Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith beamed last night when she learned she had won the leadership of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party and is set to be sworn in as Alberta’s premier within days.

The lineup of candidates after the first ballot calculation (Photo: Screenshot of UCP livestream).

Privately, she must have worried. 

If not quite a squeaker, the vote was uncomfortably, unexpectedly tight. 

Her campaign of separatist talk, promises of unconstitutional sovereignty legislation, and Q-adjacent COVID conspiracy theories and quack cure advocacy appears to have left the party divided, even with the hundreds of new members the new leader brought in.

At the end of the count – after the UCP’s preferential ballots were counted six times – she edged past the last man standing among her six rivals, former finance minister Travis Toews.

The final count generated by the 84,593 ballots cast by UCP members, announced by chief party returning officer Rick Orman, was 53.77 per cent for Ms. Smith, compared to 46.23 per cent for Mr. Toews. 

Well, 53.77 per cent is better than 51.4 per cent – the number of “yes” votes cast for Premier Jason Kenney in his UCP leadership review vote counted last May. 

UCP chief returning officer Rick Orman (Photo: Screenshot of UCP livestream).

You can say, of course, that Mr. Kenney was only running against his own record last spring and Ms. Smith had tougher competition. 

You could also argue that the similar difference between Mr. Kenney’s no and yes votes, and between Mr. Toews’s numbers and Ms. Smith’s, roughly illustrate the divide in the party between the new leader’s extremist supporters and the party’s more traditional members. 

Then again, Mr. Toews succumbed to the temptation to advocate milder forms of many of the same bad ideas pushed by Ms. Smith, so perhaps the rift isn’t as deep as it seems from this perspective. Time will tell, and probably not that much of it will be required.

Still, the question must be asked: Can Ms. Smith bind those two groups together long enough to fight and win another election against an energized and disciplined NDP led by Rachel Notley?

As has been said in this space before, she has neither the temperament nor the right ideology to lead a big-tent party for long.

A few balloons followed by a modest sprinkling of confetti marked Ms. Smith’s victory (Photo: Screenshot of UCP livestream).

So as political blogger Dave Cournoyer observed in his hot take on the vote last night, Ms. Smith’s victory is “the political comeback story of the year, one that might only be surpassed by Rachel Notley if she is able to lead the NDP back into power in next year’s election.”

But if you are hoping Ms. Smith won’t be able to get her worst ideas past her divided caucus in her first weeks as leader, that is probably too much to ask.

Her victory speech gave few hints of compromise. Indeed, it appeared to have been written for a more convincing first or second-ballot victory. 

And her caucus members’ instincts for now will be to stay in her good graces and pray she doesn’t alienate general election voters who polling suggests would prefer her to talk about health care and the economy rather than picking fights with Ottawa and dismantling Alberta Health Services. 

Ms. Smith’s triumphant first words: “I’m back!”

“No longer will Alberta ask permission from Ottawa to be prosperous and free,” she continued, setting the tone for her speech. 

“We will not have our voices silenced and censored. We will not be told what we must put in our bodies in order to work or to travel. We will not have our resources landlocked or our energy phased out of existence by virtue-signalling prime ministers.

“Albertans, not Ottawa, will chart our own destiny on our own terms. …”

That destiny includes, judging from her speech, a fantasy future in which fossil fuels are again the energy source of choice for a warming world. 

As for her call for the party now to come together – “unity is not a talking point; it is an action; it is something you practice, rather than preach” – it remains to be seen how that works out. 

But no matter what Ms. Smith says about unity, 53.77 per cent in a party vote by a tiny percentage of the province’s electorate is no resounding mandate to pursue the kind of radical change she promised throughout her campaign. 

But with former Wildrose House leader Rob Anderson doubtless bound for a senior position in her office, and the likes of separation advocate Barry Cooper whispering in her ear, the smart money’s on her trying anyway to gin up the manufactured crisis her “Sovereignty Act” is intended to create. 

Well, thanks to the price of oil, at least she’ll have lots of money to cushion the province from the economic and political consequences of such mischief. 

As for some of the others in the race, well, Ms. Smith told her campaign ally Todd Loewen, banished to the Independent benches by Mr. Kenney in May 2021, that he will be welcome back to caucus this morning. And she made it sound as if Rebecca Schulz has a place in her cabinet. 

But Brian Jean, the man who made the resignation of Premier Kenney possible if not inevitable? Not much for him but about as many kind words as Ms. Smith had for Premier Kenney. That is to say, a few. 

Now, it’s bound to be observed that when she is sworn in, Ms. Smith will be a premier without a seat in the Legislature. 

However, she will not be the first Alberta premier sworn in without a seat in the House. There have been at least four before her: Herbert Greenfield, the first United Farmers of Alberta premier, in 1921; Social Credit’s William Aberhart in 1935; Progressive Conservative Don Getty, in both 1985 and 1989; and PC Jim Prentice, for six weeks before he won a seat in 2014.

This will be no problem unless Ms. Smith waits longer than the traditional three to four months given by Parliamentary convention to win a seat in a by-election.

NOTE: The penultimate paragraph of this story has been edited, twice, to reflect the actual number of Alberta premiers who served for a spell without a seat in the Legislature. DJC

Join the Conversation


  1. Once again, Albertans prove how stupid they really are, by supporting these pretend conservatives and Reformers. They have a hard time learning from the past, with premiers, such as Ralph Klein, and the former head honcho of the UCP. Peter Lougheed had warnings about Reformers and the damage they cause, but people refused to listen to what he said. As if the UCP haven’t done enough damage in the over three and a half years they have been in office, the damage that Danielle Smith will do is going to be worse. I don’t like using foul language on here, because I don’t think it’s appropriate. I’d rather keep my language family friendly. Our electoral system is bleep bleep, if this is how someone becomes premier of Alberta. There still is light at the end of the tunnel. Since Danielle Smith has a proven knack for saying things that are not sensible, doesn’t control the nut bars in her domain, has done things that betrayed the electorate who voted for her, and has ideas that will cause harm, I don’t think she is going to endure past next May, of 2023, or whenever the next provincial election will be held. Until then, many in Alberta will be suffering. Public healthcare, public education, pensions, seniors assistance, and social programs will be compromised. Corporate tax rates, and oil royalty rates would be cut even further than the very poor levels they are now, causing Alberta to have even less revenue, and no parachute for when oil prices come tumbling down again. These are things that Ralph Klein also made a mess of, when he was premier of Alberta, and we weren’t better off, because of it. When the next provincial election in Alberta is held, Rachel Notley will easily take Danielle Smith down in the election debate, and come back into power, where she belongs. Danielle Smith will have to find some other career path, outside of politics, public school trustee, and radio talk show host. Postmedia newspapers, such as The Sun, will still try to prop up Danielle Smith, but that still won’t help.

    1. So disappointed that a minority few cons are able to vote for a person who will be Premier, even for a few months. She can cause lots of damage with her hare-brained, right-wing ideas. Looking forward to the next Alberta election, this is the beginning of the downfall of Conservatives in Alberta.

  2. Now Danielle Smith can carry on in the reverse Robbin’ Hood role of her predecessor: taking dollars and cents from AISH recipients and post-secondary students in order to hand over millions and billions to needy large corporate welfare recipients, much within the past few days. Then it’s on to tearing apart our Canada Pension in order to have more money for those large corporations, which are bottomless pits of need. Pennywise, pound foolish. Plus the ASA.

    The 45,700 UCP members who backed Smith are in charge of this province now. It’s hard to say if we’ll end up in the same boat as the UK or Italy. The 1.9 percent have spoken. This is Danielle Smith’s mandate to move ahead with her agenda of tearing down this province and rebuilding it in her own vision. This is the winter of our discontent.

  3. Danielle Smith’s supporters comprise a cult, given their apparent beliefs in quack cures, anti-science propaganda, AB sovereignty, etc. She herself is a gullible cult follower who has swallowed whole the worst ideas that are floating around on the Internet about science, medicine, governance, economics, and other areas where a sensible leader would defer to authoritative experts, not the raving nut jobs she appears to listen to instead. I suppose to comparisons to the whack-a-doodle British PM, Liz Truss, are inevitable. Fortunately, she has only slightly more charisma than the robotic Liz Truss, which is a low bar indeed.

    A politician’s main job is to get elected and to stay elected; a leader also must ensure that their party is elected and remains in power. Whether she is capable of accurately gauging the tolerance of voters for the wholesale alteration of health care, education, and other public services when it directly affects them is an open question at this point. I am not sure that Danielle Smith has the political discipline or savvy to prevent herself from going too far with many voters, thus endangering the UCP’s chances for electoral success. Given the UCP’s recent history of eating their own, this is a dangerous position to occupy.

    The main problem for the UCP and her right now is that she is a true believer who will not be easily turned away from her deeply held crackpot ideas. She is, importantly, not popular outside of her base. Given the apparent self-deception that plagues many leaders thrust to power by chance rather than by inherit merit, she won’t be able to recognize, cope with, or reverse the visceral antipathy many voters have for her already and that is likely to increase in the coming days, weeks, and months. If she were to end up more reviled than Bumbles, I would not be surprised.

    I know I should be deeply concerned and thinking about getting the house ready for a sale so that we can leave for BC at the earliest possible opportunity. This concern is tempered by the fact that Danielle Smith has, because of her poor judgement, crashed and burned before. She will do a lot of damage before she is ousted by the party that elevated her or the general electorate. If she follows through on some of her dangerous promises, that might happen sooner rather than later. The sooner it happens, the sooner the damage is mitigated. Let’s hope we can return to a period of sensible, normal politics, where dangerous crackpot ideas are not on the ballot, sometime soon. This being Alberta, I won’t hold my breath. But there is hope.

  4. Smith will be good for Alberta and Albertans, as long as the left doesn’t fully obstruct everything she tries to do like a bunch of toddlers that didn’t get their way. Smith is OUR leader, for now, so we might as well work with it. God knows there’s things to fix. I’m eager to give her a shot, and if she fails at everything, then we kick her out and give someone else a try (I’d prefer a NEW face, since Notley already had her chance and didn’t exactly leave Berta in great shape).

    1. How can the “left” obstruct anything she wants to do at all? Her party has the majority. Notley did a fantastic job, having inherited a pile of manure from the PC’s… poor oil prices, chronic mismanagement. Then Kenney came along and convinced you that black was white and up was down and Alberta could never survive a left-wing leadership—the NDP were clearly an aberration, a mistake of fate. The UCP have been an unmitigated disaster, p*ssing away billions of dollars of taxpayer money on boondoggles: war rooms, pipelines to nowhere, AIMCO. Senseless fights with doctors, nurses and teachers meant to disrupt our public health care and education systems so you’d believe they were failing anyway, and be ready for the suppository of privatization.
      Now read up on what Danielle Smith plans to do, and answer this question: is it meant to fix anything, or is it just more of what Kenney did, only bigger and faster and worse?

      1. Look, the status quo (read: Kenney AND Notley AND EVERYTHING) is NOT working. Privatization might be scary to the left but a blank cheque for healthcare is terrifying to the right (and Trudeau, who vowed no more $ unless he sees “results”). And your lil minority CAN obstruct by protesting, blocking or whipping up fear in the media. Give Smith a REAL chance before you hang her, I beg of you. Alberta, and Canada, need to change things up or see our quality of life be destroyed.

        1. “Quality of Life” was destroyed by neo-liberalism, an ideology held tight by conservatives (and liberals and even some social democrats) since the Thatcher years in the UK. Smith is an ardent follower of this discredited ideology and its bastard child ‘trickle-down economics’. If anything, you should be wary of this Ayn Rand-Fredrich Hayek inspired nonsense. The evidence is in: it doesn’t work.

          1. You are mistaken. Neoliberalism works extremely well. It is a program designed to make rich people richer and to make poor people poorer. And it achieves those ends quite consistently.
            There is a civil war among the Owners currently as the new data-driven digital economy snuffs out the old consumer-dependent manufacturing one. We’re pretty much like indigenous folks whose entire relationship to existence was altered by their introduction to Whitey. No idea what is about to land on us. As this excruciating process picks up pace, it’s going to be amusing to see the likes of the super-odious Skippy take the reins in Ottawa while super-kook Smith tries to sell policies that are entirely rooted in quackery and hucksterism. But I can’t say that we don’t deserve both of these beauties.
            “Excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta, Canada…
            Conclusions: There was a significant increase in all-cause mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although older adults are more likely to die of COVID-19, a massive increase in non-COVID-19-related mortality was observed among younger people. These factors should be considered in public policy decisions on epidemic/pandemic management.”

        2. I’ve listened to Smith on her radio. I know what she stands for. She doesn’t deserve a chance, especially not with this backdoor she’s exploited into our government.

        3. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Do you really think you can change the minds of the insane?

          1. Bret Larson: Of course not. It’s why no one here expects to be able to change your mind. (I mean really, if you’re gonna lob a softball over the middle of the plate…)

    2. Happy with Smith: Rachel Notley was left (that use of the word left is used, because she was centre leaning) with very low oil prices, which slid down, in 2014, when she wasn’t in power, and at least 25 years of constant very pricey shenanigans, which cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, essential services that were damaged, from cuts, along with a hefty repair bill for infrastructure that wasn’t properly tended to for the same amount of time, by the Alberta PCs. It’s absolutely foolish to believe that Rachel Notley is responsible for something that she had nothing to do with. The UCP have also done very pricey shenanigans, which cost Alberta a lot of money, and were messing with essential services. Danielle Smith will do even more damage, for the short time she is premier. It’s absolutely ridiculous to blame someone else for this.

  5. Time will tell if Danielle creates the same car crash that is on-going in Britain. Not just this most recent fandango, with Liz.

  6. My favourite part of Ms. Smith’s acceptance speech was when she blamed Rachel Notley for a global inflation situation. If only Notley would stand up to Mr. Singh all of our inflation woes would be solved! Who knew it was so simple!

    My second favourite part was how Alberta, under her leadership, is going to provide inexpensive and abundant energy to THE WHOLE WORLD and also probably end world hunger. Again, who knew such intractable issues as global energy supply and food security were 44,000 UCP party votes away from a solution?

    And my third favourite part was when she warned all Canadians to stay the hell out of Alberta’s business because we’re going to chart our own course without any compromise, and then invited all Canadians to work with Alberta, as if working together doesn’t require any compromise at all from her/Alberta.

    1. The NDP / Liberal alliance expanded the money supply, thus creating inflation in Canada:

      Notleys NDP is the same party as the federal party.

      You usually blame the ones in power for poor governance.

      The irony is that the NDP say they care about disadvantaged people. Then they create inflation which targets disadvantaged people.

      The only way to help disadvantaged people is the create the environment for opportunity. People seeing opportunity and working hard to achieve it is the only way out.

      Government handouts achieve the opposite result, they disincentive productive work.

      1. You probably aren’t aware that the entire world has inflation right now. Some authoritarian nations like China and Saudi Arabia have lower inflation than other countries. Therefore, is the cure for inflation electing an authoritarian regime?

        You probably also weren’t aware that the UCP have been in power as a majority government for the past three years. Any blame for the current inflation situation in Alberta is theirs to own. How do you manage to overlook the fact that the UCP has held a majority since inflation started growing? Maybe blame the stocker at the grocery store for it all?

        You seem to share Daniel Smith’s version of Alberta: Corporations are gods, and they hold the key to solving climate change and poverty. If so, why haven’t they solved these problems by now? Profit over people?

        I’d bet you can’t wait to kick pensioners to the curb in the middle of a blizzard. After all, anyone over age 82 should shut up and die, already. Wasn’t that the past and present view of the UCP, during and post- Kenney?

        If only Alberta had just large corporations and no people, surely Alberta would be the utopian corporatocracy you seek. Now how do you get rid of all the people?

        1. Its pretty clear from your comments, you know nothing about me, or even how we have gotten to this juncture.

          Canadian inflation is on the Liberals and NDP. They are the ones who increased spending, even if the UCP were in power in Alberta.

          As to your slag on companies. You think most would understand that everyone in Alberta depends on Oil and Gas to pay for their government services. The pay down on the NDP debt that happened this year should have made that clear at the very least.

          Your understanding of economics is a little shaky too. There not some vault with all the services and commodities people will need for retirement.

          The supply of those services and commodities will be provided by working people at the time you require them. Which means its really important to get people working in an efficient fashion. You know, like what companies do. Thats why all governments “incentivize” companies to work in their jurisdictions.

          Speaking of the goods and services, as above, their cost is based on how many dollars is chasing them. The federal government increasing the money supply is increasing one side without an increase on the other side.

          And now we are back to the start.

      2. That argument only holds water if you ignore a bunch of facts that argue against it. Inflation is up globally and in fact Canada is experiencing lower inflation than many countries like the U.K., which also happens to have a conservative government at the moment. Also, blaming increased demand from all that “free” money doesn’t take into consideration the global shortages in everything from F-150s (caused by microprocessor and blue Ford oval shortages) to turkeys (caused by avian flu). Money supply is certainly a piece of the puzzle but only a small one, and the federal NDP’s role in that money supply issue is an even tinier piece, and so on.

      3. Inflation is caused by the war on Ukraine, supply chain problems and mostly large corporations jacking up prices. So I don’t think it’s on Notley or Singh to blame for causing inflation. But governments can tax large corporations for sure. I’m sure you’re happy Singh forced the Liberals to get an interim dentalcare program for children. That’s helping those most affected by inflation.

      4. Bret Larson: Rachel Notley, Jagmeet Singh, and Justin Trudeau aren’t in power in other countries, where inflation is worse than Canada’s. As far as I know, the UCP are in power here in Alberta, and guess what? Alberta has the highest rate of inflation in the entire country. We’ve actually held that position for a long time. Peter Lougheed mentioned this matter, in 2008, when the Alberta PCs, and their federal counterparts, the CPC, were in power. So, were the Alberta PCs and the CPC responsible for the very high inflation rates in Alberta during that time? Even in 2002, Alberta had the highest rate of inflation in Canada. Rachel Notley, Jagmeet Singh, and Justin Trudeau weren’t in power then either.

  7. David,
    I loved your prescient line in the preceding column about Alberta’s “Liz Truss moment.” Certainly both women inherit similar dog’s breakfasts of cabinet material and caucus solidarity.

    Regarding the penultimate paragraph today, you omitted Don Getty. He actually became premier twice without a seat in the Legislature–in 1985 after winning the PC leadership and after the (premature) 1989 election when he failed to win in Edmonton-Whitemud. In both cases, loyal MLAs resigned immediately to allow Getty to win quick by-elections.

    1. Thank you Bob. I have corrected the penultimate graph. Mildly embarrassing, but, hey, I was still finishing it up at 1 a.m. DJC

  8. Yes, Smith is back as she said herself. This reminds us of her debacles from before and makes us think of those that may be in the future. It is not a great tone to set for the start of her new leadership, but as usual Smith has her own way of doing things.

    She seemed to start speaking hesitantly, uncharacteristaclly cautiously, likely she was expecting a more convincing victory than the narrow grinding six ballot one. It it hard not to notice the similarity between her final percentage and that of Kenney’s leadership review. They are very close in the low 50% percent range. Of course, Smith initially started off in the low 40% range and even with the addition of some Loewen second choices, did not quickly or easily get over 50%.

    I didn’t watch her whole speech, but did not see any convincing show of party unity. The former leader was not there and the strong second place candidate seems to have left the building too. Party officials even seemed oddly subdued, like they were going through the motions and maybe in shock like someone braced for a crash. It was not that celebratory for what should have been a celebratory occasion.

    I suspect more words will be said about unity, over the next few days and weeks, but I get the sense no one but Smith supporters are that enthusiastic about her ideas. Sure, some others will stick around, maybe out of loyalty to the party or to get a nice cabinet job, but it will take more than that to bridge the divides in the UCP. Kenney with considerably more political experience couldn’t do it. I doubt Smith has the temperament to do so either.

  9. Whose comfort are you talking about?

    And it wasnt narrow, even with all of the UCP fear mongering and NDP shilling the business as usual camp did not win.

    Any margin is a large margin when you have the woke mob whispering their poison into peoples ears.

    Reminds me of a bible reference:
    Psalm 94:1-3
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    This women decided to stand up and do something, and it worked well. And it will be good for all Albertans.

    1. Hosea 8:7
      For they sew the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.
      Matthew 12:34
      Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
      Let’s quote bible verses on the drive to the ” Lake of Fire” and to prove that “our side” has been annointed by God.

      1. Ayeamaye & Bret:

        Since this is turning into a Bible study, let’s consider the God’s position on the development of bitumen. For some reason it is not well known that the famous towns of Sodom and Gomorrah were in fact oilsands extraction centres. I have long suspected that this stuff about the sexual exploitation of angels – I mean, how likely is that really? – is just a cover story for the real reason God destroyed S&G. “Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country.” Genesis 14:10. DJC

        1. I agree, a discussion of the end of times is probably relevant.

          It is the only rational I can see for the current progressive agenda. The fear of the end of times has always motivated such cults.

          I have no such fear however.

          My comment on the bible quote is below. Its a good piece of literature. I dont need to parse where the inspiration for writing it came from. I believe people can make up their own minds on such things.

      2. Whatsoever is it for a person to profit the world,but lose their own soul
        Mark 8:36.
        *N.B. Gender Neutral

    2. Be civil and keep God out of this. She’s an opportunist who saw a lot of whiny, entitled Albertans she could take advantage of, not a hero. She has no principles. But if you need prayer to comfort your conscience, go ahead.
      You’re denying the facts. She was elected by less than 2% of Alberta, doesn’t have a seat in the legislature, and winning on the 6th round means those final members who “voted” for her to give her the win didn’t read the fine print on the ballot that said “you don’t have to rank all the candidates.”

      1. I never brought god into, why are you?

        After all, I assume you think the bible was written by humans. Humans with lots of wisdom and facile with a good turn of phrase.

        As to DS, I have listened to her many times and I have observed how she has comported herself for over ten years.

        I have come to the opposite conclusion then you have.

        For instance, I think I saw one of the moments she decided to press for the UCP top job in Edmonton at the start of all of this. I didnt think she sounded like she wanted to do it for the first portion of her presentation, and she slowly came to terms with putting her hand on the element again.

        And last night in her acceptance speech she confirmed why that might be so.

        Did you listen to either?

        Doesn’t sound like it to me.

        Oh, in the GOTV phone calls I talked to a 97 year old man who was voting for Danielle. Very nice discussion for about 20 minutes. I told him how to stream the Oilers game.

        He provided his opinion on her and why he was voting for her.

        I think I will retain my opinion on her suitability, unless you have a similar anecdotes you’d like to share.

          1. You want some? I just went to a funeral for a 24 year old i coached 7 or so seasons. It’s could have been all sorrow and recriminations however it turned into life affirming and hopeful. Such is the power of belief.

        1. Well, Bret, we certainly hold opposing opinions on DS.
          I have some great anecdotes!
          “Wildrose leader apologizes for XL beef tweet” re: idea of giving e coli-tainted beef to homeless.

          “Hydroxychloroquine cures 100 per cent of coronavirus patients within six days of treatment” (not to mention promoting ivermectin for the same purpose)

          She agreed with a naturopath that they are better than mainstrem doctors at dealing with prevention, which is patently false, and then “Once you’ve arrived and got Stage 4 cancer, and there’s radiation and surgery and chemotherapy, that’s an incredibly expensive intervention — not just for the system but also expensive in the toll it takes on the body. I think about everything that built before you got to Stage 4 and that diagnosis, that’s completely within your control and there is something you can do about that that is different.”
          “How about we go the other way? Maybe every independent school needs to be fully funded and we need to phase out every government-run, union-controlled public school more interested in indoctrinating students than teaching them critical-thinking skills.” Re: public education

          Re: my comment about God, I find your statement hollow, given you directly quoted the bible. I have one that applies here, too: Mark 8:33, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” You’ve given in to DS’s temptation. And Jeremiah 13:23 (paraphrased in a less racist-sounding manner) “A leopard never changes their spots.”
          For all of those who voted in this leadership election, and for those about to in Medicine Hat/Brooks:
          “There’s a sucker born every minute” (attributed to P.T. Barnum, whether he ever said it or not).

          1. Laugh, I don’t see one personal anecdote. As to her acquiescence to discussing non woke strategies. If you don’t draw people out you don’t know where they are coming from. She does a good job at getting the best argument for crazy things. I can only look on in admiration with my own attempts here.

    3. Brett, it was a slim majority and even less when calculated on the total number of votes cast.
      In any case, Danielle Smith managed to get herself elected with barely 1% of Albertan’s casting a vote in her favour. That is far from a plurality never mind a majority.

    4. Bret Larson: Since you are keen to quote Scripture, you might want to look at what the Bible says about helping the poor, and how a king was punished by God for not doing that. Look no further than what the UCP, as well as Ralph Klein did in that area, to people on AISH, as an example.

  10. Approximately 45,486 people voted for her to be the Premier of Alberta. That is such a small plurality that Trudeau can just ignore her and her unpatriotic fuming. If the anti Ottawa people did not like being ignored before, they are in for an unhappy future.

    1. So, the Liberals can just ignore Canadians if they can buy the votes they need elsewhere to stay in power?

      Very succinct, that opinion is exactly why DS is now the Premier.

      1. Well, I am for electoral reform, but 1% of the population setting the trend for Alberta (let alone Canada and Confederation) is something called “the tail wagging the dog,” and isn’t really a virtue…

  11. Thank you as always DC. I would note that it’s not just the narrow margin, but the fact that Ms Smith had to rely on the votes of party members for whom she was the third, fourth, fifth or sixth choice to eke out the win. Not exactly united.

  12. So, there you have it folks, 53.77 % of 50,000 who voted. That’s 26,885 crazy terrorist truckers, gun nuts, secessionist, religious fanatics, anti-gay, anti maskers, anti vaxxer nuts. In other words, the lunatic fringe have succeeded in imposing their version of a premier on the rest of the 99% of Albertans (4.4 million souls).

    Is that democracy? I guess, if you live in Alberta, it is. Oh, correct me if my numbers are wrong.

  13. According to Trevor Toombs: @trevortombe

    The actual numbers are:

    100*42423/(42423+36480+5690) = 50.15%. So, it’s only 42,423 people who voted for Smith, if those are actual real ballots, and the percentage isn’t 53.77, but a mere 50.15%.

    That “42,423 people” if that, get to dictate what 4.4 million people do in Alberta for the next 8 months. Welcome to Batshit Alberta

    As always, I am open to being corrected.

    1. I plugged the actual vote totals for each candidate in each round — as published by the UCP — into a Numbers spreadsheet, and did a few basic calculations. Each round of vote counting & preferential ballot redistribution, Smith’s share of the vote grew less than that of any other candidate — with the sole exception of the fourth ballot, after Todd Loewen was dropped, in which her share increased by 9.7%, but Brian Jean’s grew by 10.8%.

      By the time of the sixth & final ballot, her vote share had grown by a total of 21.4% from the first ballot — but Toews’ has grown by more than double that percentage: 46.9%.

      The total number of votes counted also diminished somewhat in each round, presumably because some voters had not marked preferences for the full slate; by the sixth & final ballot, the total was only 78,903, as against 84,593 first-ballot votes counted — a 6.7% reduction.

      My inference from this is that while Smith started out in first place, and stayed there throughout, there was a significant streak of “anybody but Dani” sentiment in the UCP’s voter base, although not quite enough to beat her. It leads one to question how “United” the UCP truly is. It’s quite a different scenario than we saw unfold in the federal Conservative Party last month, when PP won handily on the first ballot.

  14. So if kakistocracy is government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state; what is government by the paranoid schizophrenic ?
    After… what?… almost 50 years of continuous abuse and mismanagement of Albertas’ resources and economy by conservatives it is magically the evil coalition of federal liberal and NDPs fault forgetting of course that the UCP is a united coalition of wildrose and standard alta-cons.
    Albertas’ recent economic upswing has in some circles been attributed to the fact of Kenney no longer being in charge. I’m betting that tiny advantage just disappeared.
    So fun times. Just didn’t think that political refugee was ever a possibility for my bucket list.

  15. To my mind there is no way a un elected individual becomes the leader of the governing party.No way. Yes I know the rules allow it but it sure doesn’t feel very democratic. Smith should have run for a seat in the upcoming election, won a seat and then run for the leadership. There were enough elected UCP MLA’s running. The UCP could have disqualified any un-elected persons from running. Easy.

    1. Power at any cost.
      It’s JT’s failing too: he promised electoral reform, and then dropped it like a hot rock when he got in.
      We need a law that forces a general election the minute leadership changes in the governing party. But no sane politician will advance that bill, because it might mean they’d lose out one day.

  16. Since there’s no other party to cross the floor to, Danielle’s really done it now.

    And other the rumours about Kenney’s supposed personal trip to London to meet ER2’s last remains is surrounded in mystery and speculation. Going with the fact that Rona “Rosa” Ambrose, who has been touted as an Alberta premier-in-waiting, scored a sweet gig when she assisted Chrystia Freeland during the New NAFTA talks. From that success, Ambrose moved on to become Canada’s trade representative in Washington, DC. Nice. There have been minds that have looked at Kenney’s visit to London through a similar lens and have come up with some delightful conclusions. Was Kenney really there to meet the current High Commissioner to the UK, and former Liberal cabinet minister, The Hon. Ralph Goodale for some special reason? Kenney once worked as Goodale’s assistant when he was leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, so the association and the rumour is easily hooked. Kenney immediately took to Twitter to distract from any rumours that he is maybe taking a Liberal government appointment, c/o PMJT. All this really does is further cement the notion that the Kenney Year’s in Alberta were a Trojan Horse to destroy Alberta from with, and Trudeau is an unrivalled mastermind of the first order. And nice hair, too.

  17. And here we go again. Jason Kenney riled ‘em up, Danielle Smith will lead ‘em to the Promised Land. I can hardly wait to see how the latest far-right sock puppet “leader” will ignore reality on her way to the greater glory of Queen Dannie. I wonder if the Free Alberta Strategy cabal has finished the first draft of their Alberta Sovereignty Act? (I wonder how often government lawyers will repeat, “No, you can’t do that in Canada”?)

    Jason Markusoff of CBC has summarized Smith’s return to power. Honestly, I couldn’t force myself to finish reading it. But pay particular attention to the section called “’Danielle, you have no crazy radar’”:

    History repeats, first as tragedy, then as farce—or worse. Danielle Smith, the Queen of Crazy, will govern Oilberduh in the name of people just as ignorant, credulous, and stubborn as she is. Yay.

  18. So, now that Michaela Frey has given up her seat in Brooks-Medicine Hat….for Danielle to run in, will she???

    1. Randi-Lee: Yes, that’s what I’m hearing. And she will win in a landslide, wiping out any credibility the Alberta Party’s Barry Morishita might have had, unless he decides not to run. DJC

  19. Midst some fascinating parsing of the numbers and incisive characterizations of this next chapter in the story of the Canadian partisan right it seems clear now that to the definition of that elite rank above 99% of the population and membership in an outlaw biker gang, Danielle Smith’s slimly endorsed acquisition of the Alberta premiership adds one more meaning to being a “one-percenter.”

    I was going to add “rule by the worst” but lungta beat me to it.

    Once again the best place to view the brightest falling star is anywhere in the great province of Alberta as it glows more and more brilliantly in descent over the next several months.

    If you can’t look away, my friends, do consider wearing protective goggles.

  20. Seems to me that it is a very poor result for Smith and for the UCP.

    53 percent on the 6th ballot?? About 2 points more than Kenney.

    Signals to me that the UCP is a very, very divided party.

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