the entourages and you will probably change your mind.

    Also ask any Canadian sleeping on the streets if there is any justification for this kind of expenses or even if it justifies all these trips everywhere instead of taking care of our problems at home. Ask any Canadian at all not just the homeless.

    I would say to any Canadian politician that in the long run, it is way more productive and with better outcomes to resolve our problems at home rather than spending millions on trips to all these conferences that basically are useless in resolving our most important problems. Furthermore after all the signatures are on paper nothing matters. Canada, for example, has failed all climate change reduction targets since the very first meeting took place.

    So just like the monarchs in past eras, it is all grandstanding and big egos and unlimited access to funds that belong to all of us. We need way more public oversight of our resources and affairs. This kind of politics is outdated and unnecessary. Too many of our citizens need help they are not getting because there are no resources. Well there are resources but they are used in superfluous and ostentatious uses. As a Canadian I do not need our prime minister travelling everywhere in luxury representing a society that is getting poorer by the day. That is what leaders of dictatorships do.

    Will all due respect I disagree with your comment.

    • Linda says:

      Carlos, I hear your frustration. Your point that these in person meetings are not leading to resolutions on important issues is excellent. Unfortunately, if Canada does not attend these conferences/meetings that won’t do anything but ensure our voice isn’t heard at the table, because the rest of the world will continue to meet ‘in person’. So our PM staying at home won’t improve matters, except that such funds that were spent on travel abroad will then presumably be available to spend somewhere else. I think it highly unlikely said funds would be used to alleviate homelessness or provide help to citizens. So what is the solution? A worldwide single government? No government at all? Given how reliant our society is on the social safety net, however frayed said net might be, don’t see any of those who are suffering now benefitting from the removal of such systems as are already in place. Just the opposite.

      • Carlos says:

        What I meant is that we need to move forward and adapt to a changing world instead of being smacked by it. We need better regulations on lobbyists. better electoral system. We need way more transparency and reduction of corruption at the highest levels………….we need these changes to create trust in our sick political system.

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