How Danielle Smith and the UCP will handle a deeply divided Alberta | Globalnews.ca

The votes are in and the 337/alberta-election-2023-danielle-smith-ucp-wins/">United Conservative Party remains in powerbut the results show the province is still largely divided.

Danielle Smith and the UCP won the Alberta election with 53 per cent of the vote — only a few points ahead of the Alberta NDP and Rachel Notley, who won her seat as MLA of Edmonton-Strathcona.

The results show the UCP lost 14 seats in the legislature after the vote. The party now holds 49 seats total, with some high-profile cabinet members not being re-elected, including health minister Jason Copping and deputy premier Kaycee Madu. The Alberta NDP holds the largest opposition ever formed in Alberta history with 38 seats.

“I think getting a clear majority of Albertans, especially with a relatively high voter turnout compared to (history), that sends a good message to me,” Smith said Tuesday, joining Shaye Ganam on 630 CHED.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m pretty confident that a 53 per cent mandate is something that we can feel confident and go forward and implement our agenda. We’ve become a two-party province now and we’ve got a pretty fierce opposition that I know is going to be holding us to account.”

During an election night panel discussion on Global News Monday evening, political analyst Duane Bratt said Alberta will see a very different cabinet than before.

“I was worried about governance, and I talked about the worry of governance and whoever won, but with the UCP winning Calgary and winning rural, they got two-thirds of the province, but they’re absent in Edmonton — they’re even absent in the suburbs of Edmonton. That will be a challenge for me,” Bratt said.


Click to play video: 'Alberta election: Global News expert panel reacts to projected UCP majority'


Alberta election: Global News expert panel reacts to projected UCP majority


Smith said her mandate to focus on jobs and the economy is part of her plan to unite the deep political divide in the province.

Story continues below advertisement

“I believe a United Conservative movement includes rural and urban Alberta and we’ve got to make sure we’re focusing on the things that unite both of those,” Smith said, adding that she will create a council of representatives for the Edmonton area, as there were no UCP candidates elected in the major city.

Health care is another area where the province has received a mandate, and Smith said she is happy with the progress they’ve made so far but there is more to do to ensure every Albertan has a family doctor and can receive the care they need.


Click to play video: 'Alberta election: Premier Danielle Smith takes aim at Trudeau during victory speech'


Alberta election: Premier Danielle Smith takes aim at Trudeau during victory speech


On Tuesday, Smith brought up the fight with Ottawa about the energy sector, which she also mentioned in her celebration speech Monday night. When questioned about whether this is really an issue Albertans are concerned about, Smith said that in order to have a strong economy, Alberta needs to stand up to the federal government against its push to make the energy sector more sustainable.

Story continues below advertisement

As for where to begin, Smith said it starts with making it clear to the federal government that Alberta needs to chart its own path for emissions reduction and energy development.

“I hope that (Justin Trudeau) is willing to work collaboratively,” Smith said. “I know I am. That’s why we put forward a major discussion paper beforehand stating our policy about how we want to go about doing it. And it’s a really exciting future, one that will allow us to diversify our economy even further with carbon capture utilization and storage and hydrogen and geothermal and the development of critical minerals. And that should be a vision that the prime minister is willing to work with us on.”

Trudeau congratulated Smith on her win and said he looks forward to working with the province.

““I look forward to continuing to work with Premier Smith and the provincial government to deliver results for Albertans – including growing the economy, creating good jobs for the middle class, improving health care, continuing to position Alberta as a leader in clean energy, and making life more affordable,” he said in a statement.

“We will also continue to build on the progress we have made to deliver affordable child care to families in Alberta and move forward on the path of reconciliation.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.