Moving Alberta Forward with Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith was sworn in as Alberta’s 19th Premier o October 11, 202. She represents the riding of Brooks -Medicine Hat. Before re-entering politics, Premier Smith worked extensively in the media and business, most recently as President of the Alberta Enterprise Group. Before that, she was a radio host with Corus Entertainment for six years. Premier Smith holds degrees in both Economics and English from the University of Calgary. She is married to David, and she is a proud stepmom to his son. Premier Smith and her husband own and operate a restaurant. They live in High River with their two dogs. LCCMedia is grateful to the Premier’s press team for making this happen. We asked some tough questions; we hope the responses will make your decision easier as you vote on May 29th.
Your government has done much work around affordability and the costs of living crises? Is this working for people?
Alberta’s economy has recovered strongly, but many Albertans still struggle to pay their bills and feed their families. As a province, we can’t stop inflation, but thanks to our strong fiscal position and balanced budget, we can offer substantial relief.
We have acted swiftly and decisively on a suite of measures now underway to help all Albertans with affordability.
Alberta’s Affordability Action Plan provides broad-based relief to help all Albertans and businesses and targeted relief for parents, seniors and vulnerable Albertans. Broad-based relief includes suspending the fuel tax, indexing income tax and $500 electricity rebates. Targeted measures include the $600 affordability payments for families, seniors and vulnerable Albertans, re-indexing AISH and the Alberta Seniors Benefit, providing support to food banks and other community groups and more funding for low-income transit pass programs. Today, over 1.2 million Albertans are enrolled and receiving $600 over six months.
Thanks to our affordability measures, Alberta has had the lowest rate of inflation for consecutive months, leading Canada in lowering inflation.
Safety on Public transport is on the minds of Albertans – what more can the provincial government do?
Albertans have the right to walk freely at night and use public transit without fear that their safety is a barrier, and Alberta’s government will do whatever it takes to make the streets of Edmonton and Calgary safe again. This is why we have taken significant action:
· Committing $163 million for public safety in Budget 2023
· Helping the City of Calgary and Edmonton hire 100 more street-level police officers · Supported the transfer of command and control of transit peace officers to the Edmonton and Calgary police services to improve coordination and better target problem areas on transit systems.
· Provided a $5-million grant to each city for additional measures to clean up public transit stations.
· Created public safety task forces in Calgary and Edmonton aimed at addressing public disorder, including addictions, homelessness and crime. The task forces include cabinet ministers, First Nations leaders, city councillors, social services agencies, Alberta Health Services and police services.
· And announced pilot projects in Calgary and Edmonton to deploy Alberta Sheriffs and PAC teams in joint patrols of inner-city neighbourhoods with local police increasing law enforcement capacity and presence in city centres, including transit facilities.
Our government will do whatever it takes to ensure public safety, and that includes addressing public disorder and crime, especially violent crime, on public transit in Alberta.
Will the Premier commit to creating more childcare spaces?
Alberta’s government supports parental choice in selecting the licensed child-care provider that fits their family needs, which is why the government has advocated and insisted on a childcare agreement that will ensure parents have access to thousands of affordable child-care options.
The Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care (CAELCC) Agreement is transforming our childcare system by investing $3.8 billion over five years in a made-in-Alberta plan, creating up to 68,700 more childcare spaces and reducing childcare fees to an average of $10/day by 2026.
Alberta will invest more than $1 billion in early learning and childcare in 2023-24. This includes more than $861 million through the CAELCC.
Homelessness in Downtown Edmonton remains a crucial issue. Is this problem solvable under the Premier’s leadership?
We have been working hard to implement Alberta’s action plan on homelessness to help support those experiencing homelessness get connected to support. This includes $63 million that was announced last year to increase the number of shelter spaces in Edmonton throughout the winter, increase funding for housing supports to more than $1 Billion over three years, and pilot a service hub model that connects those in need with supports for recovery, housing, employment, social programs, and more. With these efforts combined with support provided by Mental Health and Addictions, we are making downtown Edmonton safer for all.
The Premier’s Council on Multiculturalism is a brilliant initiative to tackle antiracism. Is this initiative a little too late?
It is never too late to begin giving marginalized voices a platform to be heard within government. The Premier’s Council on Multiculturalism will help provide BIPOC people a chance to directly influence the government and help continue to guide the province in a direction that supports everyone, no matter their race or background. Alberta’s government also realizes that there is still a lot of work to be done on addressing racism in the province, and we will continue to work with communities that represent under-represented groups to ensure they feel safe and welcome in Alberta.
There is a lot of misunderstanding around whether or not Albertans would pay out of pocket for healthcare -can you clarify your position? Is there more the government can do to make this position clear?
This is a narrative put out by the NDP to confuse Albertans. Luckily, Albertans have seen through their negativity for what it is, and will see through it again. I provided Albertans with a Public Health Care Guarantee that under no circumstances will any Albertan ever have to pay out-of-pocket to see their
family doctor or to get the medical treatment they need. All you will ever need is your Alberta Healthcare Card. We’ve also signed a 10-year, $24 billion health care deal with the federal government committing to upholding the principles of the Canada Health Act.
Can the Premier share her three ardent wishes for the future of Alberta?
1) To become debt-free
2) Build the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to generate enough revenue to reduce reliance on resource revenues
3) Improve health care so Albertans can get the health care they want and need when and where they need it.
What does the premier do for her mental health?
1. Good night’s sleep
2. Walk my dogs
3. Meditation with the Calm App