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Commentary: UCP has a first year to remember

Since taking office, Premier Smith and her cabinet colleagues have launched several large-scale initiatives.

To say the first year of the Danielle Smith UCP government was a tumultuous and controversial time would be an understatement of the first order. 

Whether Albertans are ‘getting their money’s worth’ from the current regime depends very much on who you ask. What is known is that the many policy changes and new programs outlined by the government certainly have the potential to impact residents in this district and across the province for many years to come.

The May 29, 2023 election saw the UCP garner 49 seats to the NDP’s 38. With 1,763,441 votes cast, the UCP took 52.63 per cent of the votes and saw 11 fewer MLAs elected than in the 2019 provincial election.

Since taking office, Premier Smith and her cabinet colleagues have launched several large-scale initiatives.

Top of the list is the government’s ongoing efforts aimed at creating an Alberta pension plan  to replace the existing Canada Pension Plan.

For her part, Premier Smith says an APP would be good for residents and the province as a whole.

The government is currently awaiting word from Ottawa on exactly how much Alberta may be entitled to withdraw from the CCP. The premier has said a referendum will be held before a provincial pension plan is put in place.

Another initiative launched by the UCP and now in the early stages is a major shakeup of the province’s health-care system.

The government is creating four new organizations, one for each priority health services sector: acute care, primary care, continuing care and mental health and addiction.

“By streamlining operations, improving oversight and fostering collaboration, we are setting a strong foundation for a health-care system that is better equipped to address the diverse needs of each of our communities,” says Jason Nixon, Sundre-area MLA and cabinet minister.

The first year of the Smith UCP regime has been anything but dull. That said, Albertans will no doubt be watching closely to see what the next 12 months have in store.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.

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