Alberta Politics

Danielle Smith and “the hungry.”

Danielle Smith XL Foods Beef Tweet
Danielle Smith’s Tweet

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith apologized today for comment and a retweet she made on Twitter suggesting that E.coli tainted beef from the XL Foods meat packing plant in Brooks be fed to “the hungry.”

Many of Ms. Smith’s critics compared her ‘let them eat tainted beef’ attitude to former Premier Ralph Klein‘s unfortunate late night visit to a homeless shelter in 2001. While Ms. Smith’s comments were awkward and misinformed, I do not believe they were meant to be malicious. It is a shame that so much meat from the XL Foods plant was contaminated with E.coli and that it needs to be disposed of.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Party Alberta Election 2012
Danielle Smith

It did not take long for Ms. Smith to apologize for her comments, likely hoping the comments would not derail her caucus’ first opportunity to criticize government ministers in the fall Legislative session beginning today in Edmonton.

During this year’s provincial election campaign, Ms. Smith spent some time at Calgary’s Mustard Seed Shelter helping prepare supper, and now in her role as official opposition leader and self-appointed cities critic, she could benefit from exposing herself to Alberta’s less fortunate.

Last week, hundreds of Edmontonians (including myself) volunteered to enumerate our city’s homeless population in the biennial homeless count. Also held last weekend was the biannual Homeless Connect event at the Shaw Conference Centre, which helps provide free services to our city’s homeless population.

In 2010, the Homeless Count showed a decrease for the first time since the count began in 1999, dropping to 2421 from the 3079 counted in 2008. While the downward trend from 2008 to 2010 was positive news, the count also identified startling racial inequality in our cities, with 38% of Edmonton’s homeless population as being identified as having of Aboriginal heritage.

Since 2009, thousands of Albertans have been housed as a result of Housing First programs, coordinated by not-for-profit organizations in cities across the province, like Homeward Trust Edmonton and the Calgary Homeless Foundation in Alberta’s two largest cities. Housing First is a key strategy of provincial and municipal plans to end homelessness in Alberta.

Mike Lake
Mike Lake

Looking beyond homelessness to the issue of poverty in Alberta, Premier Alison Redford announced the creation of a ten-year plan for poverty reduction that would also include a five-year plan to eliminate child poverty. While Alberta is an affluent province with a strong economy, a report published by the Edmonton Social Planning Council in 2011 showed the number of children living in poverty in Alberta grew dramatically from 53,000 to 73,000 between 2008 to 2009.

Any plan to end poverty is ambitious, but it is not unrealistic considering the positive steps already taken by the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

A frequent volunteer at Edmonton’s Homeless Connect is Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont Member of Parliament Mike Lake, who greets each and every guest who shows up to access the services provided at the day-long event. I cannot speak for Mr. Lake, but as a nice guy and a conservative politician, I am sure that he would he happy to show Ms. Smith the ropes at next Spring’s Homeless Connect if she would like to volunteer.

9 replies on “Danielle Smith and “the hungry.””

I also think too much was made of Ms Smith’s retweet and I have to say, listening to her today, she sounded genuinely apologetic for the miscommunication. She was, after all, expressing the disappointment so many of us feel at the terrible waste of food we’ve seen this month.

I agree with you Dave. I heard her on the Rutherford show and she said that the meat had tested negative for E. coli by the CFIA, only it hadn’t been cleared for sale. If the meat was cooked then sold/given away at a charity event by organizers making sure it was properly prepared then it could have been a great thing instead of a great waste.

This story has been fabricated by WRP opponents and absolutely lapped up by the media. There are people going hungry in Alberta, we are disposing of piles of good, healthy food, and we can’t even have a discussion of how that food might be used? The Tories should be ashamed that they put partisan gain ahead of helping the needy, and the media should be embarrassed that they unthinkingly ate it up.

Alberta is Energy and “the number of children living in poverty in Alberta grew dramatically from 53,000 to 73,000 between 2008 to 2009.”

Alberta is Energy and “On the last week of February, and five months into the Calgary Food Bank’s (CFB) budget year, there were only 2,500 jars of peanut butter left in the warehouse–enough for just one more week. For CFB’s 147,000 regular clients, that may mean having to switch to a very different diet very soon.”

excerpt: “Warrack, one of the architects of the iconic Alberta Heritage Fund, told the Tyee earlier this year that the province is being run like a “banana republic” for failing to collect fair rents for non-renewable resources like the oil sands.”

Alberta is Energy and “In Alberta, corporate profits more than doubled their share of the GDP from 1989 to 2008 from 9.6 per cent to 22.8 per cent.”

See also Stelmach’s royalty review, Stelmach’s cement/oil shoes, petro-donations to political parties leverage in wildrose country, democracy in corporate storage

“All charity is humiliating.” August Strindberg

“Today we see charity as noble means to fill in the gaps of poverty that isn’t taken care of by the state. But the state barely combats poverty as it is, so the gaps are far too deep for charity to possibly fill. Public funding and taxing the private sector is the only truly effective way to do it. With our over-capitalist ideology, however, we continue to demean the poor by reserving for ourselves the power over them to dole out what we deem them worthy of, and leave the business sector under-taxed to the point where giant piles of wealth are amassed and then squandered. This is what corporate bonuses, rather than corporate taxes, amount to.

or here:

Redford and her PC crew have scandal after scandal and it gets nary a mention on this blog.

Danielle Smith tweets one stupid thing and OMGZORS FROTHY TIME!

I’m curious, Joe Albertan, which part shows that she is unfit for office, the ‘awkward and misinformed’ or the ‘genuinely apologetic’? Unless you were being sarcastic (and my apologies if you were), your bluster doesn’t seem to fit occasion.

Truly a waste of beef. It was tested and found to be safe. Cook it and send to charity soup kitchens, make into frozen pies, whatever. But it was politically incorrect and as such, the hungry are still hungry.
Smith was correct, but in the “scary world ” it was probably the wrong thing to put forth. She realized that and explained that. At least she indicated she made a mistake.
Today our Premier cannot admit that $430000 and the way it was contributed was not a mistake, nor can the executive director of the Party.

Refreshing to see someone walk back a statement and an event.

Maybe the party could use the $430000 to feed the hungry.

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