Alberta not proceeding with Premier Smith's bill to protect COVID-19 unvaccinated
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is reversing a promise to enshrine human rights protections for the COVID-19 unvaccinated in law this fall.
Instead, Smith said she is phoning up organizations with vaccine mandates to urge them to change their minds, tying it to government funding if need be.
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 effort and they were discriminating against the athletes, telling them they had to be vaccinated.
“So we asked them if they would reconsider their vaccination policy in the light of new evidence and they did. And I was pleased to see that.”
- Critics say Smith is bullying businesses over COVID-19 policies
- Danielle Smith declines to give specifics on 'mistakes' referenced in Alberta address
Smith said she heard an Alberta film production has a similar policy for its hairdressers, so she has directed a cabinet minister to call the company to urge it to reconsider.
“I'm quite prepared to make those phone calls and have my (cabinet) ministers make those phone 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.”
Opposition NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir denounced the phone calls as intimidation tactics in the service of an anti-science United Conservative government.
“If you believe in science, if you believe in public health measures, your funding will be cut, you will be discriminated against,” said Sabir.
“That is clear cut intimidation and harassment.”
The legislature is scheduled to resume Tuesday for the fall sitting, but Smith said the agenda will not include her promised bill to amend the provincial Human Rights Act to forbid restrictions based on someone's COVID-19 vaccination status.
Smith won the leadership of the United Conservatives mainly by leveraging anger within a faction of the party over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and health restrictions that they deemed unnecessary and a profound breach of personal freedoms.
On her first day as premier last month, Smith called the COVID-19 unvaccinated the most discriminated group she had seen in her lifetime.
On Monday, she said she has revisited the human rights issue and believes the problem has become somewhat moot with most employers not having vaccine rules.
And she said rather than be hasty, she wants a more detailed analysis in order to find more durable, broader, long-term solutions and protections later.
“Just making this one change to this one piece of legislation isn't going to be adequate,” she said.
“(I) didn't want to do this as a bit of slapdash measure. I want to make sure we're solving this problem for the future.
“I think my supporters will understand.”
As recently as five weeks ago, Smith said the human rights change needed to be passed immediately, characterizing it as a stand-alone symbolic line in the sand tantamount to an Alberta declaration of freedom.
In an Oct. 20 speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Smith told the audience the bill was coming this fall whether they liked it or not.
“I want to give you fair warning: we are going to be making a serious pivot,” Smith told the chamber luncheon.
“We want to send a message to the community, and to the world community, and to the investment markets that this is a place that is open for business, that this is a place that believes in freedom, this is a place that believes in free enterprise and this is a place where we're not going to be making arbitrary decisions that are going to disproportionately impact small and medium businesses.”
The first bill in the sitting is to be Smith's long-promised, controversial Alberta sovereignty act, since renamed the “Alberta sovereignty within a united Canada act.”
Smith has promised the legislation would allow the province to reject federal laws deemed as encroaching on provincial jurisdiction but in a constitutionally respectful manner. Smith has not explained how this would be done.
Legal experts have said such an act as described would be unconstitutional.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was found floating over sensitive military sites in the western United States had been tracked by Canada's government since last weekend as it passed through Canadian airspace, sources tell CTV News.
The oldest preserved vertebrate brain has been found in a 319-million-year-old fossilized fish skull that was removed from an English coal mine over a century ago.
It took 40 years, but former NHL player and coach Ted Nolan is now one of eight Indigenous ex-NHL-ers being honoured hockey trading cards as a part of Upper Deck's First Peoples Rookie Card series.
A B.C. man who was mistaken for the target in a police takedown and shot by an officer in 2013 has had his lawsuit alleging negligence dismissed.
Three bodies found in a vacant Detroit-area apartment building have been identified as those of three aspiring rappers who went missing nearly two weeks ago, police said Friday.
For much of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial, witnesses have talked about a generous and loving man -- but prosecutors want jurors to know that same man stole over US$4 million from his housekeeper's relatives after she died at work, and killed his wife and son to cover up his crimes.
A senior aide to Japan's prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ2S+ people.
A jury on Friday decided Elon Musk didn't deceive investors with his 2018 tweets about electric automaker Tesla.
A new research from a citizen science program suggests that stars are disappearing before our eyes at an 'astonishing rate.'
Alberta's high court is being asked to overturn a review board decision relating to the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party on the grounds the former provincial justice minister interfered.
Police are investigating a series of tire slashing incidents in northeast Calgary.
Thousands of Alberta lawyers are expected to take part in an online debate Monday morning over the issue of mandatory Indigenous history training.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
After months of driving around the city with an advertisement for a kidney donor on her bright red car, Debbie Onishenko will soon be able to rip off the decals as her search has ended.
The community of Dundurn is rallying behind a firefighter who lost her home in a fire.
Saskatchewan is reacting to the removal of controversial amendment G4 to Bill C-21 by the federal Liberals, which banned certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
Residents in Regina's North Central community are voicing safety concerns after a water main break resulted in icy sidewalk and road conditions.
A local non-profit is hoping a new office space can help reconnect Indigenous youth to their culture.
Temperatures are plummeting across the Maritimes as a blast of Arctic air moves into the region.
A seafood processing plant in Portage, N.B., has been completely destroyed following a major fire Friday afternoon.
Atlantic Lottery says it has been contacted by a player who believes they have the winning ticket to this week's $31 million Lotto Max Draw.
Speed cameras clocked a car driving 70 km/h over the limit. Here's how the owner fought the ticket and won
After being charged with speeding by a city-operated photo radar device, a Toronto family was able to successfully fight the charge in court largely due to one small detail.
The death of a longtime CBC journalist who was shoved to the ground in Toronto has now been classified as a homicide and police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the case.
Police are investigating a stabbing in downtown Toronto Friday night.
The ongoing cold snap has Quebecers cranking up the heat in their homes, which Hydro-Quebe says has caused a record peak in electricity demand. In a Tweet Friday, the hydroelectricity supplier said that around 5:30 p.m., demand across the province reached 42,700 megawatts.
A reclusive billionaire who headed a Montreal tech company is stepping down one day after Radio-Canada/CBC published a report that alleged he paid teenage girls for sex for more than a decade.
The Montreal fire department is advising people to avoid Sherbrooke Street East at Carignan Avenue in the Longue Pointe neighbourhood as a five-alarm fire is burning.
A federal government department has fired 49 employees who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while they were employed.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the cancellations and closures in the Ottawa area due to the extreme cold temperatures.
EXTREME COLD WARNING
EXTREME COLD WARNING | Deep freeze hits Ottawa, wind chill drops below -40
Extreme cold temperatures will continue to grip Ottawa and eastern Ontario Friday night and Saturday morning, with the wind chill making it feel colder than -40.
Police say they’ve arrested three people and one person was taken to hospital following an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall on Thursday.
Ontario Provincial Police are once again reminding drivers to clear the snow and ice off of their vehicles before they head out onto the road.
Waterloo regional police issued a robbery warning Thursday evening after they said two convenience stores and a restaurant in Kitchener were robbed within a 30 minute span.
Canada's newest millionaire, an 18-year-old university freshman from northern Ontario, has achieved a lot of firsts with a recent lottery win. Here is her story.
Ontario Provincial Police have closed a portion of Highway 400 north of Toronto following multiple collisions due to whiteout conditions.
An investigation that lasted almost two years has resulted in moose hunting violation convictions for six people and a lodge in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.
A fire destroyed a popular paint and hobby shop in Winkler Thursday afternoon with black smoke prompting Winkler police to close off a stretch of Highway 32 for more than an hour.
Manitoba has expanded the types of identification acceptable for use to purchase liquor, cannabis and lottery tickets in the province.
The Winnipeg Police Service responded to two homicides in the span of two hours this week.
The mayors of Port Coquitlam and Port Moody want Nav Canada — the organization that creates flight paths for airports across the country — to pause its plans for a new YVR arrivals route that will direct many large airplanes over their communities.
'Just absolute scum of the earth': Family upset after senior with dementia defrauded by someone posing as care worker
Seventy-nine-year-old William Herbert thought the woman coming to see him was a nurse who needed to do bloodwork. But instead of helping him, it’s alleged she stole from him.
Homicide investigators are looking into whether a vehicle fire in Surrey on Thursday morning is connected to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Burnaby hours later.
An emergency room doctor on Vancouver Island is calling on the leadership of the health authority to resign, saying harassment by Island Health officials is prompting doctors to abandon the region amid a critical shortage of health-care workers.
A local state of emergency that was issued in Campbell River, B.C., following a landslide in mid-January has been lifted, the city announced Friday.
A man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a busy mall in Nanaimo, B.C., has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Nanaimo RCMP.