B.C. Premier John Horgan says comments this week by new Alberta Premier Danielle Smith referring to the unmatched discrimination against people who did not get vaccinated against COVID-19 was “laughable.”
Horgan, who will step down as premier later this year once a new B.C. NDP leader is elected, made the comments in a one-hour end-of-term interview with C-FAX Radio host Al Ferraby.
“It’s laughable, quite frankly,” said Horgan.
Sworn in Tuesday as Alberta’s new premier, Smith signalled she will amend provincial human rights law to protect those who choose not to get vaccinated.
The unvaccinated “have been the most discriminated-against group that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime,” Smith told reporters at the Alberta legislature.
“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 hospital, not allowed to get on a plane to either go across the country to see family or even travel across the border.
“We are not going to create a segregated society on the basis of a medical choice.”
Horgan said a minority of people did not get vaccinated while the majority did so for themselves, their families and communities.
“We collectively — not just British Columbians or Canadians, but the global community — have just gone through an unprecedented time, nothing like this in over 100 years going back to the Spanish Influenza,” Horgan said.
In addition to the pandemic, Horgan noted the toxic drug supply killed thousands while the number of health care workers was not enough to meet demand.
“So these are critical times and for the incoming premier to focus on a sliver of the population who chose not to get vaccinated when there are all these other challenges seems short sighted to me,” he said.
“I just disagree with her, I believe the vast majority of Canadians understood that we had a collective responsibility, they took actions, sometimes against their better judgment, but they did so for the greater good,” said Horgan. The international community did that as well, he said.
Being asked for his reaction to various events and statements such as that of Alberta premier is a part of the job that Horgan says he’s quite happy to “walk away from” because he’s most interested in focusing on policy and solutions.
“I’ve got an opinion, what does it matter? Let’s get the work done,” Horgan said. “The blessing of the privilege of the past five years is to try and make progress, and it’s never been about me, it’s been about making the progress.
“So when someone asked me my opinion, I don’t really care, you know. I mean, wouldn’t you prefer to see some results and that’s where the hard work of government comes in?”