UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith says she wants to protect kids from the horrible impacts of lockdowns, calling them a “terrible mistake” that “can’t happen again.”
“The last two years of lockdowns, fear, and isolation were extremely harmful to them. As a result, we’re seeing an epidemic of mental health and substance abuse issues among young people at levels never before seen,” MLA Danielle Smith begins.
“In addition,” Smith continues, “thousands of children and youth have fallen behind in their academics and social development. This crisis is one that we as Albertans must acknowledge and face together because these young ones are literally our future.”
“That’s why as Premier, I will make it my number one priority to protect our kids.”
Smith then lays out four parts to her campaign promise:
1. No lockdowns — “No shutting down schools, restricting youth activities, or prohibiting social interaction.”
2. Parental Medical Choice — “No parent must ever be compelled or mandated by the government to have their children receive a COVID vaccination.”
3. Youth Mental Health Support — “We need to vastly increase investment in youth mental health to identify kids in need of counselling and support.”
4. Testing, Tutoring, and Teaching Assistance — “We need to provide teachers and parents who saw their children fall behind in Math, English, and Science, during the disruption of the last two years to get the testing, tutoring, and teaching assistance needed to catch them up.”
She acknowledges this will cost taxpayer dollars but maintains that the province must do it after what kids have been put through over the last two years of lockdowns.
According to a recent poll of 1,025 Albertan UCP supporters aged 18 and older, Smith is currently the frontrunner in the UCP leadership race. Her message has clearly resonated with Albertans, surpassing Brian Jean by 2 points at 22% and 20%, respectively, with Travis Toews in third with 15%.