United Conservative Party leader Danielle Smith says she has no plans to campaign on a provincial police service or an Alberta pension plan. She also won’t tout her now-passed Alberta Sovereignty Act, a pinnacle campaign promise during the leadership campaign just months ago.
Smith made the comments on Global News’ morning show on Friday, five days into a two-horse race between the Alberta NDP and the UCP with both parties focusing efforts on battleground Calgary.
Smith pointed to other policies her party is putting forward; that includes $10-a-day daycare and her government’s work on addressing the health care crisis which is plagued by long wait times for a family doctor, at walk-in clinics and emergency rooms, as well as a surgical backlog.
“They’re not in our campaign because I think we’ve got so many things that we have done that we’re excited about,” she said.
Smith’s Sovereignty Act passed in December, just ten days after being tabled. It was pitched to voters during the leadership race as a means to bar federal legislation deemed harmful to the province and its interests, but Smith has so far declined to use it.
Smith told Global that a provincial police service and pension can be revisited after the election.
“We have said that we’re going to do consultation on a number of these issues,” she explained.
In November, Smith told Public Safety and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis to work with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro to launch an Alberta Police Service. She instructed Shandro to “finalize a decision” on the matter, but included no timelines.
The UCP included no money for a provincial service in its February budget, but instead offered cities funding to remove the RCMP and set up a local force.
Smith’s calls for a provincial police service and an Alberta pension were popular with her conservative base during the UCP leadership race, but she’ll need to attract moderate voters in Calgary’s swing ridings to win a strong majority government.
A recent Leger poll found that 58% of Albertans disagree with replacing the RCMP in communities it currently services, compared to 21% who support the idea.
On Thursday, Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley said she’s seeking to attract “conservative” voters who aren’t sold on Danielle Smith.
“You have every right to be concerned about the positions that my opponent has taken on a number of fronts,” she said.
That call came after weeks of Notley banning conservative media outlets from NDP media availabilities.
Voters will head to the polls on May 29.