Discrimination against the unvaccinated: Danielle Smith clarifies her thinking
Alberta’s newest premier, Danielle Smith, already found herself having to explain her thinking on Wednesday after widely criticized remarks about the unvaccinated on Tuesday in the wake of her nomination as head of the province .
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Shortly after being officially named Prime Minister, Ms Smith caused an outcry when she claimed that unvaccinated people « are the most discriminated group I have seen in my life ». She made the remarks when announcing that she plans to replace the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who led Alberta’s public health throughout the pandemic.
Many groups and politicians denounced these comments, leading the Prime Minister to clarify her thoughts on Wednesday, without however withdrawing them or apologizing.
« My intention was to highlight the mistreatment of individuals who chose not to be vaccinated and who were punished by not being able to work, not travel or, in some cases, not see their loved ones, » he said. – she said, assuring that she did not want to compare the fate of the non-vaccinated to that of marginalized communities.
Several organizations for the defense of immigrants, natives or sexual diversity have criticized the Prime Minister, deeming her remarks insensitive vis-à-vis marginalized communities.
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley agreed. “First Nations communities are still grappling with the effects of the genocide. For the Premier of this province to ignore this trauma and say that unvaccinated people are the most discriminated against group in Alberta goes against all the work that we still have to do, ”she denounced.
The issue of pandemic management has been hotly debated in Alberta. Opponents of health measures – although they were less pronounced than elsewhere in the country – heavily criticized Prime Minister Jason Kenney on this issue, leading to a vote of confidence that he narrowly won in the spring. Mr. Kenney subsequently decided to resign.