NDP wants an investigation following the CBC report into the Alberta Prime Minister’s office’s contact with Crown prosecutors

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The opposition NDP in Alberta is calling for an independent investigation after sources told CBC News that an employee of the Alberta Premier’s Office, Danielle Smith, contacted the Alberta Crown Attorney’s Office on cases relating to the Coutts border blockade and protests.

During a press availability on Friday, NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi said Albertans needed to know what was in the emails.

“Attorney General Tyler Shandro is responsible for his responsibilities as the provincial attorney general and the principal officer responsible for the administration of justice and law in Alberta,” Pancholi said.

“He should immediately appoint an independent investigator to look into this. This is the step he can take immediately to protect the administration of justice and the administration of justice here in Alberta.”

On Thursday, CBC News reported that emails were sent from the prime minister’s office to the Alberta Crown Attorney’s Office last fall, criticizing the prosecutor’s assessment of the charges and pushing back the -characterization of the protest. Sources said CBC agreed not to identify them for fear of losing their jobs.

CBC News has not seen the emails in question.

The Alberta Premier’s Office said Smith had no contact with Crown prosecutors and was not aware that any of their staff had done so. He said that if an employee speaks up, “appropriate action will be taken.”

The Prime Minister’s office did not immediately respond to a follow-up email on Friday asking for clarification on whether an internal inquiry was planned.

In a statement given to CBC on Thursday evening, the Office of the Prime Minister said that Smith had no contact with Crown prosecutors and was not aware that any of their staff had done so. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The NDP had previously called for an independent investigation, given Smith’s previous statements about whether she had contacted Crown prosecutors. Last Friday, the Prime Minister said that she had used “imprecise” language after saying on two occasions that she was in contact.

The former chief of staff says the records should exist

Alberta political strategist Stephen Carter served as Smith’s chief of staff during her tenure as leader of the then-Wildrose Alliance Party, resigning from that position in 2009. He was also chief of staff to former Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

Carter said there should be ways to determine which employee sent the email.

“You must not delete your email from the system. That’s a pretty important no-no. So you’re stockpiling everything,” Carter said.

He said that such a crime should result in the dismissal of an employee.

“If they do not fall on their sword, the prime minister will have to fire them and may have to shoot them even if they are ready to fall on their sword,” he said.

Alberta political strategist Stephen Carter, who served as Smith’s chief of staff during her time as leader of the now-defunct Wildrose party, said it should be possible to find records of emails sent by – office of the Prime Minister who were sent. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Lisa Silver, who teaches at the University of Calgary Law School, said no email should have been sent to Crown prosecutors.

“There should be no emails, there should be no phone calls. Any question that anyone may have should be on the Cabinet table and then the Secretary of Justice will know what to say and what not to say,” she said.

Alberta prosecutors declined to comment on the emails Thursday, writing that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Justice Kim Goddard “did not recall” reading the emails but said, “It’s hard to say with 100 percent certainty that neither Kim [Goddard] However [prosecutor] steve [Johnston] I saw the emails you described but did not provide them.”

When asked Friday if cases related to Coutts could be reassigned to the Crown, a spokesperson for the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service said that, like all prosecutions, the charges related to Coutts are being evaluated. on an individual basis.

“We are confident that the assigned prosecutors performed their duties in full compliance with their commitments and as such there are no plans to reassign this matter,” spokeswoman Michelle Davio wrote.


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