Political Interference in the Administration of Justice (Again!) 

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”—Proverb, originated 1562

Did you catch all that?

Premier Smith has been all over the airwaves saying that regardless of what it looks like she wasn’t trying to interfere with the administration of justice.

On Thursday Jan 12 in a discussion about the prosecution of people who’d violated covid public health restrictions, Smith said she regularly asked crown prosecutors: “Is it in the public interest to pursue and is there a reasonable likelihood of conviction?”

This followed comments she’d made last December to Rebel News where she said, “I’ve put it to the prosecutors, and I have asked them to do a review of the cases with those two things in mind and I’m hopeful that we’ll see a true turning of the page,”

So Smith admitted she talked to public prosecutors, right?

Ah, no.

On Friday Jan 13 the Alberta Attorneys’ Association issued a statement saying prosecutorial independence is fundamental to their role and a central component of an open and fair justice system;  they must be able to perform their duties independent of political influence and they were not aware of any case where an elected official tried to contact a specific prosecutor to ask about a prosecution.

On the same day Smith said “Of course, I’ve never called a Crown prosecutor. You’re not allowed to do that as a politician. Everyone knows that.”

So Smith lied to Rebel News, she didn’t talk to the prosecutors?

No, she didn’t lie, it was just a silly mix up.

Smith said she “may have used some imprecise language, but [her] contact with the Justice department has always been through the appropriate channels, and that’s the attorney general…[she] had discussions with the attorney general and deputy attorney general and asked them to look into what options were available with respect to outstanding covid-related cases.”

So it’s all good now, right?

Wrong.

SNC Lavalin

Cast your mind back to the spring of 2019 when Justin Trudeau was embroiled in the SNC Lavalin scandal.

The RCMP charged SNC Lavalin with corruption and fraud. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to give SNC a deferred prosecution agreement. Jody Wilson-Raybould, the attorney general, said she felt pressured by Trudeau to override the Director of Public Prosecutions decision when Trudeau and others asked her to consider “other solutions.”

The justice committee investigated Wilson-Raybould’s allegations and the Ethics Commissioner found Trudeau had improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC.  

As we say in law, the Trudeau case and the Smith case are “on all fours” (very similar). Both heads of government spoke directly to the attorney general—and in Smith’s case the deputy attorney general as well—about a matter being handed by the Crown prosecutors, and they both asked the AG (and in Smith’s case the deputy AG) to consider something other than prosecution.

The big difference between the two cases is the evidence.

In Trudeau’s case the evidence was in the form of “he said/she said” testimony (Trudeau said he didn’t pressure Wilson-Raybould, she said he did).

While in Smith’s case the evidence is “she said, period.” Every damning word, every contradiction, came directly from Smith’s lips. The only person contradicting Smith is Smith.

This should worry Albertans because it leads us to wonder whether Smith lied when she said she’d talked to prosecutors. Furthermore her explanation that she spoke only to the AG and the deputy AG raises the question of whether she tried to use political influence to interfere with the administration of justice.

There are enough questions about Smith’s conduct to warrant an investigation or public inquiry into who Smith talked to, what she said, and why.   

Where is the law and order party?

The NDP are asking for such an investigation. One would think the UCP, those stalwart champions of law and order, would support them.

Their federal brethren pounced on Trudeau in 2019 demanding answers to these questions after Wilson-Raybould’s allegations became public. In addition to the judicial committee hearing, the conservatives demanded additional investigations, a public inquiry and Trudeau’s resignation.  

Why? Because all parties regardless of political stripe abhor the whiff of political interference in the administration of justice.

No wait, we’re talking about the party of Kaycee Madu. The UCP will happily accept Smith’s explanation. The former radio show host, hailed as intelligent and articulate, simply used imprecise language.

Really? What is vague and inexact about the word “prosecutors”? She either spoke to them or she didn’t.

What is vague and inexact about the words “attorney general” and “deputy attorney general” in the context of asking them to look into “options” other than prosecution? That’s either interference with the administration of justice or it’s not.

So why the free pass? As the ancient proverb says, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Or to put it more precisely, what’s good for the gander (Trudeau) is good for the goose (Smith).

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62 Responses to Political Interference in the Administration of Justice (Again!) 

  1. Diane Marie says:

    Not entirely true. The Shawcross Doctrine says that interested parties – cabinet ministers, for example – can offer their opinions to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General but they may not direct her and she testified that she was indeed not directed. The question was the negotiation of a remediation agreement, not letting SNC off the hook criminally. The AG possessed the authority under the DPP Act (Harper, 2006) to direct at the Public Prosecutor to undertake said negotiations but she elected not to, so then it fell to the Court to prosecute or negotiate a plea deal – which is what ended up happening. Plea deal was a watered down remediation agreement.

    • Diane Marie, you’re absolutely right. JWR said she felt pressured by Trudeau and members of the PMO but she also said she’d told Trudeau she’d done her due diligence and she was not going to overrule the decision not to offer SNC a deferred prosecution agreement.
      One wonders whether this blew up later because JWR didn’t like the fact she was being moved from Justice to Veteran’s Affairs as a result of the cabinet shuffle that resulted from the resignation of Scott Brison. Originally she was offered Indigenous Affairs but she turned it down, she said she opposed the Indian Act.
      For the record I agreed with the law prof Errol Mendes who said the ethics commission was wrong to find Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act.

  2. Irene says:

    What Smith is saying is that SHE tells the crown prosecutors whom they should prosecute and for what. It wasn’t a subtle dog whistle but a big, loud broadcast to the populace of Alberta that she, herself makes the laws and decides who is a criminal. If this doesn’t give the people of Alberta the “heads up” on the slippery slope to fascism I don’t know what will.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      How do you say, “l’état, c’est moi” in Albertanese?

    • Irene and Jerrymacgp: This is the real issue here.
      Smith promised pardons for those who’d been convicted of violating public health rules (she failed), she promised to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to protect those who were supposedly ‘discriminated’ against by public health rules (she backtracked), and now she’s trying to influence the justice system to get charges dropped against those who violated public health rules.
      Her base is running the show and this is just the first act.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Danielle Smith is quite good at saying things she shouldn’t be saying, and then has to retract after the fact, and by then it’s too late. With SNC Lavalin, this matter predates Justin Trudeau’s time as Prime Minister. It goes back farther than that, to 2012, and had something to do with John Baird, a CPC cabinet minister, who was a cabinet minister in the Mike Harris PC government in Ontario, prior to becoming a federal politician. I tried posting a comment, with two links, but the comment didn’t show up. It seems like there is a newer format here.

    • Thanks Dwayne. The only reason I mentioned the Trudeau/SNC Lavalin case was to illustrate the UCP’s hypocrisy. They go ballistic at the mere mention of Trudeau’s name, but when their own leader is ready to violate the rule of law (the Alberta Sovereignty Act originally included a provision to give Cabinet the power to make laws in secrete, and still usurps the authority of the courts) we hear not a peep.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I’ll share some more fitting music. This is a Joe Babcock composition, I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water. The Spencer Davis Group covered it on their second album, which was released in January of 1966. Steve Winwood isn’t on lead vocals here, as it is Spencer Davis doing the lead vocals. Steve Winwood is on organ, and on background vocals. In this group, Steve Winwood played lead guitar, harmonica, piano and organ, and did most of the lead vocals. His older brother Muff Winwood played bass, and did background vocals. Spencer Davis played rythm guitar, did occasional lead vocals, and did background vocals. Pete York played the drums. Steve Winwood also had some admiration for country music, so it’s likely he came up with the idea of doing a cover of this song. This is in my music collection.

    • Dwayne, while I’m not a huge fan of country music I must admit the lyrics to this sound were compelling. Thanks.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Steve Winwood was only 17 years old, when this album was released in January of 1966. It was recorded in 1965. Spencer Davis (rest in peace) also played harmonica in the band, in addition to the aforementioned rythm guitar, occasional lead vocals, and background vocals. I do like country music, and these lyrics seemingly fit for what we see going on.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. This is Elvis Presley live in Las Vegas, in 1970, performing Suspicious Minds. I have this DVD. It’s also sad to hear that Lisa Marie Presley passed away recently, at age 54.

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. This is a live performance from around 1983, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. It is Jeff Beck doing his composition, Star Cycle. It features Jeff Beck on guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on bass guitar, and Simon Phillips on drums. This was from the ARMS Concert for the English musican, Ronnie Lane, who needed treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. He passed away from the disease in 1997. Sadly, Jeff Beck passed away on January 10, at age 78. Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds. The Yardbirds also had Jimmy Page in the band, who formed Led Zeppelin, after the Yardbirds broke up in July of 1968. Jeff Beck is in my music collection too. I saw him twice live and met him.

  7. Pat Taylor says:

    I’m not sold on Danielle Smith (yet) but I believe she has a point. If there’s no probability of a conviction, find a solution. I don’t think there is anything nefarious about that. Let’s get through that and move forward.
    I’m interested to see where the chips fall after the feds are forced to sue Alberta and Saskatchewan over the Sovereignty issue. She is only demanding to be treated like Quebec. It’s going to be very interesting, the next 4 months.🤞🏻
    Regarding SNC Lavilin; Trudeau is a out and out liar. He’s been caught before.

    • Pat, I disagree. the prosecutors know their jobs. They don’t prosecute if there’s “no possibility of a conviction”, they certainly don’t need Smith to tell them that.
      I’m making a different point, namely that if she talked to the prosecutors (as she said she did, before she backtracked and said she didn’t) then she violated the rule of law because prosecutorial independence is fundamental to a fair justice system. The courts have ruled on this many times. If she talked to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general (as she said she did) then she may have crossed the same line many argued Trudeau had crossed in the SNC Lavalin case.
      My point was if people think Trudeau should have been investigated then Smith should be investigated as well. What’s good for the goose…

    • Carlos says:

      Pat who decides whether or not there is a probability of a conviction?

      Certainly not a liar like Danielle Smith.

      Live it to the Justice department to decide and keep you hands of the rule of law. The problem is that in the UCPs simple solutions world none of that is necessary because they want to be the ones deciding.

      If she wants to be treated like Quebec she has to do 3 things:
      1) Wait for the election to get a mandate as a premier
      2) Grow up and follow the rule of law
      3) Instead of coming up with an Unconstitutional silly without any consultation with Albertans law, she just needs to use the existing channels and fight for it when she has the support of Albertans.
      4) Stop lying we have gotten enough of that and maybe someone will consider you worth spending time with or be listen to.

      • Thanks Carlos. As I said to Pat, it’s the prosecutor’s job to decide whether the evidence is enough to support a conviction. I have a friend who’s a prosecutor, he says sometimes the decision not to prosecute upsets the police who’ve investigated the alleged crime. But in a free and democratic society the rules of evidence mean something.
        I think the real issue with Danielle Smith is she’s a libertarian, the rules and conventions of a caring society do not necessarily apply.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Pat, there’s a more important point than “can they get a conviction.” Elected officials are NOT supposed to stick their fingers into the courts’ pie. Pretend for a moment Rachel Notley had said, “Environment protesters are the most oppressed people I’ve ever met. I’ve talked to the prosecutors, to make sure prosecuting these cases are in the public interest.” With respect, Pat, how would that make you feel?

      The feds won’t be “forced to sue Alberta” because Smith won’t use the Sovereignty Act. It’s unconstitutional, by design. It would be tossed out by the Supreme Court. Smith knows this. It’s why she’s said there are “no immediate plans” to invoke the Act. A bluff is totally worthless after it’s called. For now, the bluff keeps the Base riled up—which Smith hopes will help in the election.

      Now, about Quebec. Sorry to break it to you, but Quebec (and the Maritimes) have special privileges because they’re founding members of Confederation.

      Quebec’s special status goes back to 1759. New France was conquered in a colonial war (Google “the Plains of Abraham”). To keep the New French (relatively) quiet, the British governor struck a deal. Ex-new-France would keep its laws (French common law, not British), its religion (Catholic, not Anglican) and its parliament (well, mostly). In return, former New France would not be flooded with British colonists–and British soldiers.

      None of this applies to Alberta; we weren’t conquered, we were the colonists. Alberta is a latecomer, so we got the leftovers. Saskatchewan and Manitoba got the same deal. The way to get a better one is to talk it through—and don’t forget the First Nations. Like it or not, they have a say, too. That’s another thing that’s changed for the better since 1867.

    • Stephen Anderson says:

      Pat,
      This is merely about inappropriate actions by any politician interfering with the legal systems. Smith cannot point the finger at Trudeau or anyone else, go and do the same thing and not expect to be called on it; both interferences were wrong.
      However, Smith’s interferences are more damning because a) she admitted to them, and, b) apparently there are emails showing contacts by her office with the prosecutors’ offices. These two things show that it is not merely hearsay.
      Finally, one misdeed cannot be condemned as wrong, and the other excused. Party lines make no difference to the law.

  8. mikegklein says:

    Thank you Susan, as always.

    We must remember the she is the face of the Free Alberta Strategy group. When she makes clearly false promises to her most extreme base, she knows that without that base, her career is a dead duck. When she must correct herself, she often takes completely impossible positions, just with milder wording. When she does finally acknowledge that what she and her base are trying to do, they legally simply cannot do, It isn’t that other Albertans are resisting, it’s that the servants of the government will not let her do what needs to be done. By the way, judges and other legal beagle eggheads are also servants of the government, you know, protectors of their own little empires.

    With the educated eggheads behind and part of the Free Alberta Strategy group advising her, of course she knows her promises are impossible at levels even beyond simple illegality. They often also violate the most basic principles of democratic governance.

    They all know that, but if it creates havoc, destroys the country, turns Alberta and Saskatchewan into petro-client-states of Big Oil, and for them, that’s just great. Even the development of fascism requires the little Texas Two Step of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas fame.

    As much as I might disparage this gang, I also remind us all that we must watch out, they are not dangerously stupid, they are dangerously devious. The alienated in perhaps any society are ripe for the picking by these masters of manipulation.

    Imagine, with all this completely crazy crap, they still have an almost unbreakable hold on over 30% of the voting public in Alberta and Saskatchewan. That makes them incredibly dangerous.

    Mike

    >

    • Well said, Mike, they’re “dangerously devious,” and might I add, delusional. And delusions, particularly of grandeur and persecution, are signs of a serious mental disorder.

    • Mike and Judy: well said. Particularly the point that Smith et al are incredibly dangerous. When I first read the Free Alberta strategy I thought it was nuts, particularly given it would cost multi millions to implement and negatively impact the business sector by creating a schism between the provincial and federal governments thereby increasing uncertainty and red tape.
      And yet here we are, moving ahead with the first stages of the Free Alberta strategy.
      Making Alberta independent in all but name isn’t a matter of which political party you belong to, it’s a matter of common sense and yet as you both point out common sense goes out the window when misguided victimhood waltzes in the door.

    • Carlos says:

      ‘As much as I might disparage this gang, I also remind us all that we must watch out, they are not dangerously stupid, they are dangerously devious. The alienated in perhaps any society are ripe for the picking by these masters of manipulation.’

      Mikegklein

      Loved this sentence and to me it says it all. Like you, I strongly believe they are trained manipulators and they are dangerously devious.

      Ignoring this kind of people is a gamble and we cannot take our eyes off the ball because they are waiting for us to blink.

      • mikegklein says:

        It’s like deviousness and manipulation are in their DNA. They’re just being what they are. I actually do not believe people are born this way and cannot be redeemed. However, these folks work very hard to change my mind.

      • Carlos says:

        Absolutely – it makes me sick witnessing human predators in action.

        I have always been respectful of different political ideologies but this is destructive devious behaviour for their personal gain, nothing else. This has no human value whatsoever.

        Lying is a sport and cheating encouraged.

        What is extremely sad is that 30% of us support this horrendous circus and the only reason I can think of is that they would like to do the same if given an opportunity.

        So much for a population that seems to claim to be Christian and believe in God.

        Where did they find this God? What kind of education creates this kind of destructive liars? We should all be concerned where we are heading. The times of peaceful democracy is over and it will get worse if we do not change our attitudes towards these useless clowns.

        Wake up Alberta – we should be expecting at least decency and dignity not this negative toxic garbage.

    • Stephen Anderson says:

      Sadly, I think you’re mostly right. The power behind the throne is devious, but, the puppet isn’t anywhere smart enough, or able to stop the mouth until the brain engages.

      • mikegklein says:

        I hope you are correct Stephen. But we must be prepared for that to not be the case. I suspect a habit of catering to the outrage then if there’s too much blowback, retreating without truly recanting. If there’s not too much blowback, no retreating.

      • Stephen Anderson says:

        Hi Mike,
        I agree with you she’s continually testing the waters and trying to push, push, push. There’s no sincerity in any apologies whatsoever, merely an attempt to keep her supporters outraged and alienated from any other parties and points of view.

      • mikegklein says:

        That constant testing of the waters and push, push, push it seems to me is of the same mind as Mr. Harper’s long game strategy of constantly moving society’s political centre to the right. Even then it was pretty obvious that left for them began with the wrist of the right hand. This gang has left beginning with the first knuckle of the index finger of the right hand.
        That, I believe, is point to this attack and retreat strategy. Constantly, (also a Harper thing) incrementally push to extremism. That’s what is really behind my belief that her “stumbles” are not stumbles at all. That’s what makes me think the entire Dani et al show is planned, rehearsed and staged.

      • Stephen Anderson says:

        I do think that the direction is planned overall, but I still think that the puppet is not entirely up to the task. I know someone who knows her quite well and this person says that Smith is very easily influenced by oddball ideas and causes.

    • Comment says:

      Very true. I can’t believe we got to this point. Take Back Alberta freedumb fighters are not a joke anymore. They have infiltrated mainstream society. The UCP cannot get elected in May. The implications of them winning are very scary.

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    The “law & order” party? In fact, it has been my general experience that modern conservatives — both provincial & federal — only respect those laws they agree with. From the federal Impact Assessment Act — aka Bill C-69, or what Kenney called the “no more pipelines bill” — to the firearms provisions of the Criminal Code, to the provincial Public Health Act, they seem quite willing to countenance violations of any legislation they disagree with.

    • Jerrymacgp: you nailed it. The other example that comes to mind is the trucker convoy which set up illegal blockades at international borders and occupied downtown Ottawa. Many federal and provincial conservatives not only applauded the truckers but joined them, tweeting selfies of themselves with their arms around people who were violating the law.

      • Stephen Anderson says:

        People should take those actions very seriously. Any politicians who aligns themselves with those who blatantly flout the law, or support any form of seditious behaviour are not fit to hold office. Who’s going to uphold the law if our politicians inhabit the grey or black areas?

  10. Paul Pearlman says:

    Lie and deny! Keeps the base happy and the rest of us guessing what’s next? Then of course throw a few bucks our way, welcome to the next form of the Clown Party, just gets crazier almost daily. Hopefully the voters realize the b….S…. !!!

    • Paul, I’m glad you mentioned the UCP affordability action plan (aka the “few bucks” plan). I was listening to Rachel Notley on West of Centre the other day. She made some very good points about the “few bucks” plan. She said it’s true the province can’t control inflation and she’s glad the UCP are trying to help Albertans with affordability, but let’s not forget that the UCP made the cost of living go up because they lifted the cap on insurance and the cap on utilities and their rebates are tiny and won’t commence until June and July 2023 (it’s a pre-election deferral)
      Also the $100/month of 6 months program is very poorly designed. What’s the rationale for paying a family of two earning $179,000/year but not paying a single person who earns $60,000/year?
      Like most things Smith does, it’s all geared to serving her base and winning the next election.

  11. Carlos says:

    Trying a second time

    It is any wonder our political system is failing big time. Who trusts politicians? More importantly what is done about it. Investigation after investigation but we either do not know the results or when we get them it is always some blah blah and forgotten.

    Human beings are the worse predators on this planet although we think we are intelligent and a superior animal. Unfortunately we just happen to be the best adapted animal to destroy everything on our path.

    Danielle Smith is a lost cause and she lies so easily and she assumes no responsibility and so she needs to be not just told so but suffer consequences. She is not competent and honest enough to run anything much less our province. Just like Jason Kenney and other cabinet ministers, lying is a sport. Guess what? We need to take care of our political system if we ever aspire to be a decent and well run nation.
    Getting away with murder in 2023 is nothing but a clear sign we are still far from being a civilized society.

    What is most amazing to me is that we seem to aspire to get away with murder and teach it to our kids rather than being decent citizens and behave like civilized people.

    We need to be able to have more say into these matters rather than just allow this mafia from corrupting our values, ethics, and moral standings and taking all of us with them into chaos.

    • Carlos, I agree with you that it’s up to us to put a stop to this.
      I was listening to a CBC interview with Bill McGibben the other day. The topic was climate change and how we’ve missed the boat as far as stopping it, but we can keep the warming below a 2C increase IF we work together.
      He was optimistic we could achieve this because HSBC, the biggest bank in Europe, just announced it would stop funding new oil and gas developments. He said this was the result of climate activists finally getting through to the big financial institution.
      He said it’s pointless to expect governments and industry to take the lead, it’s up to us to band together and to force the change we want to see.
      I think his advice applies equally to our situation here in Alberta. We need to do the legwork now so we can vote the UCP out of office in May 2023.

      • Carlos says:

        I could not agree with you more Susan.

        I just wished I knew the formula to convince the citizens of this province that we are missing the boat and that we are heading for worse if we do not wake up once and for all.

        Danielle Smith is lying and we cannot allow this kind of incompetence to take over our lives. It is easy to get corrupt but a lot more difficult to become an ethical person.

        Accepting conspiracy theories is not going to build anything.
        Reject this lunacy.

  12. James Lees says:

    And here we are again, the Premier spouts off publicly to demonstrate her leadership, and two days later she is walking her statements back….. If, as she says, everyone knows she can only speak to her Attorney General, then why didn’t she know that when she made her problematic statements. She is nearly as bad as Donald Trump when she goes off message and ad libs her remarks.

    • James, what a great point. Sometimes I wonder whether Smith’s supporters actually listen to what she says because you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to hear her contradict herself every time she opens her mouth.
      That’s why I’m glad she’s offered to make herself available for “ask me anything” sessions with the press. Some people don’t like this because they say she’s engaging in pre-election campaigning (probably true) however if we let her run off at the mouth she’ll sink herself. Especially if the press do their homework ahead of time.

  13. Judy J. Johnson says:

    Important post, Susan! You’ve emphasized here and in other posts that Danielle Smith has a pattern of mendacity, and lies are the foundation of propaganda designed to target an individual (Trudeau) or group (“those people”). This fuels hatred on social media platforms, especially in times of economic and social upheaval, or climate change disasters. Enter a charming politician who declares he/she will clean up the mess–a politician with delusions of grandeur who unconscionably spews lies–and conditions are ripe for civil war.

    • Judy, I know you’ve done academic research in the area of authoritarianism and I’d like to thank you for sharing your insights here. In a few short sentences you’ve captured the situation in which we find ourselves.

  14. Mike J Danysh says:

    Cons went ballistic when Justin Trudeau tried to get SNC-Lavalin off the hook. But they were fine, it was OK, when Kaycee Madu phoned the Edmonton chief of police about a traffic ticket. Danielle Smith wanted to talk to prosecutors about those poor, downtrodden anti-vaxxers, and that’s better than OK! Danielle’s just trying to help.

    “So why the free pass?” Heck, that’s obvious. “We” can do whatever we want, even or especially if you don’t like it. “You” are not “we,” so “you” do what “we” tell you.

    Welcome to tribal politics.

  15. Linda says:

    Mike, agree with you on that ‘we’. Keeping in mind the Sovereignty Act that effectively was making Dani & crew rulers, able to interpret the law as they willed & not even have to consult the elected MP’s to change whatever they wanted. So ‘we’ is appropriate, as in the ‘royal WE’. Off with their heads!

    I don’t actually want to decapitate the UCP crew, except metaphorically. What I want is to see them thrown out of office asap, because these folks have shown that they do not have the best interests of Albertans in mind other than their ‘own’ Albertans – folks who believe/act like they do.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Linda. As if we hadn’t heard enough, Smith has backtracked again. This time, she says she’s abandoned the idea of Covid-19 “pardons.”

      It seems Smith finally realized that a Canadian premier does not have the authority—or even the legal framework—required to issue a pardon for, well, anything. Here’s a concise review of Smith’s confused and contradictory statements on the whole mess:
      https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2023/01/16/smith-says-no-covid-19-pardons-because-canadian-system-doesnt-work-like-the-u-s/#.Y8cfhUHMKUm

      Here’s yet another remarkable statement from Smith:

      “ ‘Because we’ve been so influenced by the (United) States, I think that some people think that a premier has the same power as they do in the States of clemency or offering pardons,’ Smith told the Shaun Newman podcast Monday.”

      Do tell. Who’s “we” this time? Smith and her enablers, I guess. Tamara Lich’s husband went to Ottawa to post bail for her, back in February. He started mumbling about the Fifth Amendment, and the judge had to remind him which country he was in. Anyone want to comment on how common that particular misunderstanding is?

      Smith’s mindset is illustrated perfectly by a quote at the end of the article. It’s taken from an interview or maybe political scrum in October 2022. Smith said she believed the public-health arrests were “political decisions [and so] they can be political decisions to offer a reversal, but I…want to get some legal advice[.]” Why do I doubt she took the advice?

      Tribal politics, UCP style. Don’t like the decision? Claim you’re being bullied. The proper response is, “Cry me a river.” Danielle Smith’s one saving grace is that she can learn from mistakes—once her nose is rubbed in them.

  16. Carlos says:

    Well I could not enter this as a reply to Mike so I post it as a first message

    Mike I agree with you 100%.
    I remember the 5th amendment story.

    These people are so enamored with the US they forget they live in Canada.
    Well I can understand why. Being involved with White Supremacist groups in the US is like you say, tribal politics and they have no borders.

    I just finished watching a documentary that I thought very informative and surprising. It is called ‘The US and the Holocaust’. It is scary to see the parallels of the rise of fascism in the 1930s and now. I certainly hope we do not end with the same shameful and horrible end. I recommend it for those who enjoy politics.

    I am not sure I agree with your opinion on Danielle Smith. Anyone that aspires to leadership has to have, in my opinion, a minimum level of care as to what they say and at least, an intermediate level of how the political system works. Although she is been in politics for a long time, she demonstrates an appalling low level of basic knowledge. Either she is playing games or she is in fact ignorant. She seems to learn fast when it comes to conspiracy theories.
    This is a Conservative trait these days. Pierre Poilievre is not any better.

    It is scary what they say and do in the name of freedom.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Carlos. Thanks for extending the thread; I think Linda had to do the same. (WordPress seems less than user-friendly.)

      Fascism, sadly, is not dead. It rises when times are hard and ordinary folks are convinced the government doesn’t care. Hitler became Der Führer in part by playing on Germany’s economic collapse (hyperinflation, then the Great Depression). Donald Trump correctly stated that ordinary Americans were being screwed over by “the system.” When “the People” gave Trump power, he did nothing to help them, but oh boy did he help himself.

      We can take comfort from the fact that historical cycles recur—and it looks like the world is beginning to turn away from populist anti-Other hatred. Trump is eyebrows-deep in trouble. Boris Johnson is out (so far). Jair Bolsonaro fell even harder than Trump. Pierre Poilievre isn’t making much headway in Canada. It’s slow, and the haters will fight back (they always do), but tolerance is gaining ground again. I tell myself that a lot.

      Danielle Smith is a puzzle. She’s smart, likeable and articulate, according to people who know her. And yet, she shoots from the lip so often it’s a wonder she has any toes left. Her tendency to believe far-right BS (e.g., Putin is a victim of NATO aggression; vaccine mandates are unconstitutional) is frightening.

      As a politician, Smith’s biggest problem is her lack of an internal switch labeled, “Don’t say that in public.” Every presser is a master class in “See what she did? Don’t do that.” But it seems to take exposure on a national level to make Smith realize that she’s blurted something stupid again.

      Maybe this is why modern politicians have become so bland. In the 19th century, public speaking was (so I’ve read) an art form, and very popular. Political speeches were almost carnival-like, they were so popular. (Free booze and cash payments to supporters who agreed to vote for their guy didn’t hurt. We’ve made some progress, anyway.)

      But the complexity of 21st century society makes it far too easy to say the wrong thing. Hence, politicians say much while telling you nothing. Danielle Smith has yet to learn that.

  17. Rose Klassen Lewetz says:

    She lied. She told the press she would “look into” the charges to win votes with the freedom fighters, then she didn’t actually do anything. To save face with a certain population she lied and then she lied to the press and now it turns out she lied to everyone. Old fashioned UCP tactics to get votes. We don’t know what we need, only the great governance of Alberta Conservatives do. I am so tired of being forced fed what is “good” for me.

  18. GoinFawr says:

    The body politic numbs whenever DS approaches a microphone; except for the parts of it that are duped sadomasochistic and flat-out seditious, of course.

    • Carlos says:

      Yes that is considering we still have a body politic. At this time all I can see is a body that could very easily pass for toxic material and I think it is time we launch a campaign to boycott all of them including the elections so we can shut down this display of generalized psychopathy.
      We are better than this. Our reputation is now going around the world as the people that drunk oil rather than water.

  19. Carlos says:

    It is no secret how much I love our third world political system – here is an article that I am sure the Federal political mafia does not like us to read

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2023/01/19/opinion/canada-lobbying-ethics-laws-sad-joke-favours-corporations-over-people

  20. Carlos says:

    Yes I did – No I did not – Maybe I did
    Here is the answer – OH I THINK I DID
    I trust a skunk more than I trust Danielle Smith

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-premier-office-emails-prosecutors-coutts-1.6719743

    • GoinFawr says:

      “I’ve put it to the prosecutors, and I’ve asked them to do a review of the cases with those two things in mind. And I’m hopeful that we’ll see a true turning of the page… And so do you continue on in prosecuting one when the public has moved on? That’s the big question that the Crown has got to to come to terms with.” Danielle Smith

      Pretty tough to take that ‘out of context’; how much more red-handed can a perp’ get?

  21. Carlos says:

    WOW I am speechless today. I think that after 3 years of UCP weekly scandals it is starting to affect my mind. Frustration is not an enough strong word. I feel angry.

    This is unacceptable in a country like Canada. Danielle Smith is an embarrassment to all of us. I mean is she not going to resign? Are we going to be captured with this total lack of any common sense or sense of reality? Danielle Smith was a catastrophe when she joined the PCs and walked away from the Wild Rose party and it is going to be a major second disaster now. Are we going to allow 30% of nuts ruin this province?

    https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2023/01/20/danielle-smith-pushes-back-on-report-that-her-office-contacted-prosecutors-over-coutts-alta-border-blockade-charges.html

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: It’s appalling. Now, we see Preston Manning, who has been a political grifter, since the 1960s, who lacks any medical credentials getting a princely sum of $253,000 to find out how the covid pandemic in Alberta was being looked after. You can best believe he will whitewash the findings, cover things up, and the UCP won’t be held responsible. The gong show by the UCP continues.

      • Carlos says:

        Dwayne this is another Danielle Smith make work program and of course donating 253 thou of our money to her hero sounds like fun I guess.

        I thought at first we would have some gong shows once in a while because when people lie they always happen, but we have now a record that is worth of a show in Las Vegas.

        Hopefully just like Jason Kenney and all the ones in the last few years, Danielle Smith will be in our history as the worst political experience of this province. She obviously has no shame so I believe we will have to push her out and fast.

  22. Stephen Anderson says:

    This is a very good column and addresses the issues of lack of critical thinking and blind faith type UCP followers. There’s a knee jerk reaction in Alberta that has been conditioned, to an extent, by the Department of Public Affairs. Their decades long propaganda creation and dissemination has done it’s job well, and there are generations of Albertans who believe that the Conservatives can do no wrong and that everyone else can do nothing right.

    As an Albertan, I find this extremely disturbing; it gives the UCP a blank cheque to do anything that they choose no matter how bad, without consequences. When questioned about issues, their replies are often formulaic, pat responses peppered with often incorrect or twisted “facts”, or downright lies. When caught at this, they chant ‘but Trudeau, or Notley blah blah blah’ . Or, they resort to personal attacks and insults.

    How have we come to this? We’re being lead in Edmonton by a bunch of anger farmers who haven’t matured psychologically past junior high school. They appear to be, largely, a bunch of spoiled rotten bullies who’ve never been held accountable for their actions.

    Might doesn’t make right and I hope that people like you, and other columnists are able to reach people and encourage some thought and encourage a call for accountability. I’m tired of the total disregard, and distain for everyone who hasn’t drunk the UCP Kool-Aid.

  23. Comment says:

    As a friend of mine likes to say, “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. Entertaining for us; not so much for a premier.

    Smith is a very confident speaker who likes to be the authority on every subject even if that means embellishing or lying. What’s unusual about her is there is so much recorded evidence of this from her own mouth. If she comes away from all her shenanigans unscathed (ie. gets elected), I will have lost complete faith in my fellow Albertans.

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