Danielle Smith's post-election honeymoon is over
The seasons are changing and it’s not just the weather - the political seasons are changing too.
The first snow has fallen and the cold north winds are blowing across Alberta. The seasons are changing and it’s not just limited to the weather - the political seasons are changing too.
Five months after the 2023 provincial election, Alberta’s politicians will be back in the provincial capital on October 30 to start the first substantial sitting of this Legislative Assembly. MLAs met shortly after the election to choose a Speaker for the new Assembly (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper) but this fall’s session will see Premier Danielle Smith’s re-elected United Conservative Party government introduce its legislative agenda.
Premier Smith had a busy political summer and political watchers have noticed she has maintained a fairly rigorous speaking schedule over the past few months. Smith hit the circuit at conferences, conventions, and summits large and small - some with very friendly crowds, like an event hosted by the right-wing True North news website, and others with less sympathetic audiences, like the Alberta Climate Summit hosted by the Pembina Institute.
Putting Smith in front of a captive audience is usually a good political move. She’s quick on her feet, personable, and comfortable at the podium. But she does have a tendency to veer far off the government’s main messages and instead use the mic to speak directly to a highly engaged group of the UCP supporters who have little trust in traditional institutions and are highly skeptical of political norms. These fantastical claims include her recent comment that the International Energy Agency is no longer credible and baseless charge that Alberta labour unions broke advertising spending limits during the last election.
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Fantastical claims aside, Smith usually leaves a friendly impression when you meet her in-person, which can’t hurt the government as it moves forward with a controversial and combative political agenda.
The UCP government has not released a list of the legislation it plans to introduce in the Assembly when MLAs start gathering in Edmonton next week but here’s a quick look at some issues that might be on the agenda:
Alberta Pension Plan referendum
Finance Minister Nate Horner has promised that new legislation related to the creation of an Alberta Pension Plan will be introduced.