Danielle Smith suggests ‘firing’ AHS board as part of UCP leadership forum

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Danielle Smith, vying for the top job in Alberta’s United Conservative Party, has called the province’s health authority and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) ‘lawless’ in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggested « firing » the boards of both organizations.

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His statements came at a forum for leadership candidates co-hosted by the Alberta Prosperity Project (APP) on Thursday night, an « independence » initiative that envisions Alberta as a « sovereign constitutional republic » and the right-wing media organization Rebel News.

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In a category of questions regarding Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebel News co-moderator and founder Ezra Levant asked Smith to describe a « truth and reconciliation process » through which victims could air their grievances.

Smith suggested that the Alberta government should hold Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the college must report ahead of a public review that sought input from people who have suffered during the pandemic, especially those who have lost loved ones and who are suffering. are concerned about the mental health of young people.

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« These are the things that someone has to be held accountable for, and we’re starting by putting new leadership at the top with the people who made this decision in the first place. »

CPHA’s board includes physicians elected by their colleagues and members of the public appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, as well as the deans of the faculties of medicine of the University of Alberta and the University from Calgary.

Only three of the seven United Conservative Party leadership candidates appeared on stage, including Brian Jean, MP for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, and independent MP Todd Loewen, who was ousted from the UCP caucus in May 2021 for criticizing Prime Minister Jason Kenney.

Loewen doubled down on Smith’s suggestion and argued that more than the Alberta Health Authority’s board, « AHS needs to be gutted. »

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During Question Period, Jean repeatedly attacked Smith’s controversial Alberta Sovereignty Act, a campaign plan that Smith describes on her website as legislation « authorizing our provincial government to refuse to enforce any law or federal policy that attacks the provincial interests or rights of Alberta”.

The bill has been widely criticized as illegal, unenforceable and likely to create a constitutional crisis.

Jean said he was confident he could overcome the hurdles to reopen the constitution and negotiate a « new deal » with Ottawa that would give Alberta more autonomy.

« But coming to the table, doing illegal things and avoiding the rule of law is not a good start to negotiations, » Jean said.

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Former UCP cabinet ministers Travis Toews, Rebecca Schulz, Rajan Sawhney and Leela Aheer did not attend the forum.

APP CEO Dennis Modry called the absent candidates ‘less brave’ than those present and questioned the campaign commitments of those who refused to run after initially accepting invitations to speak .

CBC reported that Toews and Schulz « backtracked and canceled » their attendance and released a joint statement saying they did not want to attend a fundraising event for « a third-party advocacy group that supports an independent Alberta. » while expressing hope that participating candidates will « reconsider their pro-separatist stances. »

In a series of tweets, Aheer said forum attendees should be held accountable for supporting a toxic culture that includes elements of « white supremacy, homophobia and racism » that have been fostered for too long in politics.


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