Cabinet minister Nate Glubish switches leadership loyalties from Travis Toews to Danielle Smith

The minister of Service Alberta is the first member of cabinet and second caucus member to switch his allegiance to Smith after first endorsing Travis Toews.

Endorsements shifting as leadership race takes shape

Nate Glubish stands beside Danielle Smith. Both are smiling.
Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish poses with UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith in a photo released by Smith's campaign on Monday, Aug. 8. (Danielle Smith Campaign)

UCP MLA Nate Glubish has flipped his endorsement for UCP leader from former finance minister Travis Toews to former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. 

Glubish, the minister of Service Alberta, is the first member of cabinet and second caucus member to switch his allegiance to Smith after first endorsing Toews. 

Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn changed his endorsement last week. Rehn and Glubish join Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Pete Guthrie, Lethbridge-East MLA Nate Neudorf and Calgary-Falconridge MLA Devinder Toor in backing Smith. 

In a written statement, Glubish said modernizing government services through technology represents the most meaningful work he has undertaken since becoming an MLA in 2019.

"We need to deliver better services, faster, and for less money," Glubish wrote.

"I believe that under Danielle's leadership, we will be able to deliver better experiences for all Albertans, be it in our healthcare system, at a registry, or a government call centre."

Glubish said he supports Smith's plan to implement a digital production tax credit to incentivize more growth in gaming and digital media production. 

CBC News has reached out to Toews for comment but has not yet received a response.

Glubish's move is the latest shift in loyalties in the UCP leadership race. 

On Sunday, Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt announced on Facebook that she would no longer act as the chair of former transportation minister Rajan Sawhney's campaign. 

While she called Sawhney "a wonderful, smart and compassionate person,"  Pitt said it was time "to step back into alignment with my constituents and my values."

"I believe in a strong Alberta that will both stand up to Ottawa and respect individual freedoms," she wrote. 

The results of the UCP leadership vote will be announced on October 6. 

Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Brian Jean, Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen, Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer and Calgary-Shaw MLA and former children's services Minister Rebecca Schulz are also running to replace Jason Kenney as party leader.


Michelle Bellefontaine

Provincial affairs reporter

Michelle Bellefontaine covers the Alberta legislature for CBC News in Edmonton. She has also worked as a reporter in the Maritimes and in northern Canada.