Marlaina Danielle Smith ECA MLA (born April 1, 1971) is a Canadian politician and former journalist who has been serving as the 19th premier of Alberta since October 11, 2022, and leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) since October 6, 2022. Smith entered provincial politics in 2009, becoming the leader of the Wildrose Party. She won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 2012, serving as leader of the Opposition until 2014, when she resigned to join the governing Progressive Conservatives (PCs). She was the member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Highwood from 2012 until 2015, and became MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat on November 8, 2022.
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. During this time she shared opinions on healthcare, including her belief that cancer is preventable up to the fourth stage, that hydroxychloroquine cures COVID, and that patients should seek donations from friends, family, and strangers for treatment. Smith contributed to the growth of the Wildrose Party. The party formed the Official Opposition three years after gaining official party status. Smith lives in High River, a town south of Calgary, where she owns and operates a restaurant with her husband.
On March 31, 2022, Smith announced her intention to run in the United Conservative Party leadership election. Upon Premier Jason Kenney’s resignation announcement on May 18, 2022, Smith announced her campaign in the leadership election, which was scheduled for October 6, 2022. Smith’s campaign gained national attention, particularly due to her proposals to extend Albertan autonomy. On October 6, 2022, Smith won the UCP leadership election defeating six other candidates as determined by instant-runoff voting. On the sixth and final ballot she was declared the winner taking 53 per cent of the vote, defeating former finance minister Travis Toews.
After graduating with an English major, Smith briefly lived in Vancouver where she worked as a waitress and as an extra in movie and TV productions. Smith returned to the University of Calgary to major in economics. One of her professors was Tom Flanagan, a conservative political activist and advisor, who would become a mentor for Smith. Flanagan in 1996 recommended Smith for a one-year public policy internship with the Fraser Institute and would become her campaign manager during the 2012 Alberta general election.[