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UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith under fire by all political stripes for cancer comments

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Danielle Smith, the former Wildrose party leader and UCP leader hopeful is under fire after she hosted a podcast over the weekend with naturopathic doctor Dr. Christine Perkins talking about healthcare and the need for both mainstream and naturopathic medicines.

Smith and Perkins began talking about cancer patients, specifically those with stage four of the disease.

While listening to Perkins, Smith said she believes some of the blame falls at the hands of the patient.

“Once you’ve arrived and got stage four cancer and there’s radiation and surgery and chemotherapy, that is incredibly expensive intervention — not just for the system, but also expensive in the toll it takes on the body,” said Smith.

“But, when you think everything that built up before you got to stage four and that diagnosis, that’s completely within your control and there’s something you can do about that that is different.”

The pair talked about prevention with naturopathic medicines, before using mainstream medicine, such as chemotherapy and radiation, which they compared with being a ‘heroic’ medicine.

On Monday, Smith doubled down, saying the NDP attacked her for her comments.

“She (Dr. Perkins) is quite correct, the first three stages of cancer are more controllable in what complete care is available to a patient but once you get to stage four, that's when the patient is less in control,” said Smith in a Twitter video.

“Apparently everyone knows it to be true, except apparently for the NDP who want to use it as a wedge issue to attack me. I think that's beneath even them, and Albertans are tired of this.”

Smith responding to several politicians who have blasted her for spreading misinformation, including NDP leader Rachel Notley.

But she is also facing blowback from fellow UCP leadership contenders, with almost all coming out and criticizing her viewpoints.

Brian Jean tweeted a reaction to Danielle Smith's comments about cancer patients

Leadership hopeful Travis Toews said he was surprised by the comments.

“Cancer is such an emotional issue, there have been so many families that have been touched by that disease, I don’t want to further politicize it,” said Toews.

Fellow UCP leadership candidate Leela Aheer also tweeted

For Rebecca Schulz, who is also seeking the leadership she believes these statements are what leads to a divided province.

“Saying things like this that are untrue, absolutely going to lead us to an NDP government on a silver platter,” she said.

Rajan Sawney tweet, July 25, 2022

Timothy Caulfield, an expert in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, said these comments frustrate healthcare professionals.

“There is no evidence to support her claims,” he said.

“In fact the evidence tells us that alternative medicine, there have been a number of large studies on this, alternative medicine is associated with worse outcomes.”

He suggested that it's Smith who is politicizing cancer.

“You would think that a politician would be more sensitive more careful about spreading misinformation, health misinformation like this. We don’t need to legitimize pseudoscience, we need more good science,” said Caulfield.

He added that he does agree that lifestyle choices such as exercise, not smoking and eating well are alternative medicines in themselves to hopefully prevent deadly diseases.

Smith’s campaign did not make her available for an interview on Tuesday, referring CTV back to her podcast and video statement.

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