June 16th, 2024

Danielle Smith focused on bizarre ideas, not responsible gov’t

By Lethbridge Herald on November 26, 2022.

Shannon Phillips – NDP MLA for Lethbridge West

By many accounts, Alberta should be doing well: we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, resource prices are high and our provincial treasury has the resources to help working families and seniors with the spike in the cost of living. Our government is remarkably well-positioned to make sure that this winter is fair and safe for everyone, and that we can begin to rebuild our healthcare system. In Lethbridge, this is particularly urgent given thousands of us no longer have a family doctor.

Recent announcements by Danielle Smith are an attempt to reverse the many bad UCP decisions to raise our income taxes, jack our user fees, and reduce our benefits. Some modest relief for seniors and those with children – timed exclusively around the election next year – are a back-of-the-napkin, frantic approach to undo some of the damage. Making sure inflation doesn’t raise our income tax or reduce our benefits was a UCP hit to all of our pocketbooks, by next year, they say they will take action on it. Many Albertans do not trust the UCP to take these actions to protect them from inflation. 

Danielle Smith’s actions so far betray a chaotic direction from the Premier’s Office rather than a careful, practical plan that will cap increases in car insurance, cap electricity rates or invest our budget surplus to pay for services in the future. 

Rather than focus on fiscally responsible, pragmatic government, Danielle Smith is focused on extreme and downright bizarre ideas that have nothing to do with the real challenges faced by folks in southern Alberta. While families are worried about groceries and bills, Danielle Smith is writing unconstitutional legislation that will apparently allow Alberta to ignore federal laws, including the Criminal Code. This silly idea – what Smith calls the “Sovereignty Act” –  if it has any substance at all, will simply be struck down by the courts, in which case it is a make-work project for lawyers. If the Act is just a symbolic gesture, it will contribute to uncertainty for investors and those who want to move here and create jobs. Either way, this flirtation with separatism, to appease extremists far outside the mainstream, is a waste of time, money and effort. A premier should not indulge such nonsense.

Meanwhile, Danielle Smith is creating chaos in health care. Our exhausted frontline workers haven’t even had a chance to get their feet under them after the last two and a half years of fighting the pandemic. But the UCP have decided now is the time for risky destabilization of Alberta Health Services. Meanwhile, Smith has stated she would like to ensure Albertans pay out of pocket for more services, such as visits to a family doctor.

I’ve said before in this column that public healthcare is a promise that all Canadians made to each other over 50 years ago. It’s part of the social concrete beneath our feet: that everyone – regardless of your paycheque or region or background – deserves to be taken care of when we get sick. I will always believe that, and I will always fight to preserve and grow our system so that we can continue to get the care that we need (including family physicians here in Lethbridge!), and that the hard-working staff who provide those services are given the respect that they deserve.

It’s clear that the UCP are not committed to respect for public health care – not the folks who work in it or the Albertans who rely on it. Albertans know that Rachel Notley and her entire Alberta NDP team will always stand up for public health care.

Finally, as finance critic, I have been watching Alberta rack up a budget surplus due to a spike in the price of oil. The 2022 price spike was due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – a war that Premier Danielle Smith supported at the time. I believe Alberta’s surplus revenues need to be carefully managed in a fiscally responsible way. That is why our NDP Opposition has asked retired chief eonomist of ATB Financial, Todd Hirsch, to provide advice on how to best invest our surplus to build a resilient Alberta economy. It is also why our NDP Opposition pledged to save at least half our budget surplus so that we can invest those savings and have revenue to pay for health care and education for decades to come. We will have more to say about our fiscal anchors and investment blueprint for private sector growth in the weeks to come.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if you require assistance with provincial programs. You can reach us by calling 403-329-4644 or by emailing Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca.

Finally, if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health this time of year, please know that you are not alone and that there are many of your neighbours who are feeling the same way. To find out more about resources, visit albertahealthservices.ca/amh. Those in immediate distress can call the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Southwestern Alberta Distress Line at 403-327-7905 or toll free 1-888-787-2880. This line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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For someone who was part of the 70 billion dollar debt, increasing wait times at hospitals, adding thousands of bureaucrats to the payroll and turning our city into a cesspool of drug addition and theft with the SCS, I have a hard time believing that you are in this for the “little guy”.
Here is a good example in which you are in direct conflict with. On one hand you want higher wages and on the other you want to save the planet.


Last edited 1 year ago by buckwheat
Southern Albertan

Agreed. Here’s more:
“Danielle Smith is in deep trouble – and she just keeps digging”
And what indicates how many Albertans would agree:
There will be, again, much, which will need to be reversed, and fixed, once the UCP lose the next provincial election.

Last edited 1 year ago by Southern Albertan

The West Leth. Shrieker is behind in her columns. This is clearly a whining script writen before Smiths last address to Albertans.
I caught Phillips presser after the address and she looked positiviely distraught at Smiths having adressed the concerns of Albertans and put to rest much of the NDP propaganda.
I take it, from this column and the presser that he NDP line again headed to an election will be ” we good/ they bad” with nothing of substance offered up other than spend spend spend and run up the debt with plenty of goodies for their union friends.
BTW : How is it the NDP are so vehement in opposing the idea of each Albertan getting a Heath Spending Account of approx $300 to pay for things not currently covered under Blue Cross, yet they in their 4 years of terror allowed this perk to civil servant and other unions to exist? Is it only ” US style medicine” when the beneficiares of these perks are people with too much sense to vote NDP ??? Is this typical socialist ” all people are equal but some are more equal than others” logic ???


8 out of the top 10 employers in this City are government. How dare the two that are not have employees get government health spending accounts. You nailed it. WLS, great moniker.

Elohssa Gib

The HSA is part of the Blue Cross coverage package. Other providers of extended health benefits have similar products. The concern many people have expressed, is that DS’s long-term plan is to have people use the HSA for things currently covered by Alberta Health. DS has spoken in the past about using the HSA for visits to your GP. And when the HSA is exhausted then folks will need to find other ways to cover the cost of any additional visits, not to mention other services and procedures. In the long run that opens the door for private insurance companies. So ask yourself, when is the last time your insurance company acted in your interests as opposed to their interests?
And I object to you referring to our MLA as “The West Leth. Shrieker”. Surely, we have the capacity to have a civil conversation and discuss our differences without resorting to that sort of behaviour.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elohssa Gib

You miss my point EG. Civil Servants and unions get a HSA as part of their compensation package, and at least in the case of civil servants do NOT pay any premium for med/dental/HSA coverage. [ it is a taxable benefit but no deduction from pay is made] I know this as I was a manager in the civil service for decades. A “citizen” who wants this coverage and does not get it through their employer is out of pocket the costs or must do without. When I left the HSA claim max was a whopping $500/yr and the items that qualified were in my assessment ridiculous [ books, exercise mats etc ]. All this for people making six figure salaries.
The NDP fear US boggie men if ” citizens” are given even $300 to help with expenses, which I trust would not be defined in such a specious manner as the unions enjoy.
If ther fear is that sharing this benefit paves the road to damnation then what say we take the perk away fromn the unions and civil service? A level playing field is the socialist ideal so let’s hear the NDP make this part of their election platform and loudly proclaim it to the unions.
Not going to happen EG…..

Elohssa Gib

I did not miss your point. DS is on record that she sees the HSA model as setting the stage (or you could say priming the pump) for pay-as-you-go health care. She has deliberately conflated her HSA idea with the sort of package you describe, which I agree includes some goofy stuff.

But on that question, why have employers pushed for the HSA model? In my experience it’s because there is a benefit to them. In most plans any leftover $ in a person’s HSA’s is clawed back by the employer. Why else would employers push for the HSA model if it didn’t benefit their bottom line? And don’t forget that in order to pay for the HSA — because there is not such thing as a free lunch — basic coverage on things like routine medications is often reduced, in some cases that I am familiar with from 100% to 80%. HSA’s in my estimation are a bait and switch and typically serve the interests of employers and the insurance companies.

And since my dialogue box is still open, I’d like to say that I object to you referring to our MLA in such a derogatory manner, as “The West Leth. Shrieker”. Surely we have the capacity to have a civil conversation and discuss our differences without resorting to that sort of behaviour.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elohssa Gib
Elohssa Gib

If you are still uncertain as to why many people are concerned that our Premier’s plan regarding the HSA is setting the stage for the private delivery of health care, not to mention a bonanza payday for the insurance industry, I urge you to read Don Braid’s column in the Calgary Herald published on November 24. Here’s the link:

Last edited 1 year ago by Elohssa Gib

Consider the source.

Elohssa Gib

As the Premier’s comments appear in quotation marks, you are accusing the Herald journalist of fabricating statements. This is s very serious matter so you should draw this to the attention of the publisher of the Calgary Herald. Unless, you are simply gaslighting.


Where to begin with a an answer to this constant output of negativity from a person who has little knowledge of economics or fiscal discipline.
Firstly , even when the UCP makes changes that the NDP agrees with, somehow they are still vilified. This from a former government who racked up $ 50 billion in additional debt, appointed a former bus driver to cabinet , and a former high school teacher to the energy portfolio. As far as health care is concerned , it was interesting to note comments from a board member of AHS who said that he was glad that he had been fired for he believed that an administrator would do a better job, and be closer to government policies. It remains to be seen how a new approach will work out, only time will tell.
As far as the sovereignty act is concerned,condemning it before it has even been issued is premature , to say the least, but typical of NDP thought processes.
There is nothing bizarre about a government attempt to defend Alberta against an overreaching federal government who clearly is out to destroy the oil and gas industry.
I for one am sick and tired of Shannon Phillips constant stream of uniformed , vitriolic,, and negative comments.


Nailed it. Nothing but negativity, systemic amongst her flock.

Redneck From Manyberries

Shannon Philips is a member of the Official Opposition. It’s her job to be critical of the government and their policies.


shouldn’t she therefore base her critical comments on facts and not her venting of innuendoes?

Redneck From Manyberries

Why don’t you take the dust cover off your old Underwood and type up a letter to the editor detailing the errors and vented innuendoes in Ms Phillips’ column?

Last edited 1 year ago by Redneck From Manyberries
pursuit diver

Shannon and the NDP have their cyber-attack team operational for social media it appears. They don’t understand that many of us don’t worry whether we get a plus or minue, like or dislike, we are just making our point!
Not sure who I will vote for but it won’t be for her! She is a venomous person who personifies the term “Hell has not fury like a woman scorned”. Not a great trait of a good politician!

Yeh and she could possibly provide the whole story and not just carry on about how wonderful she and the rest are.



“Bizarre” Well what is truly bizarre is the fact that Ms. Phillips has filed a $400K lawsuit along with “punitive damages” so probably 1/2 Million dollar action against the LPS and/or various individuals. Well will this end? Is Ms. Phillips also planning a “Go Fund Me” campaign, you know, something to replace her MLA salary come next year’s election!

Last edited 1 year ago by HaroldP