Smith closed the door on a caucus seat for the UCP candidate who likened transgender children to food scraps.

UCP leader Daniel Smith says his decision to drop candidate Jennifer Johnson from the caucus is “final” if elected.

In a leaked recording from an event last September, Johnson compared transgender children in schools to adding waste to the middle of cookies.

In the days since Johnson’s comments became public last week, Smith said Johnson would not sit on the UCP caucus, if Lacombe-Ponoka residents chose him.

But on Friday, Smith told CTV that he has opened the door for Johnson to rejoin the UCP caucus in the future.

“I believe in redemption,” Smith said. “I believe people have the ability to get second chances. He has a lot to prove.”

But at an unrelated press conference Wednesday, Smith said: “I’ve made it very clear that I have decided that (Johnson) will not sit with our caucus, if she is elected. And that is final.”

Smith’s comments came hours after the United Conservative Party constituency association in Lacombe-Ponoka posted on Facebook that the candidate could still represent the party in the legislature.

“…the candidate is still a UCP member in good standing and is likely to enter the UCP caucus in the near future,” the Tuesday evening post said.

By Wednesday morning, the constituency association had removed the post and added a new message, saying the previously published comments did not reflect the views of the board, and were the words of a volunteer. The board said the volunteer’s access to the Facebook page has been revoked.

“Our leader has made it clear that Jennifer Johnson will not sit on the UCP caucus if elected,” the post said Wednesday.

On September 1, 2022, Johnson spoke at a Western Unity Group event in Stettler about “The Perils of the Public Education System and Homeschooling/Podschooling as a Solution”.

A leaked recording caught Johnson saying Alberta’s highly-ranked education system is pointless when transgender students are in school. He compared their presence to adding a teaspoon of waste to the center of a cookie.

“We might be in the top three percent but his little poop ruins it,” Johnson says on the audio.

Johnson also claimed that a Red Deer school has litter boxes in classrooms for students who identify as queers, and said schools should end sex education.

Previous Week, Johnson apologized for the language she used and said she would express her concerns about child migration more respectfully.

The Lacombe-Ponoka Constituency Association did not respond to an email or Facebook message Wednesday.

Johnson also had not responded to a phone call or email as of Wednesday evening.

NDP candidate for Edmonton Whitmead, Rakhi Pancholi, said during a press conference Wednesday that there is nothing stopping Smith from re-joining Johnson in the UCP caucus in the future.

Pancholi called Johnson’s views “reprehensible” and said he had done nothing to prove he was fit for public office.

“It shows that Daniel Smith hasn’t learned anything from him. ‘river of fire’ 2012 event. She is just saying what she needs to try to put out the fire,” Pancholi said.

In 2012, when Smith was running for premier as leader of the Wildrose Party, his campaign was derailed when Wildrose candidate Alan Hunsperger’s earlier comments became more publicized.

In a 2011 blog post, Hunsperger said that LGBTQ+ people “will spend the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”

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