Danielle Smith as Alberta premier: the next Ralph Klein or just a flash in the pan?

Critics suggest Premier Smith has backed off of some key promises, while her backers point towards her maintaining or even growing the party's support in the province. Adam Soos asks a dozen UCP MLAs whether they think Smith is the right choice to lead the party for the foreseeable future.

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While the Alberta NDPs election of former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi hasn’t generated the boost many of the province’s leftists may have hoped for, and the United Conservative Party under the leadership of Premier Danielle Smith is either holding ground or gaining popularity depending on which poll you look at, there are some who are beginning to question whether she is the right person to lead Alberta moving forward.

Being a conservative leader isn’t easy, particularly in Alberta.

At least five conservative premiers in the province have seen their careers ended not by defeat in a general election, but instead by internal politics, over the last 30 or so years. Unlike, say federal Liberal supporters who stood by Justin Trudeau far longer than they should have — as he made a fool of himself and Canada repeatedly — conservative Albertans tend not to blindly follow a leader. They tend to vote on principle, and when leaders cease to align with those principles, or at least are perceived to, they get sent packing.

Despite earning significant support among her conservative base by affirming parental rights and standing up against Trudeau in defence of Alberta’s energy industry, there have been rumours popping up in political circles that some of the folks who helped Smith claim the leadership feel she hasn’t done enough to affirm Alberta’s sovereignty.

Critics suggest issues like a provincial police force and pension are seemingly being put aside by the Alberta government at least for the time being. Some have also questioned staffing decisions made by the premier, including Allison Redford being appointed to head the Alberta Investment Corporation according to a report by True North.

To determine whether these potential divides run deep within the UCP, or if they are simply the murmurs of a few malcontents, Rebel News made our way to the premier’s Stampede breakfast to ask over a dozen MLAs if they believe that Premier Smith will be leading this party for the foreseeable future and if the United Conservative Party is indeed united under her guidance.

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