Advertisement

Follow Us On:

Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2012

Meet the people who are changing your world – and find out how they’re doing it

by Max Fawcett, Michael Ganley, Alix Kemp and Geoffrey Morgan

Politics   

Danielle Smith

Agent of Change

← Previous Influential  |  Back to Main List  |  Next Influential →

When Premier Alison Redford took to the stage at the Progressive Conservative party’s headquarters in Calgary on the evening of April 23, she looked triumphant and relieved in equal measure. She had just led the Tories to their 12th straight majority, winning 61 of the legislature’s 87 seats and extending the party’s 41-year lock on power.

But unlike virtually all of those previous 12 victories, this one was a result that nobody had predicted. Danielle Smith’s Wildrose party had consistently polled ahead of the Conservatives in the weeks before the election. The final results were no doubt a disappointment to Smith, but she did her best to put a positive spin on the outcome. “Change might take us a little longer than we thought,” she told her followers.

That may be true, but her party has already come a lot further than many expected. Her Wildrose Party took 17 seats and 34 per cent of the popular vote, up from zero seats and seven per cent of the vote in 2008. If it weren’t for controversial anti-gay and racially charged statements made by Wildrose candidates toward the close of the campaign, Wildrose may have fared even better.

The election results represent a seismic change in Albertan politics. Smith and the Wildrose hived off much of the right edge of the PC party, while Redford moved more aggressively to the centre of the political spectrum than any PC leader in recent memory. She managed to draw votes from the Liberal Party and the NDP, some because of strategic voting but many because they simply liked her policies. As such, she hearkens back to the years of Peter Lougheed, a fiscal conservative with a true progressive bent, more than to her more immediate PC predecessors.

Redford, too, spoke of change on election night. “This Progressive Conservative party has introduced change, has promised change and will make change in this province,” she said. “Getting that change right is what I promise you tonight.”

And so for the next few years, we will watch these two leaders battle it out in the legislature and in the cauldron of public opinion, with their ideological differences clearly reflected in their views on health care, education, the role of government and Alberta’s place in the federation. Redford’s progressive streak will stand in contrast to Smith’s small-c conservatism. Both will try to bridge the urban/rural divide that was evident in the election results. Redford will try to smooth over the rifts that were created in the PC party, and Smith will work to keep her rookie MLAs in line.

It will be an exciting, refreshing time for Alberta, where elections have long been more like a coronation than a competition. And that’s change we can all get behind.

July 2012 Contents

8 Responses to Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2012

  1. Jackie Morin says:

    I am part of the One Aim team for the ride for Cancer. There couldn’t be a more deserving recipient for this recognition. The support that Nigel gives to every rider on his team & other teams, his training rides that he hosts to get us ready for the Ride for Cancer and his positive attitude is an inspiration to us all.
    Jackie Morin

  2. Shawn H says:

    I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Gibson when he visited our facility shortly after his taking the helm of what was then CCS Corporation. It was a personal visit, he was by himself, and just came to chat and see what we do here. I was really impressed that a CEO would take the time to travel and meet with front-line staff, and he continues to do so on a regular basis. I am proud to work at Tervita under his leadership.

  3. Kevin Jones says:

    Nigel has also been pivotal in the creation and growth of the One Aim team, which over the past three years has raised $500,000. We plan on doubling up to a million this year, and this wouldn’t be possible without him.

  4. Arniestephens says:

    Congrats Drew!
    Well deserved.

    Arnie Stephens

  5. David Howse says:

    I doubt many readers know Howard Tennant but his influence goes way beyond his government policy work. He is probably the best professor the University of Lethbridge has ever had and through that has influenced thousands of students to bevelope a broader understanding of the business world and the implications of policy and strategy based decisions. Howard continues to mentor many past students as they climb the many hurdles in the business world. I find some of the off topic posts offensive but – that’s just the internet.

  6. David Howse says:

    I doubt many readers know Howard Tennant but his influence goes way beyond his government policy work. He is probably the best professor the University of Lethbridge has ever had and through that has influenced thousands of students to develope a broader understanding of the business world and the implications of policy and strategy based decisions. Howard continues to mentor many past students as they cross the many hurdles of the business world. I find some of the off topic posts offensive but – that’s just the internet.

  7. Pingback: The Next 10 - 2012 | Alberta Venture

  8. Pingback: Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2013 | Alberta Venture

Small Business
Small Business
Brought to you by ATB Financial
Venture 250
Venture 250
tiny thing
Business Person of the Year
In partnership with MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP and Alberta School of Business Executive Education
Alberta Oil
Alberta Oil
Magazine
Advertisement