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Commentary: Two leaders, two visions

Premier intends to continue pushing for divisive sovereignty act while leader of the Opposition more focused on affordability for Alberta families

With Premier Danielle Smith and NDP Opposition leader Rachel Notley gearing up their respective parties for the spring 2023 provincial election, what promises to be a very bitter fight is already underway.

The recent TV address by Premier Smith, in which she outlined some of her plans and goals, and Notley’s response to Smith’s declarations, highlights the differences in the leaders’ approach to guiding the province forward.

For her part, Smith reiterated that one of her main goals in the coming days will be remaking Alberta’s relationship with the federal government.

“The federal government’s treatment of all provinces, most especially Alberta, is unacceptable,” said Smith.

“The government in Ottawa is intentionally and systematically attempting to control and regulate all aspects of our province’s economy, resources and social programs. Through equalizations and transfers, they funnel billions of dollars away from you and into a black hole of federal bureaucracy and vote-buying arrangements in other parts of the county.”

Smith says the UCP will soon introduce the Alberta Sovereignty Within A United Canada Act creating what she calls a “constitutional shield for Albertans.”

For her part, Notley says Albertans should welcome the opportunity to kick the one-term UCP government out of office next spring.

“The final six months of this UCP government are going to be tough,” said Notley. “Smith and the UCP have been sowing chaos in our hospitals, ambulances, and doctors’ offices. In recent months, Danielle Smith has argued with deep conviction that she believes Albertans should have to pay out of pocket for even the most basic healthcare like visiting your family doctor. That is wrong.

“We’ll take action on the things you don’t have a choice about paying for, like groceries, utilities, insurance, gasoline, tuition, and housing.”

Although it will be a few months yet before individual candidates hit the campaign trails in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House, and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, the leaders of the two main parties are already staking their positions and starting to battle.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.

Dan Singleton

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