Discover more from The Line
Flipping the Line: Alberta's premier is a Conservative
Rajan Sawhney defends Alberta premier Danielle Smith's credentials.
The Line welcomes angry rebuttals and responses to our work. The best will be featured in our ongoing series, Flipping the Line. Today, Rajan Sawhney responds to her former campaign manager Ken Boessenkool and co-author Jared Wesley, defending the Alberta premier’s Conservative credentials.
By: Rajan Sawhney
Around this time, one year ago, I announced I was running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Alberta. I did this based on the belief our party needed a fresh, new voice at the helm to heal from past divisions and move forward. My opponents included Travis Toews, Rebecca Schulz, Todd Loewen, Brian Jean, Leela Aheer and Danielle Smith, who ultimately won the leadership and became the nineteenth premier of our great province.
The 2022 leadership candidates represented all different sides of our conservative movement, but despite this, we were decent and respectful towards each other. Importantly for Albertans, we did not focus on divisions from the past, but instead on solutions for the future. We remained this way, even after the leadership race ended, united in our belief that our conservative movement has room for people with a diverse range of views on a variety of important subjects.
Since winning the leadership race, Premier Smith has maintained this spirit of unity in our party, and demonstrated her leadership by appointing a cabinet with a diverse group of conservatives from all walks of life. Moreover, she counted on her diverse team to bring forward creative ideas as she pursued her bold agenda to renew the Alberta Advantage.
This pragmatic approach has paid dividends for Premier Smith and, most importantly, for all Albertans. Our province recently passed a balanced budget, created thousands of jobs, attracted investment from across the world, passed a landmark affordability package that has helped lower Alberta’s inflation rate to the lowest level in Canada, tackled health care reform and established itself as an international leader in addiction and mental health treatment.
Premier Smith has worked tirelessly, and in just six short months her government has materially improved the lives of many Albertans. She didn’t just make our province stronger, she injected new life into our party and movement, helping us once again to become the largest provincial political party in Canada and hit all-time records for fundraising (it’s worth noting that these donations come from individuals, not businesses).
Premier Smith earned our respect the Alberta way: through hard work and perseverance.
Today, Premier Smith and the UCP are fighting arguably the most important election in Alberta’s history. And while conservatives have largely rallied around Premier Smith’s leadership and a strong United Conservative Party, some have chosen to take this opportunity to sow division. This, coming at a time when conservative unity is more important than ever.
Some pundits have recently emerged with questions as to whether or not the United Conservative Party leader is truly “conservative.” To these critics, I say this: any conservative who would question Premier Smith’s commitment to conservative values at this crucial time in Alberta’s political history would apparently rather see a socialist party with a disastrous record of raising taxes and killing jobs form government.
I think that these short-sighted opinions miss the essential point: This election is not about ‘conservatism’ – it is about what conservative values will truly mean for Albertans when compared to the socialist policies and ideas that would emanate from the NDP
The fight happening right now in Alberta is a fight for the soul of our province and the heart of Canada’s conservative movement. On one side there is Premier Smith, who is proposing tax cuts, balanced budgets and continued economic growth. On the other side is Rachel Notley, who is proposing tax hikes, more debt and deficit and recycled NDP policies closely aligned with federal NDP and Liberal parties.
The choice for Albertans is clear. Not just conservatives but all Albertans need to once again put their differences aside and come together for the sake of our province and country.
Rajan Sawhney, UCP candidate for Calgary-North West and Alberta's Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism
The Line is Canada’s last, best hope for irreverent commentary. We reject bullshit. We love lively writing. Please consider supporting us by subscribing. Follow us on Twitter @the_lineca. Fight with us on Facebook. Pitch us something: email@example.com