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2023 Election

Alberta Campaign Roundup – Day 17


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From the Alberta Institute

Campaign Roundup – Day 17:

  • The details for the debate showdown between Rachel Notley and Danielle Smith are now finalized. It will take place tomorrow night at 6:00 pm. The debate will be hosted by Global and CTV, and televised on a wide range of channels as well as online.
  • At the Alberta Institute, we launched our second annual Alberta Policy Survey. We’d love to get your opinion on what issues are most important and what solutions should be proposed to solve them. Filling out the survey will only take about 5 minutes, but will really help our researchers decide where we should focus our attention as an organization.
  • The NDP said that family farms need a break and reiterated that their plan to eliminate the small business tax will apply to family farms. Perhaps that will help farms break even (unlikely) when they are forced to pay WCB premiums for family members who pitch in and higher carbon taxes?
  • Rachel Notley also announced that Albertans would have access to $10 per day childcare by the end of 2024, including after school care.
  • UCP Candidates Demetrios Nicolaides (Calgary-Bow) and Devin Dreeshen (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake), took questions from the media in Calgary. They said that, with a conservative government in Ottawa and Alberta, there will be no more carbon tax.
  • Dreeshen also reminded Albertans that the NDP were responsible for an increase in monthly power bills by speeding up the phase-out of Alberta coal power plants. He opposed their plan to move the electricity grid to net-zero by 2035, saying it would drive up prices even further.
  • Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell wrote a piece about a recent conversation with Danielle Smith. In the article, Smith says that the NDP are trying to fool people into thinking they’re moderates and that Rachel Notley is only pretending to be a progressive conservative. She said that the NDP is not moderate – they’re ideological.
  • Danielle Smith also attended an event in Medicine Hat, which she said drew a crowd of more than 300 people at noon on a workday.
  • NDP candidates David Shepherd (Edmonton-City Centre) and Cam Heenan (Leduc-Beaumont), held a press conference to announce the party’s plan to reduce EMS response times. They announced increased funding for EMS and better working conditions for paramedics.

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2023 Election

CBC News retracts report alleging email interference by Alberta premier’s office

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith responds to a question during a news conference after a meeting of western premiers, in Whistler, B.C., on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. CBC News is retracting a report from January alleging someone in Premier Danielle Smith’s office emailed prosecutors to question the handling of cases involving a COVID-19 protest at a U.S. bordering crossing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

CBC News is retracting a report alleging someone in Premier Danielle Smith’s office emailed Crown prosecutors to question and challenge the handling of cases involving COVID-19 protests in Alberta that blocked traffic at a U.S. border crossing for more than two weeks.

CBC made the announcement Wednesday in an unsigned editor’s note atop an amended online version of the original Jan. 19 story.

“Our sources have insisted that Crown prosecutors felt political pressure regarding the Coutts, (Alta.), cases, but they are not able to confirm that the emails they originally described were sent directly from the premier’s office to the Crown,” said the editor’s note.

“As such, we have updated this story and related pieces, removing references to direct contact between the premier’s office and prosecutors — which the premier has vehemently denied.

“CBC News regrets reporting direct contact by email.”

The story, along with public comments made by Smith around that time, sparked months of controversy, accusations, investigations and threats of lawsuits that culminated in an investigation and subsequent May 18 report by ethics commissioner Marguerite Trussler.

In that report, Trussler found no evidence of such emails but, based on other information, concluded Smith broke ethics rules and sought to undermine the rule of law by trying to persuade her then-justice minister to make a COVID-19-related criminal prosecution “go away.”

Smith had challenged the veracity of the CBC email claims from the start, noting officials could find no evidence of such correspondence and that CBC News itself had stated it had not seen the emails in question.

CBC stood by its reporting for months, but in Wednesday’s note stated Trussler’s finding of no evidence to support the existence of the emails prompted it to review the matter anew and reach a new conclusion.

Smith’s office has threatened to sue the CBC for defamation for months over the story, but has yet to formally launch a claim. Smith recently said she wanted to sit down with CBC officials to explore the matter.

Smith stood in the chamber of the legislature last month and formally apologized for her Jan. 6 phone call to then-justice minister Tyler Shandro in which she sought to have him abandon the criminal prosecution of COVID protester Artur Pawlowski.

Shandro refused to intervene and Pawlowski was eventually found guilty of mischief.

Smith has since asked new Justice Minister Mickey Amery to give her guidelines on how she is to interact with him on legal matters.

Smith has said she will also act on Trussler’s recommendation to have new members to the legislature receive briefings on how the separation of powers works in Canada’s democracy.

Her office declined Wednesday to comment on the CBC retraction, state whether the meeting with CBC officials took place, say if Smith still planned to sue or say whether the updated guidelines from Amery had arrived.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said in a statement that the public broadcaster has not met with Smith.

“The editor’s note was published after reviewing all of our journalism and talking again to sources,” Thompson said.

“As you can appreciate, it’s not our place to speak for the premier on what she may or may not do (regarding a lawsuit).”

The Opposition NDP, meanwhile, asked RCMP in a letter last month to investigate whether Smith’s actions violated Criminal Code provisions surrounding breach of trust and obstructing justice.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2023.

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2023 Election

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley mum on political future following election loss

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