Alberta's Ruling UCP Faces Challenges Ahead of May Election
FILE PHOTO: Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce meeting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 18, 2022. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

The upcoming election in Canada’s oil-producing province, Alberta, is expected to be a close race between the ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) and the left-leaning New Democratic Party. 

However, the UCP’s combative Premier Danielle Smith is facing a series of controversies and resignations that may undermine her party’s support.

In the span of a week, Smith has been embroiled in several controversies. The most serious of which is a leaked phone call with controversial street pastor Artur Pawlowski, who is facing pandemic-related charges. 

Critics, including the NDP, say it is inappropriate for the premier to discuss individual cases in the justice system with officials. 

Additionally, two senior members of Smith’s cabinet have announced they will not be running for re-election in May, and a UCP candidate resigned after accusing teachers of exposing kids to pornography.

Political science professor Duane Bratt predicts that the controversies may damage Smith’s standing among moderate conservatives and undecided voters in key election battlegrounds like Calgary. 

Bratt suggests that voters may be concerned about Smith’s judgment and trustworthiness, and the recent events add to questions about that.

Smith’s controversies and resignations come at a crucial time for the UCP as they prepare for the upcoming election. While Smith denies any wrongdoing, her actions and statements have raised concerns among voters and political analysts. 

The resignations of two senior cabinet members will also impact the UCP’s strength should they win in May. The outcome of the election remains to be seen, but it is clear that the recent controversies and resignations have added an extra layer of uncertainty to an already closely contested race.


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