Wildrose leader takes lead on city issues

EDMONTON — Alberta is increasingly divided between urbanites and rural dwellers, says Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, who named herself cities critic Tuesday.

EDMONTON — Alberta is increasingly divided between urbanites and rural dwellers, says Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, who named herself cities critic Tuesday.

Her comments come only days after criticizing “urban elites” for their attitudes toward small-town voters and they follow suggestions by one of her newly minted members that rural voters have more common sense.

Bridge building “needs to go both ways,” Smith said after announcing her shadow cabinet Tuesday. “There’s a serious divide in this province, a lack of understanding about how much of our wealth is generated in our rural areas.”

Smith’s right-wing party was nearly shut out of the province’s two largest cities, winning only two seats in Calgary and none in Edmonton.

But Tuesday, Smith seemed to suggest that it’s the city dwellers who need to open their minds.

She said she was upset over an independently produced video that came out during the campaign that she said painted small-town people in a bad light. Titled “I never thought I’d vote PC”, the video featured people, some of them actors, talking about holding their noses and voting PC to keep the Wildrose out.

“It’s clear that there is a problem in Alberta when you have a video that received 75,000 views that depicts hard-working men and women in rural Alberta as being gun-toting simpletons,” she said. “That actually demonstrates that we have some very serious bridges that need to be built between rural and urban.”

Still, she admitted she has work to do in the cities, where two-thirds of Alberta’s population lives.

“We are prepared to set the reset button,” she said.

“We know we have a lot of work to do to build the trust with Edmonton council and with Edmontonians, that was very clear from the election results.”

Smith said she has asked Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi if he might be able to broker a peace summit with Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, who was critical of the Wildrose during the campaign.

Smith shadow cabinet includes key posts for Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth. Both are former Tory members of the legislature who crossed the floor to the Wildrose during the last session. They were also the only two Wildrose members to retain their seats in last week’s vote.

Anderson was named Opposition house leader and finance critic. Forsyth was named to the health portfolio.

Shayne Saskiw, the Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills member who knocked off cabinet minister Ray Danyluk, is deputy house leader and justice critic. Bruce McAllister, who bested cabinet minister Ted Morton, was given education.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle, an associate broker/co-owner of Royal LePage Weber in Innisfail, is now the whip and Seniors critic for the official Opposition.

Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin was named the Environment, Water and Utilities critic.

Anglin is an outspoken advocate for landowner rights and opponent of the province’s transmission strategy. He has served on the Town of Rimbey council since October 2010.

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Bruce Rowe, a former mayor of the village Beiseker near Airdrie, was named Municipal Affairs critic.

Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman is the Tourism, Parks and Recreation critic.

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox is Service Alberta critic.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta is on pace to administer more than 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week, according to the provincial government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Alberta

Alberta hit a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 this week. As… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Interior work will start this year on Red Deer hospital project, says infrastructure minister

‘We are committed. This is a top priority,’ says Presad Panda

Even with recent restrictions due to rising COVID-19 variant case levels, about 95 per cent of businesses are open in Alberta, said Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Consistent pandemic policy has helped Alberta, premier says

Alberta fatality rate lower than Canadian average

Lethbridge Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh speaks during a news conference in Lethbridge, Alta., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter
‘Right path:’ Lethbridge police release improvement plan in wake of controversies

‘Right path:’ Lethbridge police release improvement plan in wake of controversies

People play on the rocks on a calm Lake Ontario near Humber Bay during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Charlie Riedel
Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

People wear face masks as they walk in a park in Montreal, Sunday, April 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Premier Francois Legault softens rules for outdoor mask use following criticism

Premier Francois Legault softens rules for outdoor mask use following criticism

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

‘Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Italian-Canadians to get formal apology for treatment during Second World War

Italian-Canadians to get formal apology for treatment during Second World War

Heartfelt messages are left on a table as people come out to mark International Overdose Awareness Day during a mass group naloxone training seminar at Centennial Square in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday August 31, 2019. nbsp;When British Columbia's provincial health officer declared an emergency into the overdose crisis five years ago, he said it was because those who died deserved more of a response. Since then, Dr. Perry Kendall says roughly 7,000 died unnecessarily. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
7,000 more overdose deaths since B.C. declared public health emergency in 2016

7,000 more overdose deaths since B.C. declared public health emergency in 2016

A vial of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dose is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Ontario sees vaccine supply issues, Ottawa keeps AstraZeneca on the market

Ontario sees vaccine supply issues, Ottawa keeps AstraZeneca on the market

Most Read