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Smith slammed for cancer misinformation in UCP Leadership debate

United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership candidate Danielle Smith has come under fire for making misinformed comments about cancer during the first official UCP leadership debate Wednesday in Medicine Hat.

Smith says she wants to clarify comments last week about controlling cancer and admits she may have fumbled explaining her thoughts cohesively.

She says her family member was diagnosed with cancer, hence her stance on early detection and holistic medicine.

“I know that if somebody has a preexisting condition, if they have kind of genetic predisposition towards cancer, if they’re beginning to see early symptoms, it would be the very best way for us to diagnose, and then we can get them to wrap around services that they need,” Smith said.


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In the debate, Rajan Sawhney accused Smith of making rash statements and being impulsive.

She says Smith has a platform and needs to not spread harmful rhetoric and says Smith needs to clarify and apologize for the comments she already has made.

Sawhney says she’s not buying Smith’s explanation, pointing out she made a second video doubling down on her stance on controlling cancer.

Sawhney then asked when Smith will apologize, Smith says she already did because she was “clearly misunderstood.”

Smith has been slammed by many people on social media for false claims you can control cancer so long as it’s before a stage-four diagnosis.

She made the claim while interviewing a naturopath on her podcast last week.

Smith also insinuated if you choose to prevent getting cancer yourself, you’d be saving taxpayer dollars from going to costly medical treatment.

“Once you’ve arrived and got stage-four cancer and there’s radiation and surgery and chemotherapy, that is incredibly expensive intervention — not just for the system, but also expensive in the toll it takes on the body,” Smith said on her podcast.

“But, when you think everything that built up before you got to stage four and that diagnosis, that’s completely within your control and there’s something you can do about that that is different.”

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley weighed in, tweeting, “let’s actually support cancer patients.”

Smith responded by saying that Notley was politicizing cancer.

“I certainly didn’t expect the NDP to politicize something as serious as cancer,” Smith said in a video uploaded to Twitter on Monday.

“The first three stages of cancer are more controllable in terms of what complete care is available to a patient, but once you get to stage four, that’s when the patient is less in control and only traditional medicine [is available]. Naturopaths in western medicine are in agreement on this, and of course, everyone knows it to be true, except apparently for the NDP [who] want to use it as a wedge issue to attack me. I think that’s beneath even them, and Albertans are tired of this.”

However, it wasn’t just the opposition who was calling her out. UCP members, including Brian Jean, who lost three family members to cancer, also took to social media to criticize Smith’s take.

In a tweet reply, Jean says Smith has no idea what she’s talking about when it comes to cancer, adding her comments are ” insensitive, hurtful and outright untrue.”

Smith was also attacked in the debate on topics including her “Sovereignty Act” and the environment.

– With files from HanaMae Nassar.

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