UCP leader Danielle Smith’s resurfaced video links COVID vaccinated to Nazi followers

A 2021 podcast video of Alberta UCP leader Danielle Smith sees her compare vaccinated Albertans with supporters of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. Henna Saeed reports.

A video of UCP leader Danielle Smith has resurfaced that sees her comparing vaccinated Albertans with supporters of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

The video comes from a November 2021 podcast episode with Calgary company Integrated Wealth Management titled “Essential Human Needs: Energy, Free Speech, Functioning Health Care and Honest Politicians.”

At the time, Smith pointed out she is not wearing a poppy because of the actions of politicians during the pandemic.

“I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to watch the Netflix series ‘How to Become a Tyrant,’ but it starts with Hitler in the first episode, and it’s absolutely appalling and shocking how — and it’s one academic says — I know so many people would say they must have filmed this before COVID,” Smith said.

“So many people say that they would not have succumbed to the charms of a tyrant, somebody telling them that they have all the answers. And he said, ‘I guarantee you would.’

“And that’s the test here, is we’ve seen it. We have 75 per cent of the public who say, ‘Not only hit me, but hit me harder, and keep me away from those dirty unvaxxed.’

“We’re already hearing about people being denied treatment for not being vaccinated, being taken off the organ donor list. What are we becoming?

“It is diabolical.”

Video released during election

Lisa Young, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, says someone has been sitting on this video to resurface it during election time.

“This video suggests that her beliefs were really very much at the extreme end, even of the anti-vaccination movement,” Young said.

“A set of beliefs that are very far from the mainstream that are deeply offensive to many Albertans, particularly Jewish Albertans, because of the comparisons to Hitler,” Young said.

Responding to Smith’s comments, the Calgary Jewish Federation tells CityNews it is aware of the resurfaced video.

“We feel it is important to note to our community that we made clear comments about these comparisons back when they were made, including via an op-ed developed by our current president, Lisa Libin,” the statement reads.

“In today’s campaign climate, it is important that our community is not used as a wedge between political parties, and with this, we will not be commenting further on this issue at this time.”

This is not the first time a UCP member has faced controversy over comments relating Alberta’s vaccine program to Nazi Germany.

A few weeks after Smith was sworn in as the premier of Alberta in October 2022, the UCP disqualified a candidate, Nadine Wellwood, who equated vaccine mandates to the Nazi regime.

Young says the difference is that Wellwood was a candidate, and Smith is a leader.

“If Danielle Smith were just a candidate, would she be disqualified for this? And it’s entirely possible that she would have been. But she’s not just a candidate,” she said.

“She’s the party leader, and the party has already made the decision to follow her into this election, knowing that these are the kinds of statements that she has made, and they have made their peace with it. The question is, whether voters have made their peace with these statements?”

Smith apologizes, NDP responds

In a statement to CityNews, Smith admits she was against the use of vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic and apologized for her comments.

“The horrors of the Holocaust are without precedent, and no one should make any modern-day comparisons that minimize the experience of the Holocaust and suffering under Hitler, nor the sacrifice of our veterans,” her statement reads.

“I have always been and remain a friend to the Jewish community, Israel and our veterans, and I apologize for any offensive language used regarding this issue made while on talk radio or podcasts during my previous career. COVID was a divisive and painful period for so many, including myself, but is thankfully now over.

“I would hope we can all move on to talk about issues that currently matter to Albertans and their families.”

Meanwhile, NDP leader Rachel Notley called the comments “horrifying.”

“In the video, which was made public last night,  Smith compares those who got vaccinated against COVID-19 to followers of Adolf Hitler. She also disrespects the wearing of the poppy, saying its significance was ruined by decisions made by political leaders during the pandemic,” her statement reads.

“What we have here is a Premier who is looking at over 75 per cent of Albertans who stepped up — who followed the science and respected the requests made by public health officials to protect themselves, their neighbours and Alberta’s most vulnerable — and she is comparing them to the architects of an anti-Semitic Genocide. This is why Albertans cannot trust Danielle Smith’s leadership.

“Albertans, you deserve better. You deserve so much better.”

Since becoming premier in October, Smith has faced controversy for her past statements, including saying people are responsible for contracting their own early-stage cancer and that the COVID unvaccinated have faced the most discrimination of any group she has seen in her lifetime.

The election is slated for May 29.

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