Alberta PM says she was “imprecise” when she said she contacted prosecutors
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s office released a statement saying she used “inaccurate” language when she said she contacted Crown prosecutors after two incidents.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in Edmonton, Smith said she questioned Crown prosecutors about charges related to COVID-19 health injuries.
“We have an independent Ministry of Justice and independent Crown prosecutors and I have asked them to review all charges from the perspective of ‘is it in the public interest?'”.
“I regularly ask them when new cases come up, is it in the public interest to pursue them and is there a reasonable likelihood of conviction?”
Smith made similar comments last month. In an interview with Rebel News about charges related to COVID, Smith said she continues to raise questions about whether prosecution related to public health orders is in the public interest.
“I took the prosecutors and asked them to review the cases with those two things in mind,” she said in an interview published on the Rebel News website on December 23.
In a new statement issued on Friday, Smith said she had discussions with Attorney General Tyler Shandro and the Deputy Attorney General, rather than with Crown prosecutors as she previously said.
“I never communicated with the Crown prosecutors.”
Prime Minister Danielle Smith said she had discussions with Attorney General Tyler Shandro (pictured) and the Deputy Attorney General. She said she had not spoken to Crown prosecutors. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)
“While my language may have been imprecise in these cases, I was referring to the above process and discussions, and the advice I received from the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General.”
Smith said she asked Shandro and his deputy to review what options were available regarding any pending cases related to COVID.
“They advised me that Crown prosecutors decide independently whether or not to proceed with cases related to COVID based on their assessment of whether there was a reasonable chance of conviction and whether it was in the public interest to do so ,” wrote a statement. sent by email.
“I respect this independent process.”
“Really, really big problem,” says Nenshi
Speaking of Calgary Eyeopener On Friday, former Calgary mayor Naheed Nensi said Smith’s comments were “very serious.”
He said that if Smith spoke to prosecutors it would be judicial interference.
“If indeed, as the Prime Minister’s Office statement says, she has never spoken to anyone or prosecutors about this… she is showing a model of being polite, exaggerating; if you’re less polite, lie about conversations she’s had.”
- LISTEN | Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nensi says Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s comments are very serious:
Calgary Eyeopener10:27Nenshi and Farkas on Alberta politics
Danielle Smith is accused of political interference in law enforcement for those who broke the rules of the COVID-19. Our body politic interferes.
As an example, Nenshi pointed to the Arctic Winter Games vaccination mandate. In November, Smith said she asked the games to drop the vaccination requirement in response to the committee’s funding request, but the President of the organization said this was not true and disputed the idea that the Games’ vaccination policy was reversed in exchange for funding.
Nenshi added that if Smith discussed the prosecution with Shandro, while legal, it was similar to the SNC-Lavalin controversy that landed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in hot water in 2019.
Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found that Trudeau had violated the Conflicts of Interest Act by trying to influence then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and get her to revoke a decision to award the company of engineering SNC-Lavalin no deferred prosecution agreement to give.
“Citizens can really ask themselves, even if it is legal, if it is appropriate for the Prime Minister to put pressure on court officials, and in this case in particular on the Deputy Attorney General , who is the senior official in charge of that court system with their opinion on how to enforce the law?” asked Nenshi.
On Thursday, the Alberta NDP called for an independent investigation into Smith’s interactions with Crown prosecutors.