Analysis | The Risky Sovereignty of Danielle Smith
The promise of sovereignty legislation in a united Canada allowed Danielle Smith to become Prime Minister of the United States. Alberta. It is this same idea that could make him lose his job in six months.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's Alberta Sovereignty in a United Canada Bill is causing much controversy.
Thing promised, thing due: Danielle Smith delivered her famous sovereignty law to the Alberta conservative base.
If she balked at the idea of not enforcing the judgments of the Supreme Court on the merits, the Premier of Alberta gave activists the Ottawa-aggressive bill she sold them during the United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership race.
With her sovereignty law, Danielle Smith tries to succeed where Jason Kenney failed. If it was the management of the pandemic and the party that mainly sank the former Prime Minister, Conservative activists also criticized him for the lack of results obtained in his battles with Ottawa.
In the Conservative ranks, Jason Kenney was criticized for having failed with his referendum on equalization. A lesson learned by Danielle Smith; once installed in the Prime Minister's seat, she amplified the anti-Ottawa rhetoric to an unprecedented degree. of all voters in the province.
Whether it's energy, the environment or equalization, if Albertans have longstanding grievances with Ottawa, a gesture of rupture as extreme as the law on sovereignty is far from unanimous.
As renowned Calgary pollster Janet Brown reminded us during the leadership race, sovereignty and constitutional squabbling are high on Albertans' priority list in times of inflation and overflowing emergencies.
A former adviser to Jason Kenney, who requested anonymity to speak freely, warns that trying to satisfy the conservative base at all costs could have serious consequences for the PCU in the next election.
“If I was a Conservative MP from Calgary, I would be nervous. If the Smith government's message remains centered around the law, the chances of electoral success are not good. Frankly, if an election were held tomorrow, the NDP would have an excellent chance of winning.
— A conservative strategist
The place occupied by Danielle Smith's very first bill in the public space also overshadows other much more conventional government measures. Since the Sovereignty Act was tabled, pledges of $2.8 billion to fight inflation and help the most vulnerable have taken a back seat. Same thing for health reforms.
With her law, Danielle Smith sends the message that she is not so concerned about the priorities of Albertans, also recognizes this former adviser to Jason Kenney .
The lukewarm reception the Calgary business community has given to the Sovereignty Act is also not good news for a premier who says she is defending the economic interests of the province.
The dust will eventually settle and more down-to-earth issues will return to the agenda, but six months from the election, and with a party that is still trailing in the polls against the New Democratic Party (NDP) , Danielle Smith does not have the means to give all the space to a subject that both fascinates her activists and chills the average Albertan.
If Justin Trudeau has not ruled out federal participation in a possible legal challenge to the law, the Liberals know very well that the Alberta premier dreams of a confrontation and they want to avoid giving it to her at all costs.
Danielle Smith attacks Justin Trudeau as often as Rachel Notley [the leader of the Alberta opposition]. Listening to her, it looks like Justin Trudeau sits in Edmonton so often she talks about it! We are not going to give him this gift […] we will leave the debate to Albertans, illustrates a federal source who is not authorized to speak publicly.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to avoid open conflict with Alberta.
This same source recalls that with her law, Ms. Smith is responding to the demands of her activists, a section of the Alberta electorate that the Liberals will never conquer. Danielle Smith was elected by a very small number of Albertans in the leadership race and she is speaking to an electorate that is clearly not ours. It is simply not to our advantage to get involved, adds this same interlocutor in Ottawa.
And with an election on the horizon, things could well change, recalls this source: We will see in six months what Albertans have chosen.
Christmas may be approaching, but the Trudeau government has no intention of giving gifts to Danielle Smith.