There is nothing else like it. To be in Calgary in May when a provincial election is called is a special experience. It is a hootenanny without the music. You need a shovel to sort through the promises. There is a dingbat on the loose named Danielle Smith who became a short-term premier when she was chosen to head up the (dis-) united conservatives. Sharpshooter and former premier Rachel Notley is leading the NDP and targeting the dingbat.
Notley is going to have to fix Medicare. Smith has more tax cuts in mind. It is only a four-week campaign, so the two parties have to promise much and often. Former premier Notley has accusatory words for much of what the dingbat Smith has to say about Medicare. Smith does not care for Medicare.
But you are never too sure, from day to day, just what Danielle Smith will say.
Smith thought the Coutts blockade—that only hurt Alberta’s economy—helped the province rid itself of Covid mandates. She claims now that she was opposed to mask and stay-home mandates during the worst of the pandemic.
The problem for the NDP’s Rachel Notley, she says, is that she never knows what the United Conservative Party candidate will say next. Smith’s case of interfering in the prosecution of Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski is still before the Alberta ethics commissioner. Despite premier Smith’s promise, on a recorded phone call, to go to bat for him, he was still found guilty of inciting the protesters at Coutts.
Smith’s credentials as premier are, at best, questionable. She was the leader of the province’s extreme right Wildrose party when she led most of her party across the legislature floor, to join the conservatives. The problem that floor-crossing caused for her was that she could not find a riding at the time in Alberta that wanted her as their conservative candidate.
One of her first actions as premier last year was to have the legislature pass what is called the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act. The most common guess at what that act means is that Alberta wants to decide which of the acts passed by the federal government, it will support. What it will do about those it does not like is not explained.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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