UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith likens Alberta standing up to Ottawa as standing up to a bully.
“The only way to treat a bully is to punch back and Ottawa has been a bully. You look at where Quebec is at. Quebec isn’t sitting there cowering and worried that their aerospace industry is going to be shut down or face special taxes, because Ottawa wouldn’t dare. They wouldn’t dare shut down their cement industry, they wouldn’t dare shut down their aluminum business. They wouldn’t dare put emissions taxes on all the methane emissions coming from hydroelectric power and all the rotting foliage that happens when you flood out that landscape. Because Quebec has asserted itself as we should.”
The nomination candidate for the UCP leadership wants Alberta to be a senior player in confederation. She says Ottawa is trying to shut down the oil and gas sector and as well agriculture by reducing fertilizer usage.
Her critics have chided her proposal of a Sovereignty Act to buttress Alberta’s leadership in confederation. That was again brought up at the recent candidates forum in Vermilion.
On the main stage, MLA Brian Jean referenced Smith’s crossing of the floor in 2014 to join the Tories, who went on to lose to the NDP in the spring vote. Smith again called that move an error in judgement. That chapter saw Smith as leader of the Wildrose Party and 10 MLAs joining Prentice’s conservatives.
With her political fortunes back in play she says she wants to be the next premier of
Alberta as there is a lot of work to do.
“The main thing that I think we need to do is elect somebody who is going to stand up to Ottawa. We have tried for years to placate, to negotiate, challenge through the courts and be reasonable. And every single time we have been kicked in the teeth. I think it’s time for us to draw a hard line. I have been watching for some time, the fact that Quebec just has managed to assert itself and its rights under the constitution.”
Smith says she’s not walking away from confederation. She’s intent on creating a stronger federation by operating as the founders intended as she points to sections 92 though 95 of the constitution.
The UCP leadership hopefuls will know their fate on October 6th when the party makes its decision.