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Danielle Smith sworn in as Alberta premier

By Joey Chini and The Canadian Press

Danielle Smith was sworn in as Alberta’s 19th premier Tuesday morning after winning the United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership race last week.

Smith was sworn into office by Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani in a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton.

Smith will also serve as intergovernmental affairs minister and plans to announce a revised cabinet on Oct. 21.

She replaces Jason Kenney as party leader and will remain premier until at least the next provincial election, set for May 29, 2023.

In her first remarks as premier, the 51-year-old former Wildrose Party leader promised to govern on core values of freedom, family, faith, community and free enterprise.

She also alluded that she would follow through on her promise to implement her proposed sovereignty act in Alberta.

“Albertans have been through so much over these last two and a half years, our rights and freedoms have been tested. I will ensure, as head of this government, that those rights and freedoms are protected and will never be taken for granted again,” Smith said.

“Together we will stand up to defend Albertans’ Charter rights as well as defend Alberta’s exclusive rights over our areas of provincial jurisdiction, which are enumerated clearly in Canada’s Constitution.”

Rob Anderson, Smith’s campaign chair for the UCP leadership race and now executive director of her transition team, told CBC in a story published Saturday that Smith’s proposed sovereignty act won’t empower Alberta to disregard Supreme Court rulings – a reversal of her core policy promise on how she would challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government.

But Anderson promised that the act, which has yet to be drafted, would “have a whole head of very sharp teeth” and “change the dynamic” with Trudeau’s Liberal government.

The act as proposed by Smith would allow the province to refuse to follow federal laws and court rulings it deemed to be not in Alberta’s best interests and an illegal intrusion into its duly delegated spheres of influence under the Constitution.

As recently as a month ago, Smith said the sovereignty act would only be used in special circumstances using “special motions” requiring the consent of the legislature.

She also stressed Alberta would not consider itself bound by the courts.


Smith also mentioned she would be focusing on the province’s mental health crisis, as well as taking care of seniors, children, and “those on our streets.”

Environmentally responsible energy solutions and food security are other issues she said she will address “swiftly” as premier.

“We have a long road ahead and lots of work to do but I’m certain Albertans’ best days are ahead,” Smith said. “I do not take these responsibilities lightly, and I will ensure I work every day to earn your trust.”

Meanwhile, Smith is still looking to win a seat in the Alberta legislature.

Smith announced she would run for MLA over the long weekend, foregoing the urban riding of Calgary-Elbow in favour of the rural riding of Brooks-Medicine Hat.

She’ll have to compete with two locals, one of whom is the former mayor of Brooks, and the other, a teacher in Medicine Hat’s education system for more than a decade.

Both candidates called Smith out for not living in the riding.

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