Earlier this year, then-Premier Jason Kenney announced his resignation as leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta. This move would also mean that he would be vacating his position as the province's premier.

Kenney's decision came as a surprise for many. He had just won a confidence vote regarding his leadership, but it was by a rather slim margin. Thus, he apparently opted to step away. Albeit with the possibility of a return at a later date. But for the time being at least, the dual role of UCP leader and premier of Alberta has been filled.

Danielle Smith formally sworn in as the new premier of Alberta

Danielle Smith is now officially Alberta's new premier. She officially took the office on October 11, 2022. It came after winning the race to become the new leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party the week before.

Smith emerged victorious after a lengthy leadership election process. After six rounds of voting, Smith was eventually declared the winner. Opinion polling had indicated a significant late shift in favor of Smith. For a good chunk of the campaign, it had been something of a three-horse race. Along with Smith, it included former Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews and former Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean.

Danielle Smith's campaign, though obviously successful, was a polarizing one.

Her platform was what could be described as being outright hostile towards the Canadian federal government. Including what she called the Alberta Sovereignty Act. In a nutshell, it's a claim that the premier can essentially ignore federal laws they don't like. But quite rapidly after actually taking over as premier, Smith's tone changed.

According to Reuters, she indicated she would respect federal laws and court rulings, even if she disagrees with them.

Smith does not at present hold a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, but that's likely s to change. She's running in an upcoming by-election for the seat from the Riding of Brooks-Medicine Hat, located in the province's southeast.

Smith is expected to win the race. The seat's previous holder, Michaela Frey, resigned to clear a path for Smith to win an Assembly spot.

The next Alberta general election is scheduled for May of next year. Smith will probably be the face of the UCP in that election. Thus far, polling has gone back and forth, showing the UCP and the Alberta New Democratic Party in the lead.

Previously led the Wildrose Party

Danielle Smith is a native of Calgary. She would graduate from the University of Calgary and later be elected to the city's board of education. At the time, Smith was a Progressive Conservative. But not long after, she and the rest of the board would be dismissed amidst reports of dysfunction.

Smith would go into journalism, joining the Calgary Herald. Later, she became the host of the television news program "Global Sunday" and of a pair of radio shows. In 2009, she dropped her affiliation with the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, joining the Wildrose Party.

Starting later that year, she would be the party's leader. In the 2012 provincial general election, she led the party to winning the second-most seats in the Assembly. Surpassing the Alberta Liberal Party, but still falling well short of the Progressive Conservatives. Smith herself won an Assembly seat in the election from the Riding of Highwood. As the head of the second-biggest party in the legislature, she became the leader of the Official Opposition.

Smith left her leadership roles, and the Wildrose Party altogether, in 2014. She re-joined the Progressive Conservatives, but the party did not nominate her for re-election to the Assembly from Highwood. In 2017, the parties merged together to become the United Conservative Party.