Source: Rebecca Lees

The Alberta NDP is in meltdown mode after Premier Danielle Smith acknowledged the discrimination unvaccinated Canadians have faced over the last two years. 

In her first press conference, just hours after being sworn in as premier on Tuesday, Smith said the unvaccinated have experienced the most discrimination any group has faced in her lifetime. 

NDP leader Rachel Notley now claims that Smith’s comments will turn people away from the province and hurt Alberta’s ‘economic future.’

“We’re trying to draw people to Alberta. We want their ideas, their innovation, their investment,” Notley wrote on Twitter.

“The ignorant, harmful comments about vaccines made by the new premier hurt our reputation and, by extension, our economic future. She must apologize immediately.”

Provinces across Canada, including Alberta, implemented vaccine passports barring the unvaccinated from their places of work and places of entertainment, like restaurants and movie theaters. 

The federal government also barred the unvaccinated from public sector employment and from boarding planes or trains. 

Smith said she isn’t dismissing the seriousness of other forms of historical discrimination, but said unvaccinated individuals experienced the worst discrimantion over the last year. 

 “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a situation in my lifetime where a person was fired from their job, or not allowed to watch their kids play hockey, or not allowed to go visit a loved one in long-term care or a hospital, or not allowed to get on a plane to either go across the country to see family or even travel across the border,” the premier said Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, Smith released a statement clarifying her comments, but not apologizing. She said her intent was to underline the mistreatment of unvaccinated individuals, not to trivialize the discrimination of marginzalied communites. 

NDP MLA Janis Irwin took to Twitter to criticize the new premier for not apologizing. 

“There are words in this statement. But not the words ‘I’m sorry,’” Irwin wrote on Twitter. 

Notley’s attacks come amid her efforts to attract voters who feel left behind in a Danielle Smith government ahead of a spring general election.

On Friday, one day after the results of the United Conservative Party leadership race, Notley began reaching out to voters concerned about healthcare, job opportunities and those tired “of the division and the drama.”

“I offer you the alternative,” Notley wrote on Twitter.

“An Alberta NDP government will be stable, responsible and focused on delivering results for you and for your family.”


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.