Marlaina Danielle Smith ECA is a Canadian politician and journalist who has been serving because the nineteenth premier of Alberta since October 11, 2022, and leader of the United Conservative Party since October 6, 2022. Smith entered provincial politics in 2009, becoming the leader of the Wildrose Party.
Having won the leadership of the United Conservative Party (UCP), Danielle Smith has succeeded Jason Kenney as Premier of Alberta.
With this variation, the province is more likely to take one more populist-right turn, as Smith’s signature policy proposition – the Alberta Sovereignty Act – is a brazen attempt at undermining the Canadian structure.
The Sovereignty Act, as laid out by Smith and her team, would authorize Alberta to refuse the enforcement of federal laws (like pollution restrictions) and ignore federal regulators after they’re seen as acting contrary to the interests of Alberta or are in supposed violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a press release during her leadership campaign, Smith said of the policy, “Not will Alberta ask permission from Ottawa to be prosperous and free. We is not going to have our voices silenced or censored. We is not going to have our resources landlocked or energy phased out of existence by virtue-signalling prime ministers.”
In keeping with Smith’s former campaign website, Alberta would proceed with the Sovereignty Act bar nothing – including the Canadian courts ruling it unconstitutional. Smith’s spokesperson recently walked this claim back, saying that Alberta would comply with Canada’s Supreme Court.
While Smith has defended her Sovereignty Act as instrumental to restoring prosperity to Alberta, the truth is that it’s little greater than a “half-baked” (within the words of outgoing Premier Jason Kenney) attempt at exploiting the populist anger surrounding Trudeau’s Federal Liberals.
And for anyone unsure of how the economics of constitutional meddling play out, simply harken back to the Parti Québécois’ tumultuous reign within the Seventies, which led to a devastating private investment and business exodus – together with hundreds of mostly anglophone employees.
As Alberta – Canada’s energy heartland – already faces a mess of economic challenges, including difficulty attracting expert employees, mounting pressure to hurry up economic diversification, and high inflation rates, the final thing its Premier needs to be doing is creating instability amongst markets by means of reckless political posturing.
Thanks partly to america’ passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Canada is on the cusp of a green energy and cleantech revolution – with Alberta set to steer it.
The economic potential of this chance is staggering, yet Smith’s precipitous comments and policies – in addition to her anti-solar and wind ideology – jeopardize Alberta’s ability to take full advantage of the situation.
Smith may only have a 12 months until she has to face a general election, which shall be highly unpredictable, but that’s good enough time to wreck Alberta’s international standing, scare off green investors, and interfere within the province’s economic evolution.
Rightfully so, Albera’s cleantech sector is bracing itself for what’s to return next – whatever which may be.