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Alberta UCP elects Danielle Smith as new leader

Alberta UCP elects Danielle Smith as new leader

She will be sworn in as Alberta’s new premier on Tuesday

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Danielle Smith will officially become Alberta’s next premier on Tuesday.

The ceremony is expected to begin around 11 a.m. local time.

Smith won the United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership on Oct. 6 and became Premier-designate with more than 53 per cent of the votes in the sixth round of preferential voting.

“Tonight marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Alberta story,” she said during her victory speech. “It is time for Alberta to take its place as a senior partner in building a strong and unified Canada.”

Outgoing Premier Jason Kenney announced his resignation in May after UCP members voted 51.4 per cent in support of his leadership.

The topic of unity emerged during the campaign as a key focus of whomever became the new UCP leader.

Alberta’s next general election is in May 2023, and a united party is necessary to help ensure a victory, said Nate Horner, Alberta’s minister of agriculture.

“I think the will is here. I can’t speak for everybody, but I think people realize that there is a real short runway to a general election,” he said, Drumheller Online reported. “We’ve been through a lot as a team, the province is in a great place, the economy is really set to take off leading the country in most metrics, but there's still a lot of work to do. I think everybody just wants the team to get together, focus on the task at hand, and prepare for what will be a very competitive election in the spring."

Horner may not be the minister of agriculture for much longer.

Smith is expected to name her cabinet on Oct. 21, and Horner endorsed Travis Toews for the UCP leadership.

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta welcomed the premier-designate.

“The RMA looks forward to working closely with Premier-designate Smith to address rural municipal priorities and ensure rural Alberta continues to be the province’s economic engine,” the organization said on Oct. 7. “The RMA has a strong relationship with the UCP and has worked closely with many current ministers and MLAs on important issues in recent years, and we look forward to continuing this collaborative relationship with Premier-designate Smith and her Cabinet.”

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