Alberta Premier Smith seeks legal advice to pardon COVID-19 rule breakers

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is seeking legal advice on whether she can pardon those fined for non-criminal violations of health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Things that come to mind are people who have been arrested as pastors (and) people who have been fined for not wearing a mask,” Smith told reporters Saturday at the annual general meeting of the united conservative party.

“These are not things for which it is normal to be fined and prosecuted. I will review the range of outstanding fines and seek legal advice on which ones we can waive and grant amnesty. »

Smith also expanded on his promise to introduce narrow changes to human rights law this fall to prohibit discrimination based on COVID-19 vaccination status.

She said the law will not focus on all vaccinations, just COVID-19, as this is a political issue, not a medical one.

“Since this was a very specific reaction to a very specific vaccine mandate, we are going to be very specific when we write the legislation,” she said.

“We have to go back to an attitude that you take a vaccine to protect yourself.

“(But) we have to get out of this attitude of demonizing those who make a different choice.”

Smith was outspoken in his criticism of vaccine passports as well as employees, particularly Alberta Health Services, who are not allowed to work without a COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic.

On her first day as prime minister earlier this month, she said the COVID-19 unvaccinated were the most discriminated group she had seen in her life.

During her speech Saturday at her party’s AGM, held at the River Cree Resort and Casino in the western suburbs of Edmonton, she reiterated her strong criticism of Alberta Health Services, the independent government agency responsible for administering and delivering primary care under policy guidance from the Ministry of Health.

She blames him for letting Albertans down during the pandemic for not creating enough beds for crushing patients and forcing health care workers to get a COVID-19 shot to come to work.

She places the current long wait times for care and ambulance dispatch at AHS’s feet and has promised to revamp AHS’s entire governance system and lay off the AHS Board of Directors. AHS by mid-January.

“The system, my friends, is broken,” Smith told the 1,800 delegates in the room.

“Most of those running AHS today are survivors of the NDP years. They had their chance to fix this bloated system and they largely failed on almost every account. Failure is no longer an option,” she said to cheers.

Smith, speaking to reporters, also declined to elaborate on comments she made to the Western Standard online outlet during a live interview on Friday.

In this interview, Smith pledged to end an AHS information-sharing agreement with other healthcare providers such as Mayo Clinic and Harvard University under a program administered by the World Economic Forum.

“We have to fix this problem,” Smith said on Friday.

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

Asked about the comments on Saturday, Smith declined to elaborate, saying she was focused on fixing the healthcare system.

When asked why she would address the issue on Western Standard’s live streaming site but not at the press conference, she replied, “As you know, some forums are entertainment forums. I have been on an entertainment forum for a long time (as a radio host).

The World Economic Forum refers to an annual high-level conference of global political and business leaders that in mid-2020 proposed a “great reset” for joint post-COVID action to revamp the education society. social contracts and working conditions.

Since then, there has been a growing conspiracy online accusing the WEF of being a secret cabal of world leaders bent on exploiting the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce sweeping social change to dismantle capitalism.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 22, 2022.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not share these opinions.