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Danielle Smith attempts to clarify First Nations comparison some label 'disgusting'


Some Albertans are accusing the premier and one of her ministers of being racially insensitive after separate comments this week. 

On Tuesday, Danielle Smith compared Alberta's relationship with the federal government to decades of colonialism. 

"The way I've described it to the chiefs I have spoken with is that they have fought a battle for the last number of years to get sovereignty respected and to extract themselves from the paternalistic Indian Act," Smith said. "We (Alberta) get treated the exact same way from Ottawa."

An apology was issued Wednesday, but some say it didn't go far enough. 

"If my comments were misconstrued, I absolutely apologize for it," Smith said. "My intention was to demonstrate that we have a common problem with Ottawa. Ottawa I think unfortunately treats First Nations with disrespect and they also treat provinces with disrespect."


Regardless of the walk-back, some still argue that the downplaying of Canadian atrocities sends a clear message.

"I can't even put together how there would be any connection there whatsoever," said Jessica Salkeld with the Calgary chapter of the Reconciliation Action Group. "But it was offensive to every marginalized person, and obviously to all Indigenous people throughout Canada. 

"Making that comparison is so misguided and also quite the dog whistle to white nationalists out there. I can't quite think of more disgusting comments to make."


Smith isn't the only UCP member being accused of insensitivity and racism.

Hours after the premier's comments, Alberta's minister of advanced education found himself in hot water about a video he tweeted out.

In it, Demetrios Nicolaides talks about Alberta's fight against Ottawa, referencing provincial politicians like former MLA Alwyn Bramley-Moore.

He served more than 100 years ago. 

"As MLA Bramley-Moore said in 1911 – Alberta first, last and forever," Nicolaides said.

The minister also makes multiple mentions of a book Bramley-Moore wrote, all in an effort to speak to the author's views on Alberta sovereignty.

But the 1911 read, Canada and Her Colonies, includes overtly racist lines.

One page says the "admission of coloured people, yellow or black, constitutes a possible menace to the supremacy of the white race."

And another excerpt about Black Albertans says that "such an immigration is particularly undesirable."

"Institutionally, there are some pretty big blind spots within the UCP and this is a clear example of it," Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley said. 

Nikolaides told CTV News that the video's purpose was to discuss Alberta’s history, and that the book "contains unacceptable social views, which I did not reference, quote, nor endorse."

Salkeld believes the damage is already done.  

"I don't accept any of that and I am just disgusted," she said in response to the minister's statement. "There's no way that you can quote pieces of that text and then say that we should be following anything or taking any examples from it, other than that it's horribly racist and hateful." Top Stories

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