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Danielle Smith launches campaign against Rachel Notley

Thomas Lambert

August 19, 2022

UCP leadership frontrunner Danielle Smith has taken aim at the NDP after one member suggested ending Canada’s national sport to fight climate change.

Danielle Smith launches campaign against Rachel Notley
Danielle Smith launches campaign against Rachel Notley

In a tweet, Smith wrote, “I think Team NDP’s laces are too tight. Please leave hockey — and our kids — alone,” alongside a comical graphic of Rachel Notley, Jagmeet Singh, and Bonita Zarrillo in hockey gear.

Smith’s tweet is in response to Zarrillo, who suggested yesterday that Canada should end indoor ice hockey — and all ice arenas — to fight climate change.

“Is indoor skating ice even necessary anymore? Can every ice sport be done without ice and different equipment?… just pondering the climate impact of human-made indoor ice,” Zarrillo wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

While the race for the coveted UCP leader role won’t be decided until October, polls, as well as sheer attendance and support at rallies, all indicate that Smith is poised for victory. Thus, it’s not too surprising that she’s already gearing up to tussle with Notley.

As noted by Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt, “[Smith is] drawing the biggest crowds; we’ve got [MLA] endorsements that are now coming her way because they see her as the frontrunner.”

“All the other candidates are responding to her in some fashion [and] some are adopting the same policies.”

Bratt’s comments come after MLA Nate Glubish, labour minister Kaycee Madu, and former cabinet minister Devin Dreeshen shifted their support to Smith, apparently seeing the writing on the wall.

“Sometimes when you see people starting to shift allegiances, it sort of gives you a sense of where the momentum is going,” MRU political scientist Lori Williams said.

“It’s those people who want to be in cabinet or in a position where they can work with whoever the new Premier is. They think things are moving in that direction, and they’re moving with them.”

As it stands, recent polls are showing a neck-in-neck race between the UCP and provincial NDP, with both parties regularly swapping positions for voters’ favourites.

A July 17 Leger poll has the NDP leading at 45% over the UCP’s 41%, while an Angus Reid poll has the UCP ahead by two points.

Assuming recent polling is somewhat accurate, it’s clear that, even if Smith does win, she’ll have her work cut out for her to ensure a UCP victory over the NDP come Alberta’s general election.

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