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2023 Election

Alberta Election Campaign 2023: Day 22


3 minute read

From the Alberta Institute

Campaign Roundup – Day 22:

  • It’s May long weekend, but that didn’t stop both parties from campaigning, as early voting begins tomorrow! To locate your advance polling station, you can use this tool from Elections Alberta.
  • A new Abacus Data poll suggests that province-wide, the UCP leads the NDP 51% to 47%, while in battleground Calgary, the UCP leads 51% to 46%. Those numbers still suggest a pretty tight race, but a significant improvement for the UCP since last week’s debate.
  • Leaders, candidates, and volunteers were out in swing ridings. Rachel Notley held a rally in Calgary-Acadia, where Diana Batten from the NDP is looking to take the seat from the UCP’s Tyler Shandro.
  • Nate Horner, UCP Candidate for Drumheller-Stettler, held a press conference. He spoke to the ways that his party plans to make life more affordable for Albertans, and reminded people about the NDP’s carbon tax. He said the UCP is “extremely bullish” on nuclear energy and that he never met a tax cut he didn’t like!
  • Brian Jean, UCP Candidate for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, touted the benefits of the Film and Television Tax Credit in helping Alberta become a first-choice destination for producers.
  • A series of clever new signs had been popping up around the province, countering the NDP’s “What Will She Do Next?” attack ads, by explaining exactly what Smith will do next. The counter-signs appear to have been so effective that the NDP are now removing their original signs. There’s an old adage in politics – never ask an open-ended question, because it lets your opponent answer it!
  • Meanwhile, NDP-aligned Calgary City Councillor Kourtney Penner clearly didn’t get the memo from Rachel Notley about keeping the woke marxism quiet for another week… Councillor Penner took to twitter to call Calgarians who support holding a fireworks show on Canada Day racists. Yes, seriously! Our friends at Common Sense Calgary are running a petition to restore the fireworks show, which you can sign here.

  • Finally, in a sweet moment of putting aside differences, Danielle Smith wished a speedy recovery to Rachel Notley’s dog, who appeared to have been in a disagreement with a porcupine.

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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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