The Alberta Leader's Debate

The clash of the titans? Not really. This was a battle without a clear victor. It featured Notley on the attack against Smith, with Smith parrying almost every attack while landing a few jabs of her own. It came in three main segments, with a “Wildcard” round afterwards that contributed little.


The first segment was Affordability. Notley and Smith raised concerns about inflation and rising interest rates.  Much of this is beyond their control: it comes from Trudeau shoveling money out the door at breakneck speeds during and after COVID. The current Canadian National Debt is sitting at $1.2 Trillion which is essentially double from when Justin Trudeau took office. In best socialist style, Notley pitched a cap on utilities and insurance premiums, but she has no money budgeted for utility costs, and capping insurance premiums will simply result in some people being refused for insurance altogether.

Let’s be honest with ourselves – the best thing for affordability in Alberta would be for it to not be subject to a federal government that takes our money and spends out of control, leaving us with sky-high inflation.

The segment on Health Care was  very odd.  Notley harped on Smith’s performance as a radio show host, claiming that she planned to go to a user-pay system and sell hospitals – all of which Smith has publicly said she won’t do.  Smith, on the other hand, claimed that her healthcare reforms are working.  Wait times are improving, she claimed, and surgery backlogs will be cleared within a year.

The emptiness of the health care segment matched other public discussions.  Notley is always insistent  that all health care be “public” (by which she seems to mean managed by unions) and Smith backpedals on every idea she has. This debate introduced no new content.

In contrast to these claims, Wildrose stands for a strong and responsible healthcare system:

  • Permit non-profit organizations and private corporations to own and manage hospitals; professional managers to manage hospitals.
  • Treat drug addicts as healthcare patients, not criminals, which will require a defined period of supervised medical support to resolve the addiction.
  • Increase limits on the number of health professionals that can be certified through the education system.
  • We will manage future health crisis in the spirit of the Great Barrington Declaration

On the Economy, Notley claimed victory that she got a single pipeline approved. Unfortunately, we need far more capacity to be a global leader as a supplier of oil and gas. Notley, however, is philosophically opposed to oil and gas development. Smith, by contrast, claimed that Alberta is now back on its feet and we just need to keep the good times rolling. Simply put, Notley is lying, and Smith is naïve.

Wildrose agrees that we need to continue to rebuild after the collapse of oil prices and the suffocation of our industries by federal and provincial regulators and special-interest groups in other provinces. However, the UCP’s approach is not enough. The Sovereignty Act is not enough. Alberta needs to be able to make its own decisions. Only then will Alberta’s economy be on solid ground to build, invest in and flourish. So long as we are subject to the ups and downs of markets and the ups and downs of eastern politicians tampering with our industries the Alberta economy will always have uncertainty baked into it.

The ”wildcard” segment was content-free, except for  a question regarding expanding student populations, and how leaders would make sure that resources would make it into classrooms.  Notley took the opportunity to accuse UCP of firing teachers’ aides. There was a little truth to this: UCP had fired aides during Covid: the number of students had dropped by ten thousand, most education was happening remotely, and aides were not needed in the empty classrooms.  One can only presume that Notley meant to say that she would have gladly paid people to not work. 

Smith responded with the claim that she was going to give more money than ever to local school boards.  Not to be outdone, Notley claimed that she herself  would hire thousands of new aides and teachers.  It might not be connected to actual classroom results, but it would doubtless give her cronies who run the Alberta Teachers’ Association a few million more dollars in their budget.

Wildrose, by contrast, has a concrete plan to address education.  It doesn’t involve throwing money at it, but rather a careful maximization of choice in education.

Surprisingly, Western Alienation nor Equalization were mentioned in the debate as questions or responses. The Sovereignty Act was mentioned briefly by Notley to suggest that sovereignty initiatives make Alberta a less attractive place to invest in.

On the contrary, investment in Alberta has only suffered by the actions of the federal government under the Trudeau Liberals. And ironically, the only pipeline to be built to tide-water has mutated into a money consuming monstrosity under the control of the federal government.

The theme of the debate seemed to revolve around Smith’s theoretical record versus Notley’s proven record of disaster. NDP attack ads ran on repeat between segments, showing Ms. Smith questioning whether or not every visit to a doctor should be paid for by government and Notley desperately trying to bring up floor-crossing and conflicts of interest. It was a little jarring.

Smith did not really come out of it looking like a winner.  True, she dodged most of Notley’s attacks and landed a few jabs of her own.  But if anything, Notley seemed to defeat herself: constant negativity in debate, backed with nonstop attack ads build a picture of a leader who will stop at no lie to attack her opponent.  Combined with her abysmal record as Premier, Notley convinces us that the worst outcome for the Province would be a Notley government.

For Wildrose, the lesser evil is not enough. We will continue to progress the cause of self-determination for Alberta as this is the best way to ensure affordability, an effective health-care system and a strong economy.

If you want to see real change, be part of it with us!

Team Wildrose

Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta  

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  • J Duce
    published this page in Leader's Blog 2023-05-23 16:21:32 -0600