|Leader of the Official Opposition|
April 24, 2012
|Preceded by||Raj Sherman|
|Leader of the Wildrose Party|
October 17, 2009
|Preceded by||Paul Hinman|
|MLA for Highwood|
|Preceded by||George Groeneveld|
|Born||Marlaina Danielle Smith
April 1, 1971
|Political party||Wildrose Party|
|Progressive Conservative (to 2009)|
|Spouse(s)||Sean McKinsley (divorced)
David Moretta (m. 2006)
|Alma mater||University of Calgary|
|Occupation||lobbyist and advocate|
Marlaina Danielle Smith, MLA, (born April 1, 1971) is a provincial politician in Alberta, Canada and a former journalist. Smith has served as leader of the Wildrose Party since October, 2009. She is currently the leader of the Official Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, where she represents the riding of Highwood as an MLA.
Prior to being elected leader of the Wildrose Party, Smith was the Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She has also worked as a journalist in print, radio and television. Since taking over as leader, Smith has been instrumental in the growth of the Wildrose Party, taking a party that lacked official party status to one that formed the Official Opposition within three years.
Danielle Smith was born in Calgary on April 1, 1971, and is the second of five children. Her paternal great-grandfather was Philipus Kolodnicki, a Ukrainian immigrant whose name was anglicized to "Philip Smith" upon his arrival in Canada in 1915. Growing up, her family lived in subsidized housing.
Smith attended the University of Calgary and acquired a Bachelor of Arts in English and in economics. While at university she was active with the federal and provincial Progressive Conservatives and won the presidency of the campus PC club. Smith's work in public policy began with a one-year internship with the Fraser Institute. Smith wed her second husband David Moretta, a former executive producer with Sun Media, in 2006.
At the age of 27, in 1998, Smith entered politics when she was a candidate for the board of trustees of the Calgary Board of Education. She was successful in the election but in 1999, provincial Minister of Learning Lyle Oberg dismissed the entire board after the chairwoman accused the board of being dysfunctional. Years later, Smith acknowledged she had been far too strident during her tenure as a board trustee, and said the experience taught her to be more tolerant of those with whom she disagreed. Subsequently, Smith pursued work as an advocate for ranchers, farmers and other rural land owners with the Alberta Property Rights Initiative and the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute.
After her time as a board trustee Smith joined the Calgary Herald as a columnist with the editorial board. She then went onto to succeed Charles Adler as host of the national current affairs program Global Sunday, a Sunday-afternoon interview show on Global Television. She also hosted two talk radio programs focused on health policy and property rights.
In 2004, Smith was named one of Calgary's "Top 40 Under 40".
In September 2006, she co-hosted the Calgary Congress, a national assembly of citizens and economic and constitutional specialists to consider basic federal reforms for Canada.
Smith was hired by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2006, becoming provincial director for Alberta.
Smith supported Ted Morton in the 2006 PC leadership election. Morton lost to the more centrist Ed Stelmach and Smith became increasingly disillusioned with what she claims were Stelmach's "free-spending ways". Smith cites the 2008 provincial budget as a turning point where she determined that Stelmach's government had 'lost its way'.
Smith quit the PC party in 2009. In 2009, Smith was recruited by officials of the Wildrose Alliance to run for the leadership of the party. During the course of the leadership campaign outgoing leader Paul Hinman was victorious in a by-election in the riding of Calgary-Glenmore. His win meant he was one of four in the Wildrose caucus; by the time Smith was elected leader on October 17, 2009, support for the party had quadrupled since the 2008 election. After Smith was elected leader, support for the Wildrose Party continued to grow. Smith convinced three PCs who served in government to cross the floor to join the Wildrose Party: Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth, and later Guy Boutiller.
For most of the time before the 2012 provincial election, it appeared that Smith was poised to become the first woman to lead a party to victory in an Alberta election. Numerous polls indicated that the Wildrose Party could defeat the governing Progressive Conservatives – who were also led by a woman, Premier Alison Redford. The PCs had governed the province since 1971, the second-longest unbroken run in government at the provincial level.
The Wildrose Party won seats in 17 out of 87 constituencies  on 34.3% of the popular vote, and took over Official Opposition status from the Alberta Liberal Party. Smith was elected to the Legislature representing the southern Alberta riding of Highwood on the same day, defeating John Barlow, editor of the Okotoks Western Wheel.
Political pundits suggested Wildrose lost their early polling lead over the Progressive Conservatives due to Smith's defence of two Wildrose candidates who had made controversial remarks. Allan Hunsperger, running in an Edmonton riding, had written a blog post claiming that gays would end up in a "lake of fire" if they did not renounce their lifestyle. Ron Leech had claimed he would have a leg up on the competition in his Calgary riding because he was white. According to the National Post, Hunsperger and Leech's extreme views, as well as Smith's refusal to condemn them, cost her a chance of unseating Redford. Ultimately, Wildrose was denied victory mainly because it was unable to get any foothold in the urban areas. It won only two seats in Calgary and was completely shut out in Edmonton (though Smith's riding is on Calgary's southern fringe).
In appraising the election results at the Wildrose 2012 annual general meeting, Smith advocated freezing out candidates who cannot respectfully communicate their views in future elections. Smith asked members to adopt a forward-looking policy platform for the next election.
Smith presents herself as a libertarian, particularly on moral issues. She has a declared affinity towards former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, and to Stephen Harper, with whom she shared a mentor, Tom Flanagan. Smith distanced herself and the Wildrose Party from Flanagan in February 2013, after he made controversial remarks regarding child pornography. She has been described as media-savvy and adept at presenting a professional and polished image.
She lives in High River, a town South of Calgary.
- "Candidate - Marlaina Danielle Smith Campaign 2012". Elections Alberta. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Sharpe, Sydney (April 16, 2012). "Danielle Smith: Is she Alberta's Sarah Palin, or the future of Canada?". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Danielle Smith Wildrose Leader profile". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- Verma, Sonia (12 November 2010). "Danielle Smith: ‘My life will fall under the microscope’". Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- Wood, James (1 April 2012). "Party leader profile: Wildrose Party Danielle Smith". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
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- "Top 40 Under 40 Alumni". Avenue Calgary. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "The Calgary Congress 2006". Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
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- "Tories stunning defeat sends strong message to Stelmach". CTV. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Provincial Vote Intention Alberta Public Opinion Study – Fall 2009". Lethbridge College. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "New Wildrose leader ready to take on Stelmach Tories". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
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- MacArthur, Mary (26 March 2012). "Alberta vote shaping up to be closest one seen in decades". The Western Producer. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- McLean, Tanara (26 March 2012). "'Break from the past': Wildrose leader". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Thomson, Graham (26 March 2012). "Thomson: Countdown to April 23 vote starts today". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Social issues sank Wildrose during campaign, experts say". 2012-04-24.
- "Barlow loses Highwood". Okotoks Online. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- "Western Wheel contact page". Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- Graveland, Bill. "Alberta Election 2012: Danielle Smith Defends Controversial Candidates Ron Leech And Allan Hunsperger".
- "Looking to the future, Wildrose leader pushes for a more progressive approach". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- "Wildrose dumps campaign manager Tom Flanagan over child pornography comments". Calgary Herald. March 1, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- "Wildrose Leader Smith condemns Flanagan's child porn remarks". Wildrose Party. February 28, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- Den Tandt, Michael (April 18, 2012). "Danielle Smith and Wildrose ride the wave". POSTMEDIA NEWS via The Province.
|Order of precedence|
|Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2013[update]
Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada resident in Alberta