Smith’s comments on discrimination used as recruiting tool in Ontario

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s comments about unvaccinated people experiencing the worst discrimination of any group in her life led to a critical article in an international publication, a recruitment effort at the outside the province targeting Alberta health care workers and to the opposition saying it has made the province an international embarrassment.

Smith did not apologize for the comments, but has since said she does not want to trivialize the discrimination faced by minority communities and other persecuted groups.

Following the comments, the CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa took to Twitter to try to lure out any disgruntled healthcare workers in Alberta looking of a new opportunity elsewhere.

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Danielle Smith responds to comments that the unvaccinated are ‘the most discriminated group’

« Hello Alberta healthcare workers, » tweeted Alex Munter.

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« We think racism is bad, vaccination is good, and we love workplace health and safety, » the tweet continued. « Come join us. »

« Come on, we’ve got a job for you, » Munter said in an interview with Global News on Thursday afternoon.

« Even a handful of new recruits on a tweet is a pretty good payback. »

The comments also received coverage in the US-based Forbes magazine, which is published in various editions around the world. The author called the comments dangerous, not just for public health policy, but for marginalized people.

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‘The most discriminated against group’: Alberta premier pledges to protect the unvaccinated

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« It demeans people who have suffered a lot of injustice, it makes it look like it’s no big deal, » senior Forbes contributor Bruce Y. Lee told Global News. Lee is also a professor of health policy management at the City University of New York.

« It’s a story about Alberta in one of the most widely read business publications in the world, » Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said at a Thursday morning news conference.

“This is a story that damages Alberta’s reputation, and we will now have to spend months unraveling it.

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Premier Smith’s comments spark criticism of ‘Alberta Calling’ campaign

Notley is calling on Premier Smith to retract her comments and apologize in a bid to begin repairing the damage she has done to marginalized Albertans and the province’s reputation.

“Over the past 48 hours I have been overwhelmed with thousands and thousands of people who have contacted me who feel deeply hurt and frankly a bit scared following the comments of our new Prime Minister,” he said. said the leader of the Alberta NDP on Thursday. .

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« We understand that hundreds of thousands of Albertans are discriminated against every day because of characteristics over which they have no choice. »

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Alberta is currently running an advertising campaign in Ontario and British Columbia called Alberta is Calling. This encourages people from those provinces to move to Alberta for better paying jobs and to communities with a lower cost of living.

David Soberman, professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, says it’s been a very effective ad campaign and he doesn’t believe Smith’s comments this week will cause lasting harm to the Alberta brand.

« Politicians, certainly in the early days of their tenure, it’s not uncommon to make missteps, » Soberman said.

« At the time it was quite outrageous, but there is a lot of news every day, and in a few days I think that will be in the past. »

Click to play video: 'Alberta nurses and NDP concerned about Premier Danielle Smith's health care plans'

Alberta nurses and NDP concerned about Premier Danielle Smith’s health care plans

Smith’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Canadian Press on Thursday.

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Smith won the leadership of Alberta’s ruling UCP last week to become the new premier on a promise to no longer require vaccines or health restrictions that violate individual freedoms.

A former journalist, Smith said in early 2021: « My entire adult life and career has been spent questioning authority, institutions and conventional wisdom. »

In a May 2003 column for the Calgary Herald newspaper, she questioned whether smoking was harmful to health. “Evidence shows that moderate cigarette smoking can reduce traditional disease risks by 75% or more,” she wrote.

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In October 2012, as leader of the opposition Wildrose party, Smith declared that people in poverty should be fed beef contaminated with E. coli, so that the unsaleable product is not wasted.

“We all know meat is safe to eat if cooked properly,” Smith tweeted.

As a radio talk show host in 2020, she retweeted — and later apologized for doing so — a false claim that the drug hydroxychloroquine could beat COVID-19. A year later, she backed ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug for livestock that was touted and then debunked as a possible cure for COVID-19.

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Last July, during the UCP leadership campaign, Smith released a video of his interview with a naturopath in which Smith says responsibility for early-stage cancer is within a person’s control. Patients and medical professionals called the comment deeply misinformed and cruel.

Opponents of Smith’s leadership criticized her, including one who had lost her son to cancer, and she apologized for the hurt she had caused.

She said she spoke « awkwardly » and meant that preventative health measures are just one more way to fight cancer at an early stage.

–with files from Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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