On Thursday, three protesters stormed UCP leader Danielle Smith’s campaign event where she was announcing another plank in her party’s platform.
“Hospitals are not for sale,” the protesters chanted while holding “for sale” signs.
One disrupter added, “We will not sell our arms and legs for hospitals. Hospitals should be public.”
Smith was removed from the room by her government security detail until the matter was resolved.
After posting a series of inflammatory and factually questionable tweets about the UCP’s plan to increase the use of charter surgical centres in Alberta — a policy the NDP has repeatedly described as putting Alberta hospitals up for sale — the official Twitter account for the Alberta NDP publicised the date, time, and general location of the UCP event.
The Alberta NDP later issued a statement condemning the protests, but accepted no responsibility for their role in inciting them to occur.
“What happened today during a press conference with Danielle Smith was unacceptable and we strongly condemn the actions taken by the protesters involved,” the party wrote.
Just hours earlier, the NDP had advertised the campaign stop, posting to its nearly 50,000 twitter followers, “Danielle Smith will be next door to the South Health Campus at 11 a.m. today.”
One of the protestors was former federal Calgary-Signal Hill NDP candidate Patrick King.King ran against Ron Liepert in Calgary Signal Hill in the 2021 federal election where he finished fourth with 14.7% of votes cast.
Smith began the question portion of the announcement by reiterating that a re-elected UCP government won’t charge for doctor or hospital visits. She said the protest resulted not from poor UCP messaging but Alberta NDP “lies.”
The UCP is using charter surgical centres to end the backlog of surgeries, but “no one will ever pay out of pocket,” she said.
Smith also asked reporters to cover the party’s position in a balanced manner.