After United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Danielle Smith’s re-election as premier in Alberta, political experts in Saskatchewan predict the two provinces will continue their close alignment on issues such as climate and energy policies.
Following the UCP’s majority win over Rachel Notley’s New Democrats on Monday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe took to Twitter to congratulate Smith.
“I look forward to the continued cooperation and collaboration between our two provinces as we address the challenges facing western Canada and build a prosperous future for this generation and the next,” Moe wrote.
Congratulations to Premier <a href=”https://twitter.com/ABDanielleSmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ABDanielleSmith</a> and the <a href=”https://twitter.com/Alberta_UCP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Alberta_UCP</a> on their majority win this evening. <br> <br>I look forward to the continued cooperation and collaboration between our two provinces as we address the challenges facing western Canada and build a prosperous future for…Ads
Brad Wall, who served as Saskatchewan’s premier from 2007 to 2018, told CBC on Tuesday that Saskatchewan has always tried to have a close relationship with Alberta.
“Sometimes there are federal issues or issues within the Confederation that you’d want an ally to help with. And so I think both premiers will be looking to each other. I think Alberta and Saskatchewan are going to continue to work together, and should,” Wall said.
The former premier said Saskatchewan and Alberta have similar economies and that there is a great deal of migration between the two provinces.
Wall said he expects Moe and Smith will be teaming up to take on Ottawa over issues such as federal energy policies. One of the concerns the current premiers have is reaching net-zero emissions by 2035. Wall shares that concern.
“Heading down that road could be very expensive in terms of rates for our two economies and our two provinces,” said Wall, noting that Smith has signalled she will be challenging federal electricity regulations.
Saskatchewan’s upcoming election
Dale Eisler, senior policy fellow at the University of Regina’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, said the UCP win in Alberta on Monday is beneficial to the current Saskatchewan government.
“I think it means that the Saskatchewan-Alberta alliance which we’ve seen coalesce since the days of Jason Kenney and even before that with Premier Wall … that alliance is going to stay intact and frame relations between these two provinces and the federal government,” Eisler said.
Moe has said he will once again run for Saskatchewan’s top job in the 2024 provincial election. Eisler said the issue of energy will be front and centre, and voters will watch closely how each party tackles it.
“At the core of this conflict — if you want to call it that — between Saskatchewan, Alberta and the federal government, is climate and energy policy. This government here and the Smith government in Alberta position that issue as one that’s an attack on the provinces’ economy and future growth,” Eisler said.
“It becomes a kind of fundamental defining issue. And it’s one that causes great, great difficulty for the opposition … the NDP in both provinces.”
Sask. NDP respond to UCP win
As of Tuesday, CBC projected UCP victories in 49 ridings with 38 going to the NDP. Smith’s party took 52.6 per cent of the popular vote with 44 per cent going to their main rivals.
Saskatchewan’s Opposition leader Carla Beck said that while she was disappointed to see Smith re-elected, she is encouraged by how tight the race was between the UCP and the Alberta NDP.
“I look at how hard Rachel Notley and her team have worked, not just over the course of this election, but going back prior to 2015,” said Beck.
She says the NDP next door have built up trust and credibility among voters, making that party a “viable alternative in a in a two-party system.”
“That really is extraordinary. I was hoping we’d see them break that government threshold again, but just looking at what they’ve built … I think it is a once-in-a-generation lesson from a once-in-a-generation politician.”
Beck will lead her party in Saskatchewan’s next election in 2024.
Listen to more on the Alberta election on CBC’s Blue Sky:
Blue Sky51:44What does the outcome of the Alberta election mean for Saskatchewan?