Danielle Smith wishes for Wildrose-PC coalition
Former Wildrose Party leader says Alberta's conservatives need to join forces as progressives unite
Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith says she wants the provincial election to result in a Wildrose-Progressive Conservative coalition government.
Smith made the comment as she took part in a panel Sunday night at the Spur Festival in Calgary, a national event for the discussion of politics and art.
Speaking at a public event for the first time since she lost her bid to be a Tory candidate, Smith said she thinks the province is in real trouble.
"When you look at the fact that we have a $7-billion hole in our budget, that is not easily going to be resolved," she said.
"I think Jim Prentice inherited a mighty mess when he came in."
Smith predicted that the fiscal box the provincial government now finds itself in will make politics at the municipal level more important.
"The place for innovation and the place that we're going to have to look to, to address emerging social issues is going to be at the local level," she said.
"I think the two most influential people on how provincial politics is going to roll out in the next number of years are going to be Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Mayor Don Iveson."
Smith said Iveson and Nenshi have already had a tremendous impact on progressive politics in Alberta, making it all the more important for Alberta's two conservative movements to unite.
"One of the things that the premier and I spoke about, and we certainly weren't expecting it to happen this election, is … boy, imagine a time in the future when either Don Iveson or Mayor Nenshi make a jump into provincial politics, we're going to see a uniting of the progressive movement," she said.
"But I don't think any of us expected that it would happen this soon, and that it would happen under Rachel Notley."
Smith said the mass floor crossing of Wildrose MLAs she led to the PCs could be part of the reason many voters seem ready for a change from the the long-incumbent Tories.
"The anger that was directed towards me when I got defeated in my riding I think it ricocheted ... that anger had to go somewhere, so I think it just sort of ricocheted back onto Prentice and the PCs."