October 1st, 2022 | ryan tyler

The reason danielle smith needs to win leadership

Albertans need to be forced into making a real choice.
The Alberta UCP elect a new leader on October 6th.

Danielle Smith should have been premier of Alberta in 2012, but she lost due to the hysterics and habits of Albertans who were afraid of real change. She tried to do what Jason Kenney eventually did, but in a less democratic fashion that resulted in anger and feelings of betrayal. A lot of people might still be bitter about that, but if her poll numbers are any indication, most of them are over it. The UCP leadership race in Alberta is between her and Travis Toews, the guy who represents the old PC way. If all goes well and without interference from the old Progressive establishment, Smith will be the next premier of Alberta. If she loses, the results will have been manipulated by the old, corrupt party establishment. It's that simple.
Smith winning the UCP leadership is a necessity. Alberta has long been on a path toward bigger government and bloated bureaucracy. The Alberta Advantage has steadily slipped away and another NDP government will ensure that it never comes back. Once an oasis for entrepreneurs and low taxes, Alberta has slowly evolved into a typically Canadian province with a big government, huge debt and growing levels of cognitive dissonance. Distracted by debates about gender ideology and unwinnable social policies, Alberta is becoming the Ontario of the West.
The Alberta we knew and loved is gone, but not necessarily for good.
What's most sad is that the so-called “Alberta Advantage” started slipping away under Progressive Conservatives, not the NDP. The election of Rachel Notley was a symptom of a changing political landscape geared toward appeasing the lunatic fringes of the left. Alison Redford was jokingly referred to as Alberta's first NDP premier, long before Rachel Notley won in 2015. Before Redford, Ed Stelmach was an old PC crony without an imagination, who was hellbent on keeping the status quo in place. The status quo, as we know, was about pacifying a growing public sector that is bloated with bureaucracy and excessively high wages.
That bureaucratic bloat led to an inevitable socialist government.
Rather than do something valuable with Alberta's abundant wealth, successive Progressive Conservative governments increased public wages, expanded hiring and made friends with unions. Redford's Sky Palace became the symbol of an out-of-touch, corrupt and overly wealthy bureaucracy that needed to be brought down. Years later, Jason Kenney would be found throwing lavish dinner parties during pandemic lockdowns in that very same Sky Palace.
Now, Albertan's need to be left with two extreme choices. We need to find out who Albertans really are and who they want to be.
Danielle Smith represents extreme freedom—meaning no lockdowns, more provincial autonomy and an unabashed move toward individual responsibility and liberty. Rachel Notley represents extreme socialism—meaning bigger government, more taxes and running amok with crazy, left-wing causes. Having anyone else in charge of the UCP would soften the party and make Albertans feel too comfortable in the status quo and the ongoing erosion of freedom. It would validate everything Jason Kenney has done.
Kenney represents the bloat of the old PC bureaucracy that destroyed the Alberta Advantage. He could have done things differently, but he chose not to.
Smith is a libertarian, Notley is a socialist. Finally, for the first time in my lifetime, I could have the choice between these two ideologies at the ballot box. I won't have to settle with some middle-of-the-ground, milquetoast schmuck, like I did in the last federal election. For the first time in their lives, Albertans will have two viable choices and neither of them will offer anything centrist.
Albertans will finally be forced to choose a path.
If Danielle Smith wins the leadership on October 6th, there will be a right path and left path in the next general election. There will be no middle ground and no safe option. Some will choose to vote for the Alberta Party, but the overall outcome will land on either the left or right side of the political fence. The NDP will try to sell themselves as centrists, but that will only work for the voters with amnesia. When they stand in that booth, Alberta voters will be choosing between extreme freedom and extreme socialism.
If they choose socialism, it won't shock me. Often enough, people vote based on habit rather than what they truly believe. Albertans have spent the last 50 years voting for “conservatives” because they've been wealthy and happy under governments with that label. Most Albertans, like Canadians, are asleep behind the wheel and have no real opinions on anything other than oil and coffee. When it comes down to it, Albertans will choose a government that offers them the most free shit and security—just like every other Canadian. They won't do the math or think of the economic consequences.
If they choose Danielle Smith's hard libertarianism, I will be shocked. They were afraid of her just ten years ago and handed victory to one of the worst premiers in the province's history. After that, they voted for Rachel Notley's hard socialism.
Pardon me if my faith in the common Albertan isn't as strong as yours.
I'm not sure Danielle Smith can beat Rachel Notley and prevent another NDP majority, but I don't care. This is my opportunity to see who Albertans really are. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan under an NDP government. I credit the socialists for turning me into the kind of “right-wing extremist” Justin Trudeau loathes. After moving to Alberta in 2010, I expected to be overwhelmed by Alberta's freedom-loving, small government culture—but I was disappointed. I found Albertans to be just as clueless and indoctrinated by their surroundings as anyone in any other province. They hate windmills and electric cars, but love oil and gas. That's it. That's all that separates Albertans from Canadians. They've voted for parties under the conservative label only because it kept their bank accounts and refrigerators full. As soon as they went broke, they turned into socialists.
If the next provincial election sees the Smith UCP lose in a landslide, I'll know that Alberta is not the place I thought it was. If myself and my family have to choose between NDP provinces, we're choosing the one with better weather and a coastline. If Saskatchewan wasn't flat, cold and run by bureaucrats, I would consider moving back. Unfortunately, the place is still run by crown corporations and union bosses.
If Albertans overwhelmingly choose Smith's UCP, I will be pleasantly surprised and happy to have been proven wrong.
It's possible that pandemic restrictions and a previous NDP government have taught Albertans a valuable lesson. Maybe they've seen the dark side and will choose a different, more radical path. It's possible they have come to realize that Smith's ideas aren't really radical at all. After all they've seen since 2015, it's possible Albertans have opened their eyes and awoken to a new reality.
It is also possible that Smith might somehow lose the UCP leadership. In such a case, we can only hope it staves of another NDP majority. If it doesn't and a Toews or Jean UCP loses to Rachel Notley, the province will be lost for good and British Columbia's warm winters and golden coastlines will look a lot more appealing to a lot more Albertans.
Of these three choices, who should be the next leader of Alberta's UCP?
Danielle Smith
Travis Toews
Brian Jean
october 2022


September 2022