thumb-2022-10-16
thumb-2022-10-16 This article is more than 1 month old
News

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith Pushing Far-Right ‘Conspiracy’ About Public Health Care, Experts Say

Smith accused the Alberta Health Service of deliberately manufacturing its own staffing crisis in a speech to UCP loyalists

PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization that uncovers and unpacks the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.
Here is why you can trust our journalism ➔
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization that uncovers and unpacks the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.
Here is why you can trust our journalism.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s recent comments linking Alberta’s Health Service to a “fringe conspiracy theory” about the World Economic Forum raises questions about the future of public healthcare in the province, experts warn.

Smith has recently made a number of statements casting the AHS in a conspiratorial light.

“I think that the staffing shortages have been manufactured by the bad decisions Alberta Health Services,” Smith told UCP members at the party’s Annual General Meeting last weekend.

During an interview with Derek Fildebrandt of the right-wing Western Standard website, Smith went further, alleging the AHS and the World Economic Forum have teamed up.

“I must tell you, I believe that Alberta Health Services is the source of a lot of the problems that we’ve had,” Smith told The Western Standard. “They signed some kind of partnership with the World Economic Forum right in the middle of the pandemic – we’ve got to address that.”

“Why in the world do we have anything to do with the World Economic Forum? That’s got to end.”

Smith went on to criticize AHS medical experts for refusing to authorize the use of unsafe alternative “therapeutic” medicines for use in treating COVID-19.

“They also have this scientific committee that quite frankly didn’t look at the whole broad science,” Smith said. “I don’t want to have a scientific committee advising me that isn’t prepared to look at therapeutic options in the middle of a pandemic.”

“I think that the experts let us down, so I’m not interested in taking any advice from them.”

Smith has openly advocated for the use of  ivermectin as an alternative “therapeutic” option for treating COVID-19 — despite medical experts strongly warning that the drug is unsafe to use for COVID-19.

In a video posted to social media, Smith previously indicated she travelled to the United States to obtain the “illicit” drug, which she described as a “therapeutic.”

Smith said she is cancelling the agreement between AHS and the WEF, which saw the province participate in a coalition about health care delivery.

“She listens to conspiracy theories. She believes that there’s some sort of shadow world government out there, led primarily by the WEF, and other international organizations,” Keith Brownsey, a political analyst at Mount Royal University told PressProgress.

“Instead of attacking AHS the Smith government should be working with them to attract healthcare professionals to Alberta, and settle long running disputes about working conditions especially for nurses. But that’s not what they’re doing.”

“Danielle Smith believes that she knows better than people who have studied these issues their entire adult lives. It’s not common sense she uses, it’s fringe conspiracy theory,” Brownsey added.

Smith has previously suggested fixing the staffing problems by attracting unvaccinated health care professionals to the province.

She has also indicated she plans to fire the Alberta Health Service board by year end. Labour organizations representing health sector workers are meeting in anticipation of system “chaos” from the new Premier.

On Monday, following Smith’s remarks, five labour organizations held a joint news conference “insisting” on a meeting with Health Minister Jason Copping to address problems faced by the 122,000 workers they represent.

“Premier Smith referred to it as a manufactured staffing shortage. And in a strange way, we agree in that their government did manufacture this crisis with the decisions they made,” Chris Galloway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare told PressProgress.

“Talk of more firings. More restructurings more chaos is only going to make our issues worse. Right now our system is struggling and failing people. And that’s where we need to focus,” Galloway added.

“We don’t need to be having symbolic firings.”

Sign Up for Our Labour Newsletter
Newspapers always have a business section – so why not a labour section too?
Sign Up for Our Labour Newsletter
Newspapers always have a business section – so why not a labour section too?

Galloway says Friends of Medicare plans to “escalate the pressure” should they fail to get the attention of the Health Minister.

“We see what Danielle Smith is up to,” Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan told PressProgress.

“She’s using the chaos that the UCP itself created as a pretext to break the system and replace it with a privatized Americanized system,” McGowan continued, describing Smith as an “ideological libertarian.”

“That’s not in the interests of the patients in the system. It’s not in the interest of our province, and she simply won’t get away with it. She has no mandate for this.”

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
Stephen Magusiak
Alberta Reporter
Stephen Magusiak is PressProgress’ Alberta reporter. His reporting has a focus on public accountability, public services and privatization, and the right-wing war on environmentalists.

Most Shared

protest News

Doug Ford is Looking to Cut Costs in Healthcare Staffing, Documents Show

Related Stories

News

Far-Right Group Opposed to 2SLGBTQ+ Resources in Schools Protested BC Drag Queen Story Time Event

View the post
News

Vancouver Police Tried to Gift Toy Guns to Elementary School Students, Teacher Alleges During Public Forum

View the post
News

Doug Ford Wants to Track the Performance of Social Assistance Programs. He’s Not Tracking Poverty.

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers