Southern Alberta MLA resigns, encourages Danielle Smith to run in the seat

An Alberta legislature member has resigned and is encouraging the freshly chosen United Conservative Party leader — and next premier — to run for her seat in a byelection.

Michaela Frey, who had earlier signalled she did not intend to compete in the 2023 provincial election, says it’s her hope that Danielle Smith will choose to run in the constituency of Brooks-Medicine Hat.

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Frey says in a statement that Smith’s vision will breathe new life into southeastern Alberta and put it on the map for investors and exciting opportunities.

Read more: Smith needs to unify UCP after close vote to win party leadership: political commentators

Smith is meeting with her UCP caucus Friday and beginning to put her stamp on the party and government.

She is to be sworn in Tuesday to replace outgoing Premier Jason Kenney.

Smith defeated six rivals in party voting Thursday, capturing nearly 54 per cent of the vote on the sixth and final ballot to claim victory.

Kenney announced he was quitting in May after receiving 51 per cent support in a party leadership review.

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Read more: Danielle Smith wins UCP leadership race, to be next Alberta premier

Smith is a former journalist, business owner and leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party, which merged with the Progressive Conservatives five years ago to form the UCP.

She won on a platform to fight future COVID-19 health restrictions and federal policies deemed to be impeding the growth of Alberta’s oil and gas economy.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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