Newly Re-Elected Alberta Premier Danielle Smith Plans Edmonton Council of Candidates

Newly Re-Elected Alberta Premier Danielle Smith Plans Edmonton Council of Candidates
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith meets with members of the military in Edmonton who are on standby to help with the wildfires before she gave an update on the situation in Alberta on May 8, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Jason Franson)
Marnie Cathcart

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith plans to create an Edmonton council of candidates to provide her with advice on the province's capital, given that the city now has no elected United Conservative Party (UCP) MLAs, after Kaycee Madu lost the party's single Edmonton seat in the May 29 election.

During a May 30 interview with 630 CHED host Shaye Ganam, Smith was asked how she would ensure Edmonton is not overlooked.

“I've already thought about that,” said Smith. “I'm going to put together an Edmonton council of some of the candidates who I know are going to want to run again.”

The re-elected premier said there are “a couple of fantastic candidates, many in fact in Edmonton. Some got a lot closer than I think anybody ever would have expected.”

She said she will rely on those candidates to continue giving her advice, stating that Edmonton as the provincial capital is “vitally important to the overall success of Alberta.”

Smith said that while the legislature is in session, she spends a great deal of time in Edmonton. “We've got a lot of investment that we need to do.” She said the government needs to give the capital city “a lot of support” to allow Edmonton to address its “public disorder and mental health and addictions crisis.”

“I will have a good, strong team of advisers making sure that nothing gets missed in Edmonton,” Smith said.

She also spoke of her plan to put together a new cabinet following her election victory, and said that while there were some good people who would not be returning to caucus, she felt there was a good mix of MLAs with four or more years experience in the legislature already, plus “some brand new faces” to be excited about.

With a caucus of 49, said Smith, “there is going to be a lot of talent to choose from.” She said she will be meeting one on one with newly elected UCP members in the days ahead to build her cabinet based on what they are passionate about.
“We'll see if we can get a right fit for them to be doing something meaningful. And I'll be able to announce my cabinet very soon after that,” she said.

Mayor  ‘Ready and Willing to Assist’

Albertans' priorities are protecting our economy and protecting what makes this place so special, which is a destination for entrepreneurship and free enterprise, said Smith.
There are a number of re-elected UCP MLAs from the "donut" surrounding Edmonton, including Nate Glubish, representing Strathcona-Sherwood Park. He told Global News on May 30 that he was born in Edmonton, a city with more than one million residents. "I spend a ton of my life there and I am here to work with some of my colleagues outside the UCP to ensure that Edmonton still has a voice within the government,” Glubish said.

In the Edmonton riding of Decore, which was the city's closest race, UCP candidate Sayid Ahmed received 41 percent of the vote, losing by roughly 11 percentage points to NDP candidate Sharif Haji's 52 percent.

In a congratulatory message to Danielle Smith on May 30, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said, “I look forward to building a collaborative and productive relationship with [Smith] and her new government to advance the interests and priorities of all Edmontonians.”

'While the election results show that Alberta’s capital city will have no representation in the UCP government, I truly hope that our new provincial government will govern for and represent all Albertans,” said Sohi.

The mayor said he was “ready and willing to assist” Smith in any way he could and would be requesting a meeting to discuss Edmonton's “top priorities,” including homelessness, mental health and substance abuse, and affordable housing.