Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2010
The deposits of oil and gas, the fields of cattle and crops and the majestic timber forests are important assets, but it is the people of Alberta who are its most valuable resource
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As a political outsider with a media-friendly persona, fiscally conservative views and a penchant for wearing red, Danielle Smith naturally draws comparisons to 2008 United States vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. But those comparisons do a serious disservice to Smith, the leader of the upstart Wildrose Alliance Party, whose intellectual credentials and understanding of public policy put her in a league in which the former Governor of Alaska could only dream of playing.
Those skills will be put to the test the next time Albertans next head to the polls, but it’s a safe bet that Smith will give Premier Ed Stelmach the fight of his political career. The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of activity and ambition for the 39-year-old former broadcaster, who describes herself as “a moderate libertarian.”
Smith was already a rising star in the media industry and was previously a business lobbyist, but her career really took off when she became actively involved in provincial politics by putting her name forward and winning the race to succeed Paul Hinman as the leader of the fledgling Wildrose Alliance Party.
When the election comes, it’s clear that Smith will be playing to win. “While we may be given a term as official opposition, we will not run as an opposition party in 2012,” she said in her 2009 acceptance speech. “We must be ready to govern. Albertans do not vote for oppositions. They elect governments. Always.”
– Max Fawcett