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EDMONTON, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) – Only minutes after being sworn in as Alberta’s premier, Danielle Smith said that over the past year the “unvaccinated” have been the “most discriminated against” group of people in the province.

“The community that faced the most restrictions on their freedoms in the last year were those who made a choice not to be vaccinated. 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,” Smith said yesterday in response to a reporter’s question about vaccine choice (58:45 min mark).

“They’re not allowed to go get on a plane to either go across the country to see family or even travel across the border.”

Smith then said that the vaccine free is “the most discriminated against group that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime.”

“That’s a pretty extreme level of discrimination that we have seen. I don’t take away any of the discrimination that I’ve seen in those other groups that you mentioned. But this has been an extraordinary time in the last year in particular, and I want people to know that I find that unacceptable.”

Yesterday, Smith officially took over from now-former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as leader of both the UCP and the province.

She won on a pro-freedom platform but supports abortion.

Smith vowed, unlike her predecessor Kenney, that she was not going to “create a segregated society on the basis of a medical choice.”

Shortly after Smith’s comments went viral on social media, former socialist NDP Premier Rachel Notley, who last year said Kenney did not go far enough in lockdowns and mandates, blasted Smith as “tone deaf.”

“Danielle Smith’s comments today on discrimination were completely disrespectful and tone deaf in light of all the work we are collectively committing to with respect to truth and reconciliation,” Notley tweeted.

Notley also demanded that Smith apologize for her comments.

Many, however, thanked Smith for standing up for the vaccine-free, thousands of whom lost their jobs.

“If you disagree with what @ABDanielleSmith is saying here, you were either tacitly or overtly complicit in the abuse and discrimination. For years you’ve cheered as the government abused, marginalized and propagated lies and hatred. The tide is turning,” Rebel News reporter Adam Soos tweeted.

Today, no doubt due to online backlash, Smith clarified her comments in a statement.

“Yesterday, I made comments regarding the discrimination unvaccinated individuals have suffered through over during the past two years,” she said.

“My intention was to underline the mistreatment of individuals who chose not to be vaccinated and were punished by not being able to work, travel or, in some cases, see loved ones.”

Smith added that she did not intend to “trivialize in any way the discrimination faced by minority communities and other persecuted groups both here in Canada and around the world.”

Smith won the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Canada (UCP) in a vote last Thursday by party members with a 53.77 majority on the sixth and final ballot.

The election for a new leader of the UCP was held as Kenney announced earlier this year that he would step down due to poor ratings after his imposition of vaccine mandates and lengthy lockdowns during the COVID-19 so-called pandemic.

Taking the party in the opposite direction as Kenney, Smith is running on a platform of medical freedom, no more lockdowns, and no more vaccine mandates.

Kenney’s preferred candidate, UCP MLA Travis Toews, received 46.33 percent of the vote.

Smith supports abortion

Smith, despite being strong on areas of freedom, supports abortion and has a mixed track record on other family issues.

She recently told LifeSiteNews that she would not be willing to re-examine the province’s “bubble zone” law that bans pro-life protesters from gathering near abortion clinics, as well as saying it is “polite” to use biologically incorrect pronouns when asked to do so.

Smith did admit, however, that “there is a weird woke culture” that tries to chase people out of the public sphere by “dogpiling” and cancelling those who refuse to modify their language at the request of the gender confused.

“We have to be able to have conversations where we can get to an understanding, so, I think people have taken it too far,” Smith told LifeSiteNews.

Under Kenney, thousands lost their jobs because they chose not to get the COVID jabs. Also, churches were essentially shut down for a time and no less than three Christian pastors were jailed for defying COVID mandates.

Many have been fighting back against the imposition of workplace jab mandates, such as vaccine-free Calgary Firefighters, as well as a 176-strong group of WestJet workers.

In July 2021, Kenney said that he was “opposed” to an Alberta vaccine passport and would not be bringing one to his province.

However, in September 2021, Kenney imposed a vaccine passport on Albertans, despite the growing evidence that lockdowns and restrictions had resulted in more lives lost than saved.

In fact, in January, the Alberta government was forced to admit that it had overstated COVID hospitalizations attributed to the Omicron variant by 60 percent.