Alberta NDP attacks Danielle Smith again for defending unvaccinated Albertans

On May 8, Rachel Notley expressed outrage over a video from 2021 where Smith compared the rush for people to get vaccinated to a citizenry that 'succumbed to the charms of tyrants' and to those 'who claim to have all the answers.'

Alberta NDP attacks Danielle Smith again for defending unvaccinated Albertans
The Canadian Press / Jeff McIntosh and The Canadian Press / Jason Franson
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Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley launched her bid for premier on May 1 by taking a swipe against Danielle Smith and the unvaccinated. She claimed Smith peddled "conspiracies" concerning vaccines and healthcare while attempting to elevate the NDP as a party of "science and evidence."

On May 8, Notley expressed outrage over a video from 2021 where Smith compared the rush for people to get vaccinated to a citizenry that "succumbed to the charms of tyrants" and to those "who claim to have all the answers." 

The NDP leader appeared to conflate those comments by suggesting Smith was referring to German tyrant Adolf Hitler.

"What we have here is a Premier looking at all Albertans who stepped up — who followed the science and protected themselves, their neighbours, and Alberta's most vulnerable — and she is comparing them to the architects of an anti-Semitic genocide," tweeted Notley.

"This is why Albertans cannot trust Danielle Smith's leadership. You deserve better. You deserve so much better."

According to the Fraser Institute, public health lockdowns devastated the economy and are considered a "radical and untried social policy." Smith challenged the long-term effects of the COVID measures on household incomes, the economy and mental health. 

From March 2020 to July 2021, pediatric emergency visits for suicide attempts by minors rose 22% compared to rates before the pandemic across 18 countries. Emergency department visits also rose 8% for those experiencing suicidal ideation from the same age group.

Even as the number of children and youth coming to the emergency department for viral illnesses began to decrease at the beginning of 2023, after an unprecedented surge, demand for mental health treatment remained high and continues, according to CHEO spokesperson Patrick Moore.

"The mental health surge just keeps on going," he said

"The kids are, in fact, not alright," said Dr. Sheri Madigan from the University of Calgary. 

Last October 22, Smith apologized for the COVID lockdowns, which disproportionately targeted unvaccinated Albertans.

"I don't think I've ever experienced a situation where a person was fired from their job or not allowed to watch their kids play hockey or visit a loved one in long-term care or the hospital," said Smith.

"I am deeply sorry to anyone inappropriately subjected to discrimination owing to their vaccination status and any government employee fired. I welcome them back."

"Over and over, findings showed only minor positive effects on death rates. The most recent and thorough meta-analysis found that after combining all lockdown effects, there was only an average reduction in mortality of 3.2 percent," claimed the Fraser Institute.

The Imperial College of London model predicted 132,687 COVID-related deaths in Canada by July 30, 2020, with full lockdowns in place. By that date, only 9,019 Canadians had died from COVID. 

"All lockdown efforts amounted to almost nothing," but the actual estimates of most of these costs are still unavailable, continued a message from the institute.

When asked about offering amnesty to those prosecuted for breaking COVID rules, Smith said she would pursue it but reversed course in January, given Canada works differently than other jurisdictions.

A Leger poll commissioned by Rebel News uncovered 73% of UCP supporters wanted the province to drop pandemic prosecutions against pastors and small businesses. However, half of Albertans oppose such an amnesty. 

Those most opposed are 86% of NDP supporters, of which 70% "strongly oppose" the move. Nearly three in five (59%) of Albertans 55 years and older oppose amnesty for offenders, including 43% who "strongly oppose" a lenient approach.

On January 19, the UCP created a panel to review its predecessor's governance lapses during the COVID pandemic to improve future responses to health emergencies. 

"Albertans can have confidence Alberta's pandemic response will be reviewed by these medical, policy, legal and economic experts so our province can better respond to the next public health emergency," said Smith, expressing remorse for how the party handled the pandemic.

The COVID review panel, led by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, has until November 15 to submit a final report. The NDP pledged to cancel the panel should they form a government on May 29.

"There are valuable lessons we learned from the Alberta government's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency," said Smith. "We must apply those lessons to strengthen our management of future public health crises, and the panel's recommendations will be key."

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