Alberta This Week

What to Expect

Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith announced her new Cabinet on Friday. A collection of new and familiar faces, the new ministers were sworn in yesterday and will begin holding meetings soon. You can expect announcements appointing Deputy Ministers and key staff in ministers’ offices this week.

In what is likely a preview of the 2023 election campaign, both the UCP and NDP held their annual general meetings last weekend, and the themes were surprisingly similar. Both Premier Smith and Opposition Leader Rachel Notley promised to make affordability, health care, and the economy their top issues. Where they differ, however, is on their proposed policy solutions.

Premier Smith wants a strong oil and gas and agricultural sector, a significantly reformed health care system, and affordability measures including cuts to taxes like the gas tax. Notley, meanwhile, is pledging to go all-in on total diversification (particularly technology and digital industries), spend more on health care while leaving governance structures in place, cap things like insurance rates and tuition, and undertake an “aggressive” housing construction program to address affordability.

New Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish (formerly Minister of Service Alberta) left for Denmark yesterday to learn how the country manages health data and determine what lessons it holds for Alberta. Look for that trip to help inform the Premier’s promised third-party review of Alberta Health Services.

The Week That Was

Premier Smith’s new Cabinet comprises a healthy balance of rural and urban MLAs. This is not unexpected given Premier Smith’s comments that rural Alberta was poorly represented in the previous Cabinet. There are 12 ministers from Calgary, three from the Edmonton region, and eight from rural areas and smaller urban centres. On a subsequent media appearance yesterday, Premier Smith said the message she is trying to send with this Cabinet is stability, boldness, and respect.

The following is a list of notable Cabinet portfolio appointments:

  • President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance – Travis Toews
  • Minister of Energy – Peter Guthrie
  • Minister of Environment and Protected Areas – Sonya Savage
  • Minister of Municipal Affairs – Rebecca Schulz
  • Deputy Premier and Minister of Infrastructure – Nathan Neudorf
  • Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors – Devin Dreeshen

To see a full list of ministers, parliamentary secretaries, house leadership roles, and new committees, click here.

Thursday was Danielle Smith’s first time addressing the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce as Alberta Premier. She acknowledged the rough start and road ahead as changes are made. In addition laying out her key goals, Smith spoke about the hardships many Alberta industries, including tourism, restaurants, and hotels, have gone through in recent years.

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