Smith’s bill to protect Alberta’s unvaccinated will not be introduced in the legislature

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is reneging on a pledge to legislate human rights protections for COVID-19 unvaccinated people this fall.

Instead, Smith said she is calling organizations with vaccine mandates to urge them to change their mind, if necessary by linking it to government funding.

Smith is also asking Albertans to call her government to report on those imposing vaccine mandates.

“I’m calling people,” Smith told reporters Monday.

“The Arctic Winter Games wanted $1.2 million from us to support their efforts and they discriminated against the athletes by telling them to get vaccinated.

“So we asked them if they would reconsider their vaccination policies in light of new evidence and they have. And I liked to see that.”

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Click to play video: 'Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says vaccine mandates

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says vaccine mandates are “unacceptable” discrimination

Smith said she heard a film production in Alberta has similar policies for hairdressers, so she directed a cabinet minister to call the company to urge the company to reconsider.

“I am quite willing to make those calls and let my (cabinet) ministers make those calls if there are other examples,” Smith said.

“If there is still discrimination, I’d like to know about it… people should contact their MLAs.”

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Danielle Smith addresses comments about unvaccinated people being ‘most discriminated against’

Irfan Sabir, critic of the opposition NDP, denounced the calls as intimidation tactics employed by an anti-science United Conservative government.

“If you believe in science, if you believe in public health measures, your money will be cut and you will be discriminated against,” Sabir said.

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“That’s pure harassment and intimidation.”

Click to Play Video: 'Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID-19 Test Required at Alberta Ski Hills'

Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required in Alberta ski hills

The legislative session was set to resume Tuesday for its fall session, but Smith said the agenda will not include her promised bill to amend the provincial human rights law to ban restrictions based on a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

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Smith won leadership of the United Conservatives primarily by exploiting anger within a faction of the party over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and health restrictions they deemed unnecessary and a profound violation of personal freedoms.

On her first day as prime minister last month, Smith called the unvaccinated COVID-19 the most discriminated against in her life.

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Click to play video: 'Alberta's new prime minister faces backlash after calling unvaccinated people the 'most discriminated against group'

Alberta’s new prime minister faces backlash after calling unvaccinated people the ‘most discriminated against group’

On Monday she said she has reconsidered the human rights issue and believes the issue has become somewhat moot now that most employers have no vaccination rules.

And she said that rather than being rushed, she wants a more detailed analysis to find more sustainable, broader, long-term solutions and protections later on.

“Just making this one change to this one piece of legislation won’t be enough,” she said.

“(I) didn’t want to do this as a bit of a slack measure. I want to make sure we solve this problem for the future.

“I think my supporters will understand.”

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Just five weeks ago, Smith said the human rights amendment should be implemented immediately, characterizing it as a self-contained symbolic line in the sand amounting to a declaration of freedom from Alberta.

In an Oct. 20 speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Smith told the audience that the bill was coming this fall, whether they liked it or not.

“I want to warn you honestly: we’re going to make a serious pivot,” Smith told the chamber luncheon.

“We want to send a message to the community, the global community and the investment markets that this is a place that is open for business, that this is a place that believes in freedom, that this is a place that believes in free enterprise and this is a place where we will not make arbitrary decisions that will disproportionately affect small and medium sized businesses.

Click to play video: 'Prime Minister Danielle Smith Addresses Edmonton Chamber of Commerce'

Prime Minister Danielle Smith addresses the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

The first bill in the assembly will be Smith’s long-promised, controversial Alberta Sovereignty Act, since renamed the “Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act.”

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Smith has promised that the legislation would allow the county to overrule federal laws deemed to infringe on county jurisdiction, but in a constitutionally respectful manner. Smith did not explain how this would happen.

Legal experts have said such an act as described would be unconstitutional.

& copy 2022 The Canadian Press

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