Elections Alberta’s website crashed on the night of November 8 — over a by-election. Poli-Nerds for the win!
Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta, takes Brooks-Medicine Hat with 54.5% support
If your closest opponent is 28 points behind, you could definitely call that a “decisive win”.
If the bar is 50 per cent plus one, anything over that is also a “decisive win” (unless you’re Jason Kenney who was reportedly banking on 65 per cent but only received 51.4).
Unfortunately, it’s no 81 per cent (Devin Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake by-election, 2018). It’s no 71 per cent (Jason Kenney, Calgary-Lougheed by-election, 2017). It’s not even 63 per cent (Brian Jean, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, 2022).
And don’t even get me started on the massive UCP failure in Calgary-Elbow, 2022-2023.
It’s 54.5 per cent for the conservative leader — in rural Alberta — when she’s already Premier.
While by-elections are usually prerequisites in vacated seats to ensure Albertans have representation in the Legislature, the UCP’s decision to hold only the one by-election where they wouldn’t have to face the possibility of losing is telling.
The UCP, while also needing to get Smith elected, is also relying on the outcome as a narrative-building exercise that was supposed to lay the governing party’s position of strength going into the 2023 campaign.
If it was really about representation, there would have been a race in Calgary-Elbow at the same time.
Disqualified Livingstone-MacLeod UCP nomination candidate’s appeal denied
Some of the more influential social media types who have benefitted from spreading disinformation throughout the pandemic have turned to the UCP for a nod and a wink to get themselves into the Legislature.
Weird that they would have the impression their conspiracy-addled talking points would be welcome, I know.
Nadine Wellwood, the former nomination candidate for Livingstone-MacLeod, announced on social media that her appeal had been rejected on November 12 saying “(t)he views shared in my tweets… are strongly held amongst conservatives in (Livingstone-MacLeod)”.
Wellwood claims she brought in more than 800 new members to support her nomination in the riding and I’m guessing that if Smith does decide to move from Brooks-Medicine Hat to her home riding of Livingstone-MacLeod for the provincial election, it will be uncontested as she’s not had the best of luck with that in the past.
Dr. Hinshaw out as Chief Medical Officer of Health
The announcement came earlier than anticipated that Dr. Mark Joffe will replace Dr. Deena Hinshaw as the province’s CMOH.
Surprisingly, Dr. Joffe is not a proponent of the conspiracy theories favoured by Smith and her supporters.
Joffe has previously shown support for masking as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of infection as well as publicly stating that while ivermectin is a useful drug in the treatment of certain ailments, it is not an effective treatment for COVID.
As noted in a recent court decision, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was not speaking with any legislative authority when she made a statement disallowing school boards from implementing mask mandates.
We can now add that to the list of fun games to play while listening to politicians politic.
Smith’s reference to the lack of existing legislation at least means she has accepted the judge’s decision despite not having done her own research on Facebook.
The small blessings end there.
Smith has preemptively decided that no public health circumstance will require mandating masking again because even though they have demonstrated efficacy to protect vulnerable people, it just doesn’t compare to the fact that masks are a minor inconvenience to people who would vote for her.
And really, in what possible world would the government go out of its way to protect people from plumes of airborne pathogens indoors so that people who don’t appreciate inhaling them are free from doing so?
Speaking of masks…
Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools are reporting an overwhelming absenteeism due to illness and the school boards are desperately trying to figure out what tools they still have available to help protect students and education; or, in Alberta-ese, “trying to do their job with both hands tied behind their backs”.
Back in March 2022 — in an effort to sway anti-mandate favour ahead of his leadership review — former Premier Jason Kenney changed legislation to require municipalities ask permission to access health advice in order to make regionally-specific public health-related decisions.
As noted above, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange also did her part in February 2022 by releasing a statement barring school boards from the ability to protect students, teachers, and staff with mask mandates.
Now with Danielle Smith, after being propelled to the Premier’s chair by a well-organized group of freedom worriers, vowing to see if over-simplified Darwinian evolutionary theory is sustainable, school boards are demanding answers.
Smith already has them: “live and let live“… and get more hospital beds for the ones who can’t.
This post was originally written on GetRevue; Twitter newsletters