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Smith attacks Redford over conscience rights

CALGARY — Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith says the Progressive Conservatives are playing typical liberal politics with the issue of conscience rights.

“It’s typical of liberal politicians to demonize a conservative party using fear-mongering. I think that Albertans won’t fall for it,” Smith said Thursday.

“They saw Preston Manning treated this way by Eastern Canada and eastern Canadian critics. They saw Stephen Harper treated this way by eastern Canadian critics.”

The conscience rights issue emerged on the campaign trial Wednesday. Smith declined to say whether she supported public workers being allowed to opt out jobs such as marrying gay couples or performing abortions over moral objections. She said Wildrose would set up a special branch of the provincial court to moderate disputes if they arise.

Redford said Smith’s comments left her “frightened” for Albertans, suggesting that support of conscience rights is a policy position the Wildrose had hoped to keep quiet.

Redford denied that she’s fear-mongering.

“No I’m not, but I am frightened,” she said at a Calgary announcement.

“I went home and thought about the fact that I was absolutely amazed we were having this conversation in Alberta because I believe that all Albertans want to live in a place where we respect each other, where we feel safe, where whether you’re a woman, or a young girl or a new Albertan, you know you’re going to be treated equally.”

 
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