Alberta’s new premier, Marlaina Danielle Smith, who took office on Tuesday, promised to stand against the federal government in Ottawa and called vaccine requirements an “unacceptable” form of discrimination in her first news conference.
During a ceremony held in Edmonton, the provincial capital, Smith was sworn in as the 19th prime minister of Alberta. She is the third woman to hold the position in the province’s history.
Later this month, the new prime minister will choose her cabinet members, and among them will be someone to take Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s place as Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
On her first day in office, Smith described those people who refused to get vaccinated as the most discriminated against group she had ever seen.
Below is the transcript of her speech:
The community that faced the most restrictions on their freedoms in the last year were those who made a choice not to be vaccinated. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a situation in my lifetime where a person was fired from their job, or not allowed to watch their kids play hockey, or not allowed to go visit a loved one in long-term care or hospital, or not allowed to go get on a plane to either go across the country to see family or even travel across the border.
So they have been the most discriminated against group that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. That’s a pretty extreme level of discrimination that we have seen. I don’t take away any of the discrimination that I’ve seen in those other groups that you mentioned. But this has been an extraordinary time in the last year in particular, and I want people to know that I find that unacceptable that we are not going to create a segregated society on the basis of a medical choice.
Watch the video below:
“They’re the most discriminated against group that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime.”
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) October 11, 2022
Global News reported:
Danielle Smith, sworn in Tuesday as Alberta’s new premier, said she will shake up the top tier of the health system within three months and amend provincial human rights law to protect those who choose not to get vaccinated.
Earlier in the day, Smith was sworn into the job by Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani at a ceremony at Government House.
In a speech there, Smith said, “Albertans have been through so much over these last 2 1/2 years. Our rights and freedoms have been tested.
“I will ensure as head of this government that those rights and freedoms are protected and will never be taken for granted again.”
Smith, 51, ran and won the United Conservative Party leadership race last week to replace Jason Kenney as leader and premier.
She ran on a promise to provide human rights protections for the unvaccinated and fire the top management of Alberta Health Services, the province’s front-line provider of care.
She said AHS botched the job during the COVID-19 pandemic by not fulfilling cabinet direction to increase surge capacity as hospitalizations soared, while also implementing vaccine rules that depleted staffing levels.
“When they fail to meet targets and fail to meet direction, you change the management. And so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Smith. “My intention would be to have a new governance structure in place within 90 days.”