Danielle Smith Backs Down At World Economic Forum, Says Feds Will Be Treated As Alberta Lobbyist

EDMONTON — At Premier Danielle Smith’s first UCP convention as leader, she backed down from attacking her health authority’s partnership with the World Economic Forum while doubling down on her controversial pledge to disregard various federal policies. in Alberta.

His comments came during his media appearance after delivering what was a well-received speech – much of which focused on attacking the province’s “socialist” and “woke” New Democrats – in front of some 1,800 party members in a large event hall at the River Cree Resort. & Casino in Edmonton on Saturday.

The party has undergone sweeping changes in recent months as Jason Kenney left the Prime Minister’s Office along with many high-level political staffers. Smith is the town’s new sheriff and this week she began making her mark by appointing a cabinet that signaled stability and continuity by keeping the most high-profile ministers mostly as they were under Kenney.

His keynote address on Saturday focused on party unity, health care reform and cost cutting for families in Alberta. He received loud applause and several standing ovations from party members.

Political observers and some party members who mingled just outside the event hall spoke of the importance of clear and responsible communication from the leader going forward.

Smith reiterated plans on Saturday for her Alberta sovereignty law, which has yet to be fully detailed but which she says would allow the province to circumvent federal laws that “intervene” on its jurisdiction.

« If they want to sue us, we’ll fight in court, » Smith said after being asked if the province would respect the Supreme Court’s rulings.

After saying that the federal government « makes laws that are unconstitutional all the time, » Smith gave examples of areas she would resist, such as federal building codes, plastic bans and child care funding.

« I have instructed our staff to treat the federal government as a lobbyist, » Smith said. « So when they come into one of our departments and they’re looking to influence or change policy, I’m going to have to be notified. »

Smith’s comments on Saturday also came just 24 hours after, during an appearance on an internet live stream, Smith ranted about the Alberta Health Service’s ‘partnership with the World Economic Forum’ signed during the pandemic and said « we have to fix it ».

“Why the hell do we have anything to do with the World Economic Forum? This must stop.

But responding to reporters’ questions on Saturday, she did not elaborate on her WEF comments which some observers said were based on conspiratorial misconceptions about the international organization trying to take control of world governments, dismantle capitalism and using COVID-19 as a pretext. .

“Listen, as you know, there are certain forums that are entertainment forums. I’ve been on an entertainment forum for a long time,” Smith said, addressing his livestream remarks. Smith was herself a popular radio show host for years.

« I recognize that you’re in the industry to make sure you find the most outrageous statements that can get a lot of clicks, » she told reporters, while acknowledging there were a number statements of this type recently.

“I am here to govern. I’m here to talk about the things that are most important to Albertans,” Smith said.

It’s unclear which partnership she was referring to, but Alberta Health Services has joined the WEF Global Coalition for Value in Healthcare, a global partnership where solutions can be explored to deliver better health outcomes. and “new, innovative approaches to people-centred health care. ”

An impromptu apology to those accused during the COVID-19 pandemic of breaking public health restrictions, especially pastors and churches, was also offered by Smith during his media availability.

« I am deeply sorry for anyone who has been inappropriately discriminated against because of their vaccination status, » she said.

Smith said she would see to it that charges against COVID-19 rule breakers be dropped during the pandemic. On Saturday, she said she was seeking legal advice on how best to proceed after experts questioned what powers a prime minister would have to grant pardons.

A provincial election looms for the United Conservatives, who in May face off against a well-funded NDP led by Rachel Notley. Smith must unify the party after what has been a contentious leadership race where some other candidates, who will serve in his cabinet, have criticized Smith’s sovereignty law as dangerous.

Smith’s first two weeks as prime minister were also difficult. Alberta’s new premier was sworn in on October 11, a Tuesday where she held a press conference and said unvaccinated people were the most discriminated against group she had ever seen.

The following Wednesday, she offered clarification on what she meant and said she did not want to trivialize other forms of discrimination.

On Friday of the same week, freelance journalist Justin Ling posted comments she had made on an obscure social media site where she appeared to be repeating Russian misinformation, particularly around US funding for biolabs in Ukraine.

During a separate livestream, Smith also suggested that Ukraine should be a neutral country, while being attacked by Russia.

Several days after the comments surfaced, she apologized for « misinformed » comments about the war in Ukraine.

Smith herself recently admitted that her first few days in the Prime Minister’s Office had been « bumpy ».


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