Smith’s 11 Minute Phone Call with the Pastor

“That’s an astounding thing to say from the Premier of the province.” – Law prof Eric Adams

On March 29 Danielle Smith issued a press statement to pre-empt a CBC story about a conversation she had with street-pastor Artur Pawlowski. People thought she was bracing for renewed accusations that she did indeed talk to Crown prosecutors about charges brought for violations of covid restrictions.

Well, that’s the least of Smith’s problems.   

Danielle Smith

The Statement

In her statement Smith said:

“Later today, in an effort to continue their campaign of defamatory attacks against me and my office staff, the CBC intends to release an article about a conversation I had with an individual named Artur Pawlowski. 

Artur Pawlowski is not your run of the mill pastor. He’s an anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-covid vaccines/restrictions street-pastor facing criminal charges relating to his involvement in the Coutts border blockade.

Smith should never have taken the call.

Not only did Smith take it, she was sympathetic, almost deferential, throughout the entire conversation.

“During a live press conference on Feb. 9, 2023, I referenced this very conversation where Mr. Pawlowski expressed his frustration to me with pandemic-related public health orders.

True, but I don’t recall Smith saying that Dr Dennis Modry* introduced Pawlowski by saying “Artur has a problem that you may be able to help out with.” Oh really, how, by interfering with the administration of justice?  

“This should come as no shock since I spent a lot of time before and during my leadership campaign talking to hundreds of Albertans about COVID-related public health orders and violations. 

The fact Smith spent a lot of time before and during her leadership campaign talking about this is irrelevant because this specific conversation occurred after she became premier not before.  

“As I have previously stated, I had my staff work with the Ministry of Justice to determine if anything could be done to grant amnesty for those charged with non-violent, non-firearms COVID-related charges. 

True, apparently the Dept of Justice was so concerned about Smith’s promise of amnesty that they “proactively” put together a PowerPoint presentation on the topic to show her she did not have the powers of an American president or governor or even a Canadian governor general and could not grant anyone amnesty.

She also learned that there were only two questions she could ask with respect to prosecutions: (1) is the prosecution in the public interest and (2) is there a likelihood of conviction.

“As also indicated previously in multiple interviews, I received a legal brief from the Ministry of Justice recommending against pursuing amnesty further, as several matters involving this issue were and still are before the courts. I have followed that advice.  

What the legal brief has to do with the matters before the courts is beyond me.

But while we’re on the topic of legal advice. Pawlowski and Modry told Smith that Leighton Grey**, a criminal lawyer, told them about a court decision on masking that would give Smith the power to drop these prosecutions immediately without taking “a political hit.”

Smith agreed to get her right hand man, Rob Anderson, to follow up Grey’s advice. This despite the fact Smith has an army of lawyers in Justice telling her she needs to stay out of specific cases. Furthermore if Grey’s argument had merit one would expect Pawlowski’s own counsel to have raised it.  

“At no time have I spoken with the anyone from the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, nor to my knowledge have any of my office’s staff. Allegations to the contrary are defamatory and will be dealt with accordingly.”

Fine, let’s assume Smith was “imprecise” when she told Pawlowski and Modry that she spoke to “our prosecutors…almost weekly.”

Let’s talk about Smith response (precise? imprecise?) when Pawlowski complained that the prosecutor, on Justice Minister Shandro’s instructions, did a document dump that was costing him $150,000 to review.

She said she didn’t think the directive came from Shandro but she’d check. She also said she’d expressed her dissatisfaction about the document dump to the deputy minister. What did she say, smarten up, you’re running up the accused’s legal bills?

She agreed to circle back with Anderson on Pawlowski’s suggestion that she meet publicly and say its time to move forward, to end the “witch hunt.” Then raised the Trudeau SNC Lavalin case as something she needs to watch out for. Hello!?!

And Smith made the precise/imprecise comment she should really be worried about.  

She commiserated with Pawlowski and Modry about how frustrating it was to deal with a bunch of charges that were politically motivated but couldn’t be politically ended.  

As law prof Eric Adams puts it, in essence Smith, the head of government, is saying the system is corrupt. He and other law professors worry that Smith may have compromised the case.

Which brings us back to where we started.

What just happened?  

As premier, Smith had a conversation with Pawlowski who was awaiting trial on criminal charges in connection with the Coutts trucker blockade.

She made a number of statements including one that law prof Eric Adams says effectively claims “the system is corrupt.”

Smith’s conversation with Pawlowski was surreptitiously recorded.

The recording was posted on Pawlowski’s social media.

Law profs have said that Smith’s comment may have compromised the Crown’s case against Pawlowski.

Get the feeling someone’s been had here?

Get the feeling it’s Danielle Smith?

Get the feeling Albertans are in deep trouble with Smith as premier?

Damn right.

*Smith’s friend, Dr Dennis Modry, was the head of a pro-separatist group at the time,

*In June 2020 Grey resigned from a committee charged with recommending new judges after the  CBC asked about Grey comparing a new covid vaccine to Auschwitz tattoos and posted a video calling Black Lives Matter a “leftist lie” controlled by a Jewish philanthropist.

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101 Responses to Smith’s 11 Minute Phone Call with the Pastor

  1. Dark Phoenix says:

    “posted a video calling Black Lives Matter a “leftist lie” controlled by a Jewish philanthropist.”

    Let me guess… George Soros?

  2. Kelly Miller says:

    “posted a video calling Black Lives Matter a “leftist lie” controlled by a Jewish philanthropist.”

    Let me guess… George Soros? Because right wing dumbasses lack originality and prefer to steal bullshit from other right wing dumbasses in other countries?

  3. Beverly says:

    It scares me to think this woman may be elected in May. Thank you Susan for your posts!

    • You’re welcome Beverly, it scares me that Smith got this far in the first place. From what I’ve read Take Back Alberta had a lot to do with Smith winning the leadership vote (on the 6th ballot), hopefully Albertans aren’t as thick as TBA thinks they are.

      • Riles says:

        TBA are way too opaque for any of us to feel comfortable with their hostile takeover of the UCP. From their website, they want to:
        1. Support farmers by stopping a fertilizer tax
        2. Stop Notley. They claim that the NDP will be worse for everyone economically (higher taxes, more spending, less money for individuals, less investment), and that since Alberta has been ruled by conservatives for so long, they couldn’t possibly be served well by an(other) NDP government.
        3. Replace the “ruling elite” because they’ve been censoring dissenters and exploiting the power of big government to restrict our freedoms (presumably these refer to Freedom Convoy and border blockade, and the COVID-19 health restrictions).

        1. I know very little about the nuts-and-bolts of agriculture in Alberta, and so I can’t weigh in on the fertilizer tax, other than to say this is an example of where they would want ASWAUCA to let the Alberta Government challenge what they see as federal overreach, and a way to get rural Alberta on-board.
        2. Obviously they want to stop Notley, or they wouldn’t be taking over the UCP. Plays well with the usual conservative talking points, blaming the NDP government for the (global) low oil prices that occurred at the time. I suspect their rural base are also still angry with Notley over Bill 6 (Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act). I’d like them to spend some time in the province’s ERs and ORs treating farm injuries and see what they have to say about not being able to claim WCB after an amputation or two, but as I said, farm economics are beyond me.
        3. It’s pretty obvious they wanted Smith to do just what she’s been caught doing, as you pointed out, claiming the government was corrupt in charging Pawlowski (and hope this applies to Van Huigenbos, as well), to get the cases dropped one way or another.

        They got Smith in. She got her (mostly neutered) ASWAUCA passed. She’s been hard at work messing with COVID-19-related charges. What will they do next?

    • Carlos says:

      You are not alone Beverly. This situation in Alberta has shaken my belief that we are for the most part hard working, reasonably educated and honest people. Unfortunately the reflections of what we witness today do not support that. We have a very high level number of people that support the absurdity of what we have seen in the last 4 years.

  4. Sharon says:

    It just seems to get more interesting all the time. What next? And will the people of Alberta wake up and smell the coffee and not vote this woman and the rest of the unhinged clown party in? Nobody seems to be able to keep a lid on Dangerous Dodo Danielle.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      If you use “interesting” in the Chinese sense of “May you live in interesting times,” then…yes.

      What makes it far TOO “interesting” is that Smith faithfully represents the opinions and attitudes of around one third of Albertans. A subset of those people, the Take Back Alberta organizers and supporters, are frighteningly effective at organizing and fundraising.

      Rachel Notley and the NDP better start campaigning for real, very soon. Waiting for Danielle to self-destruct isn’t enough.

      Now that OPEC has bollixed the global oil market again, the NDP will have more room to maneuver after the election. So, hey Rachel! Get on with it!

    • Sharon and Mike, I’m sure we’re not the only ones wondering what’s next. Smith’s campaign handlers must be going nuts hoping nothing else crawls out of the woodwork that puts Smith in a bad light (although having said that it was Smith who put herself in this bad light, no one else).
      The main stream media is finally picking up on the threat a TBA controlled UCP party would pose to Alberta. This is going to come down to how much more chaos the moderate conservatives will take before they say enough. They may not vote NDP, but they may stay home.
      I predict the UCP will split after the next election even if Smith wins.

  5. NeilRD says:

    Aside from the issue of discussing a case before the courts with the accused, the Premier during her leadership campaign was making promises based on a misunderstanding of both Canadian and American law. American Presidents and Governors don’t have the power to grant amnesty or pardon people before they have been found guilty in a court of law.

    The Premier, should know better. Her dog whistling through her leadership campaign obviously caught up with her. Her unwillingness to confront and address her misleading of her potential supporters led her into a word salad of obfuscation with a good dose of verbal nodding and winking to the very person she has no business speaking with on the issue of his legal status.

    What a tangled web, indeed…

    • Excellent point NeilRD. The same is true in Canada. So that leads to the next question: at the time of the phone call Pawlowski had not yet gone to trial, let alone been found guilty, so what was Modry expecting when he said “Artur has a problem that you may be able to help out with.”
      BTW I don’t know why Smith or her campaign team didn’t know she didn’t have the power to grant amnesty or pardons. All they’d have to do is google who gives pardons in Canada and they’ll get many hits like this one on the Alberta Court of Justice which says pardons are issued by the Government of Canada

  6. Lee says:

    The very sad possibility here is that the UCP supporters will ignore this as CBC/ left wing witch hunts… and vote for Smith, regardless. It amazes me how they are so totally convinced that any change of government… to the NDP .. would be so terrible. What will it take for Conservative “lifers” to realize the incompetence and dishonesty of their party?

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for sharing another great blog: Danielle Smith has been caught again, not telling the truth. She has been awfully quiet again, after the video of her having that cellphone conversation with Artur Pawlowski came to light. There have been people who were saying that nothing happened it that video, and they think it’s no big deal, and that things are blown way out proportion by Rachel Notley and the NDP. If that was the case, why was the video made private, by Artur Pawlowski, not long after it surfaced? Danielle Smith hasn’t gotten to the point where the writ must be dropped for the next provincial election in Alberta. There are also other UCP candidates who are dropping like flies, becauseof the comments they have been making. This will be a very intense provincial election. I’ll play some more fitting music. This is a Randy Bachman composition, from The Guess Who, called Undun. It is from 1969. It is in my music collection. I saw Burton Cummings 4 times live, and Randy Bachman 8 times live, and I met them both. They have been out of the Guess Who for a long time.

    • Thanks for this Dwayne. It’s absolutely perfect!
      And you met them both.
      I haven’t kept track of all the great musicians you’ve seen and met in person. What fantastic memories you must have!
      One day you’ll will have to tell us the backstory of how you did it. 🙂

    • Kelly Miller says:

      I thumbs up anyone who posts songs by the Guess Who, though personally I prefer N0 Time and These Eyes to Undun.

  8. Katie Pearlman says:

    In the U.S. before a Presidential Election there is sometimes something called “the October Surprise “. I guess in Alberta we could call this “The April Fools” (anyone have a better suggestion go for it!).
    Phone call surreptitiously recorded = smoking gun! Quite a mess Messy Danielle!!!

    • Katie, the question that kept running through my mind as I watched the video and then listened to the recording in the CBC story was: why did Pawlowski tape her? Was he hoping to use the tape as leverage? What was he up to?
      Perhaps with the fullness of time we’ll get some answers.
      As you said, it’s a giant mess…but that’s Danielle for you.

  9. Kathy says:

    I love the way you dissect the political “blah blah blah” to expose the truths! Thanks for noticing the pastor’s good friend Dennis Modry. Towards the end of the conversation he indicated he would like to speak to Smith privately. It seems she is a phone pal with the former Alberta Prosperity Project CEO. If your readers have not checked out the web page for this group I highly recommend it, just have your Tums ready. And lastly, was there a stuffed bear in the background of the video?

    • Thanks Kathy. I checked out the APP website. It’s full of glowing aspirational statements, all of which are premised on Alberta leaving Canada. Once again I’m left with two questions: (1) Alberta is (or was until recently) doing better economically than the rest of the country so what’s your beef, and (2) how can a ‘country’ with a population of 4 million do a better job of everything than a country with a population of 39.6 million. I can’t help but wonder about the egos of the people who start up projects like this.
      I didn’t see the stuffed bear, I was watching what looked like a labradoodle and whoever it was that was sitting on the couch.

      • Riles says:

        Modry is a real winner. He’s a once-great heart surgeon who won the lottery when he got fired by AHS without them jumping through all the correct hoops. It turns out it can be hard to fire a surgeon, even when they might deserve it, and they can cash in big-time. His survivors are a fanatic group, though. In any case, small surprise that a man like him thinks he still has all the answers.

    • Carlos says:

      This post got stuck and this is my second try

      Katie I do not have a better suggestion but I already think of her as Miss Misunderstanding. Every time she lies, everyone just does not understand what she means exactly.

      She lies so casually, much like Jason Kenney, that she does not understand the true world. Delusional is my word for it. She no longer can differentiate between lies and actual facts. It is all the same as long as she thinks so and us sub-mammals, have to understand that she is the Reason.

      Her reactions have been quite childish and malicious. Her threat to the CBC is is nuclear stupidity. I am happy that the CBC is ready to go to court with it.
      I just wished we had some kind of a court that could resolve these incredible cases much faster, so that people would suffer the consequences of their lies.

      We never heard from the RCMP on Jason Kenney and there are not even reports about what happened? As a citizen I have the right to know unless that as also changed without my knowledge. The RCMP is also what it seems a perennial crisis and losing reputation by the month. They are not even capable of keeping women safe and with access to unbiased functional tribunes. Abusing women and then keep them low under threat is not just horrendously wrong, it is criminal.

      Lets not forget that this is happening in our country right now. 1200 Indigenous women disappeared, yes in Canada, and we suspect that many were murdered and God knows what else and nothing is known about it, the investigation, if it is still running has not said much.

      Is this because part of it may have been perpetrated by the police themselves?

      Is it because some of these women probably had a lot to say about human trafficking and prostitution?

      • Carlos, all Smith accomplished by deciding to sue the CBC was breathe new life into the original story and the Pawlowski story. She has demonstrated appallingly judgment. How can we trust her with a budget that’s almost $70 billion.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Modry is a bit like Canada’s answer to Dr Oz. He’s even a (retired) cardio-thoracic surgeon, just like Oz. When he was still a practising surgeon I got to know of him — I was an ICU nurse at the time & sent a lot of patients to Edmonton to see him for heart surgery; then, later, after I started working in Cardiac Rehab, I saw a lot of his patients post-surgery, before he retired. But while I can’t be 100% certain I never met him — like at a conference or some such event — I knew nothing of his weird political views, or his anti-vaxx take on preventative health care and so on.

      • jerrymacgp: A friend sent me excerpts from Modry’s 1995 paper Medicare is Killing Us: Re-engineering the Canada Health Care System.” In it Modry takes the position that most people are the authors of their own misfortune due to lapses in moral values and self-discipline and that all government bureaucrats are incompetent because they lack free-market incentives. He says “Arguably 70% of health problems paid for by Medicare are self-induced and 50% of expenditures in Medicare are unassociated with any improvement in Health outcome….The greatest opportunity in re-engineering the health cares system is to provide Medicare (catastrophic and proven services) for the disadvantaged, with third party insurance coverage for the remaining 80% of the population.”
        I can’t help but be reminded of Danielle Smith’s recent comments that all cancers up to stage for are the fault of people not taking proper care of themselves.

  10. Survivor says:

    Thank God for folks like Dr. Jane Philpott and Ms. Jody Wilson Raybould who resigned from government when their leader, Justin Trudeau, engaged in inappropriate and unethical interference on a legal file. Would that Smith’s ministers had the same integrity.

    • Survivor, I haven’t heard a peep from Justice Minister Shandro. He’s probably trying to stay as far out of the limelight as possible.
      With respect to the rest of Smith’s ministers…time will tell, but at least one (Kaycee Madu) shows undying loyalty. He said something inane like Smith did nothing wrong, she’s free to talk to anyone she pleases about things that benefit all Albertans. He overlooks the fact that Smith was talking to Pawlowski about something that would benefit only Pawlowski.
      This is a very sad party and a pathetic government.

    • Carlos says:

      Survivor – integrity and UCP cannot coexist

      🙂 🙂

  11. Valerie Jobson says:

    Jen Gerson speculated in this thread that Smith may not have realized that Pawlowski’s covid-related charges had all been stayed or successfully appealed, so that may have been what she thought she was talking about.

    Maybe Smith could now argue that her comment about the charges being political applied only to covid related charges, not to the Coutts related charges.
    But rightwinger have been arguing that even the four men charged with conspiring to kill police officers are really just political prisoners who were framed by the police, and probably Pawlowski considers himelf a political prisoner as well.

    Of course she should never have spoken to him at all.
    I think she said her asistant Rob Anderson was on holiday durig the call; did she have no other staff with the guts or the brains to tell her not to take the call?
    Or did she consult anyone else, since Modry is someone she talks with and maybe gets her stupid ideas aabout covid and ivermectin etc from? He announced in February he is running for a UCP seat.

    • Carlos says:

      EXATLY Valerie
      She should have never talked to him PERIOD.
      What is it that Danielle Smith does not understand?
      Is she hiding the fact that she believes that she has more rights that the rest of us? Well too obvious to me.

    • Valerie, I read Jen Gerson’s column and thought she made an excellent point when she commented on Smith’s unbelievably deferential behavior vis-a-vis Pawlowski. It was as if he were the boss dictating a “to do” list to his minion and she kept saying, yes, I’ll take that back, yes, I’ll talk to Rob about it, yes, yes, yes.
      It was pathetic given that (in theory) Smith had all the leverage and Pawlowski had none.

      • Valerie Jobson says:

        If she considered him a possible danger to her, why did she not think he would record her? I believe he’d be willing to get his way by blackmail, threats, flattery or smears, whatever works. And even if she had succeeded in getting the media to stop talking about this, she could not be sure Pawlowski would shut up.

        It makes me wonder too how much influence Modry has over her about Pawlowski and about our health care system, based on your quote above.

        She is surrounded by bad advisors and she is in over her head. Her answers to Dean Bennett of CP yesterday were pretty fuzzy: starts at 28:15 on the video

  12. Valerie Jobson says:

    New today:

    Alternate headline: Woman threatens to sue CBC for quotig her accurately, hopes this will shut them up until after the election.

    It won’t, I’ll wager.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Smith is trying again, hoping for a better result than the first time. What’s the legalese for “Bring it on, Danielle!”? That’ll be the CBC legal team’s reply.

      • Valerie Jobson says:

        Some have pointed out that would play into her strategy to blame everything on the Notley- Trudeau- Singh- CBC- everybody sane Conspiracy, which might work with her base.
        Might not work for her.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes exactly Mike – she thinks that the CBC is going to back down when they very well know what is happening here. I can imagine the CBC bosses just jumping around and hiding, afraid of the premier. Let us go to court and see.
        what lack of character this reveals.

      • Valerie, Mike, and Carlos: the stupidity of launching a lawsuit is that the process requires Smith to appear for discoveries and give evidence under oath.
        The CBC lawyers will have all the time in the world to ask about her assertion that she misspoke when she said she was talking to the prosecutors (starting with whether she even knows the difference between prosecutors and members of the Justice department).
        They’ll be able to drill down into her conversation with Pawlowski, picking apart every word she said. They’ll be able to ask her what she thought Pawlowski wanted her to do, why she thought she could do it, and what in fact she did do (this includes what she said to Rob Anderson, and what she expected him to do as well.)
        Frankly I think it’s a ruse designed to give her an excuse not to answer questions about the matter in the run up to the election. But it’s pretty weak. Every time she said she couldn’t comment because the matter would likely go to litigation she sounded like she thought she was pleading the Fifth (an American thing).
        But that tape is out there and we can play it over and over again. So no, this is not going away any time soon.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Susan, I totally agree! At best, Smith’s “I’m gonna sue” threat is a very weak bluff, and the CBC isn’t buying it. “I can’t talk about it” is pure BS. It won’t stop journalists–especially investigative journalists who realize Smith is conflating Pawlowski’s trial and Smith’s threats–from asking embarrassing questions.

        But oh, how I wish she WOULD sue! Smith may be dumb or stubborn enough, but her campaign team will stop her–out of sheer survival instinct if nothing else.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Hi Valerie. You’re right, stupid people who WANT to believe “the Leader” simply won’t question. It’s too much like questioning themselves (result is “Ow, my head hurts.”). But the Great Canadian Conspiracy Against Danielle is wearing mighty thin among people who realize that Jason Kenney broke the hospitals and the schools.

        Danielle made a whole lot of expensive promises to fix what Kenney broke (though she’s never, ever gonna admit that’s why they’re broken). Our biggest risk right now is that the semi-sensible UCP voters—those who are uneasy about both busted hospitals and Danielle’s big-spending budget—will give her the benefit of way too much doubt.

        No matter WHO wins, there’ll be a new budget after the election. Smith’s promises will disappear like mist over a pond. If Smith wins, we’ll have a severe austerity budget a la Ralph Klein at his worst. If Notley wins, we’ll have a less severe austerity budget, much like her term as premier.

        Some pain or severe pain. NDP or TBA. I know how I’m voting, friends.

  13. Lee Neville says:

    I just can’t resist quoting that loveable old thug John Crosbie “It looks like a self-administered rat-bite to me” referring to this Danielle Smith-Artur Pawlowski imbroglio.

    Shame Danielle’s parents never told her that she would be judged by the company she keeps. Creeps, crazy-for-cocoa-puffs kooks and grifters a-gaggle is never a good crowd to be lumped among and that her advisors allow her worst impulses to micro-manage speak volumes to their hubris and negligence knowing her long history “mind-in-neutral” shoot-from-the-lip” gaffes.

    Can the Premier list the calls other criminally-charged Albertans are making to her and her office? Speeders? Drunk Drivers? Corporate polluters?

    Do Albertans cringe and wince with embarrassment at her craven display of subservience throughout the call to this foolish man? Makes my head spin wondering how Smith communicates with other all-too-easy-access-to-the-Premier lobbyists – does she sit outside on a low milking stool wearing a white dunce cap for a couple of hours waiting to be handed a note? Prostrate with her forehead on the floor not daring to look up as she’s being yelled at?

    Enough wondering if this unfit-for-office pol will ever muster the skills required to be the Premier. She won’t as she can’t.

    No to Danielle. No to the UCP – they are not fit to manage a public restroom, much less a province as wonderful, capable and full of bright imaginative people as Alberta.

    Albertan’s need to understand is that Danielle Smith, her “Take Back Alberta” taskmasters and her party are NOT Conservatives! The UCP are RW populist libertarians with a bone-deep mean-as-a-snake social conservative playbook. They don’t believe in government and governance. They don’t believe in public delivery of services. They are there to break it, then exclaim loudly “See! It doesn’t work!” and then sell it off in nasty backroom deals for fractions of pennies to their insider buddies.

    Bloody Chancers! **shudder**

    • Carlos says:

      Loved reading your comment

    • Riles says:

      I want your point about breaking things and selling them to their insider friends to be burned into the brains of their supporters. They don’t realize that half the problem with “broken public services” is the governments that hamstring them to give themselves an excuse to get them off the books.

      • Riles, I saw your comment about “broken public services” right after I read the CBC story about the dismal mess called Dynalite. How many times do we have to go through this before we finally realize that privatization is NOT the answer.

    • Lee, your comment was sheer poetry. Like Carlos said, I loved it!

  14. Dave says:

    Imprecise? Is that what they’re calling it these days? It would seem Smiths comments are somewhere between careless, misleading and deceptive. None are good.

    Actually, saying that she was calling prosecutors weekly sounds quite precise. That is not the problem. The issue is it is contradictory with other things she has said and she has now said contradictory things on this matter more than once, so it is likely not accidental. Now, given that this was supposedly a private conversation, Smith might have been more candid, ie. willing to say things privately that she would not say publicly. However, it is also possible here she was just playing to her audience and stringing the pastor along. Again, neither is good.

    Smith is also not some naive talk radio show host new to politics. Lest we forget, before that she spent years as an MLA, was the opposition leader for a number of years and was briefly even in a previous government. Surely, she should have known she couldn’t pardon people. So I guess again her language was “imprecise”, although I think it should be called something else.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Agreed Dave, Ms.Smith bald-facedly claiming ‘how could I possibly know how the system works?’ after her many years of experience has to be disingenuous at least.
      Perhaps no-mandate Danielle ought to be compelled to proclaim under oath her apparently long-held and profound ignorance of Alberta’s political system.

      In my humble opinion, given her unearned position as Premier:

      “Almost weekly”+ “Can you just leave this with me and I will make that request one more time?” suggests

      • GoinFawr says:

        So now I find the following, which strongly suggests Ms.Smith DID know as early as 2019 what she could and could not do as premier,

        “The independence of the Justice Minister… er, Attorney General is so important that they don’t even sit with the governing caucus after they have been appointed. Because, when you think about it if you’re going to be the top lawyer of the land, and you are going to be called upon to question government wrongdoing, you are very likely going to have to question people who are making the decisions…” – Danielle Smith

        Sure seems like she has to be lying to just about everyone, The Base included.
        What a stupid choice for premier that would be, for everyone.

    • Carlos says:

      ‘Smith is also not some naive talk radio show host new to politics. Lest we forget, before that she spent years as an MLA, was the opposition leader for a number of years and was briefly even in a previous government. Surely, she should have known she couldn’t pardon people. So I guess again her language was “imprecise”, although I think it should be called something else.’

      Hi Dave great comment – I definitely call it something else as well 🙂

  15. Alfredo Louro says:

    Beyond the incident itself, what I find troubling is that there are really no mechanisms for preventing this sort of interference from happening. We have no mechanisms for holding government officials *effectively* accountable for their actions. The Auditor General can complain about billions of dollars going unaccounted for, but that’s all he can do: complain. There are never any consequences. With this blatant interference to free someone from criminal charges again, nothing will happen to Smith. We often hear that bad actions may be punished at the ballot box, but that possibility is clearly nowhere near enough. Our system of governance allows a government to do whatever they want, with complete impunity. As it stands today, this is not a democracy.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “I find your lack of faith disturbing” – D.Vader

      I’m just kidding, but, are you?

      “Our system of governance allows a government to do whatever they want, with complete impunity.”

      hmmm, not sure what you mean by that… was it ‘our system of gov’t does whatever it wants with impunity’, or Government representatives do whatever they want? Anyway, I disagree on both counts.

      While ‘the government doing whatever it wants’ has some truth to it, even our’system of governance’ is restricted by Canada’s constitution and The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and, just as importantly, all elected pols are still subjects to the criminal code, pretty much the same as you or I (the last time I checked.)

      Eg. Randy Hillier allegedly suggested folk flood a city’s 911 call lines, at the very least attempting to put in danger who knows how many people’s lives, and is having to answer for it:

      So you see,there are mechanisms beyond the ballot box! Strongly worded letters, phoning your mla, organizing a town hall, distributing flyers, drinking coffee in small towns, registering a complaint at the police station…. I mean, this list is almost endless in a decently free country like Canada, honestly.

    • Carlos says:

      Alfredo when I read your post I thought I was writing it.
      Absolutely true in my view

      • GoinFawr says:

        “Absolutely true”, Give me a break. So Albertans have ‘absolutely’ no legal recourse against dishonest pols who have license to act reprehensibly with absolute impunity? What a load’.

        Why the Hillier charges mentioned above, alone, flat-out destroy the specious ‘absolute truth’ that there are absolutely ‘no mechanisms beyond the ballot box for holding accountable gov’t officials acting with absolute impunity ‘, and soundly rebuts the ‘absolutely never any consequences’ bs.

        Political extremists and absolutists are absolutely the worst because their obtusely rigid outlooks hinge on them refusing to recognize anything in existence that contradicts their wilfully narrow ‘view’, or agenda. That way if something good actually happens rather than build on it they still get to complain that it was never good enough to meet their absolutist standards, so there.

        A good example of how the absolutist mindset is used to impede progress is seen in the push back on sustainable energy generation: despite their inherent overall ‘greeness’, installations that generate energy without hydrocarbons have to meet practically unobtainable environmental/insurance protections often far beyond reason, not to mention absolutely over and above any rules the coal and oil industry has ever had to face.

        Carlos, I would absolutely love to read about your apparently long considered ideas and plans for implementing and practicing in Alberta whatever your favourite ideology is, because somehow I’ve missed that after reading your posts all these years…

        unless all you have to offer is cynical defeatism.

      • Carlos says:

        Hi GoingFawr

        ‘Carlos, I would absolutely love to read about your apparently long considered ideas and plans for implementing and practicing in Alberta whatever your favourite ideology is, because somehow I’ve missed that after reading your posts all these years…’

        Well first of all I am surprised with you questioning my ideology based on the posts I have made throughout the years.
        I think it is pretty obvious.

        Secondly I wonder why you have not asked earlier but waited for you to disagree with me to then just post a bit of a sarcastic post about it.

        I agree with Alfredo and if you do not agree with me it is alright. I really do not care. I use to in a more balanced world but right now anything goes.

        You may think Albertans have legal recourse just like many Albertans believe that what they are doing with the oil exploration is correct and the heck with everybody else or the consequences on our environment.

        The fact that we have legal recourse (some of us do especially the rich) does not mean it is easy to get it or to even access it.
        Is it a Load to say that the super rich and the companies have way more chances to get away with murder than the regular citizen?
        If you think that is a load you are the very first Canadian citizen I know that believes that. So I am not that rare.

        I think in theory we do have the recourses you mentioned but in practice and in the real world it is a bit different.

        Where is the recourses for the 1200 indigenous people that vanished in our country? Where are the recourses for the thousands of people that were taken from their families and forced in Residential Schools and suffer the consequences. Imagine if you had been taken from your parents and never return and to top it up you were sexually and physically abused by pedophile priest from different Christian denominations.
        By the way this did not happen in the 1500s, the last residential school closed in 1997 while our prime minister was promoting sanctions against the racist South Africa regime.

        I apologize for my ‘apparently long considered ideas and plans for implementing and practicing in Alberta’ – I have long considered ideas because unlike you I was forced out of the country where I was born and witnessed the destruction of my all family. So I guess I have the right to have long considered political ideas about injustice and human barbarism.
        Somehow I doubt you understand what that feels like.

        I have always liked your posts although unfortunately, maybe because English is not my mother language, I have a hard time understanding what they mean but I would never judge your ideology based on them.

        I am who I am and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in my life. I am sorry you do not agree with me but that is not a reason to question my ideology. Like I do, you can say that you disagree with me and I am absolutely fine with it as long as you respect me as well.

        Here is something I believe – our justice system is in bad shape. I also agree it is better than many other around the world but that is not a reason why I should not comment about issues with it. The reason I do is because I believe as a society we can do way better.

        Here is something part of my ideology – Daniele Smith interfered with the legal process and should suffer the consequences. Now if Danielle Smith was not the premier of Alberta she would probably be sued or jailed, but because she is considered ‘political elite’ she is not. Is that fair to you? I do not have any long ideology about it. I just very clearly think she should not be in the Premiers office after this scandal. PERIOD.

        As you very well know, Danielle Smith is ignoring all of it as if she is above the law and as far as I know the system is not doing anything about it.

        That is all.

      • Carlos says:

        ‘unless all you have to offer is cynical defeatism.’

        Maybe you are right
        I am sorry if I have somehow created the idea that is all I have to offer
        It was not intentional

        By the way, what is that you have to offer?

  16. Joanne M Helmer says:

    albertans have hired governments for many years that need on-the-job training. that needs to stop. there are existing albertans with the sense and knowledge to govern.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Joanne. I’ve thought for years that Canada needs schools—hey, even just online courses—for politician-wannabes. By definition, a first-time candidate is an amateur. It’d save a lot of trouble if everybody who wants to run for elected office had to learn what politicians can and cannot do.

      Obviously, some learn slower than others. Danielle Smith had several years to learn all this as leader of the Wildrose party and Leader of the Opposition.

      • Carlos says:

        She literally does not care

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Carlos, it’s worse than that–Smith is convinced she knows it all.

      • Carlos says:

        Pardon me Mike
        Are you talking about our goddess Smith?
        well she is perfect so please refrain from pointing some mental deficiencies.
        She is so smart that she is suing the CBC for something she denies but we have proof of. It is called in non offensive language – a bit slow to get it.

        🙂 🙂 🙂

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Ms Helmer: Actually, no, they haven’t. Before the 2015 election that brought in the (first) NDP government, only four (4) political parties had ever governed Alberta in its 110-year history as a province: Liberals, 1905-1921; United Farmers of Alberta, 1921-1935; Social Credit, 1935-1971; and Progressive Conservative, 1971-2015. Note also that once ousted from government, no party had ever returned.

      So, except in those rare years when there was a change of government, every government emerged from the election with an experienced caucus from which to choose a Cabinet. So, for example, the 1975, 1979, 1982 and 1986 elections yielded PC caucuses with numerous experienced MLAs. So did the elections of the 1990s and 2000s.

      Sure, it’s true that in 2015, the NDP came into office with zero experience in government. So what? If we only elected for experience, we’d never change governments. That’s why we have a permanent, professional, non-partisan public service. After all, Jason Kenney had ample experience in government — at the federal level — and look how well that went.

      Rest assured, though, if the NDP wins this time around, Rachel Notley will have a very experienced batch of stellar MLAs from which to build a Cabinet.

  17. Linda says:

    Yet another excellent, informative post Susan. Thank you for getting the word out as to what is going on – I for one appreciate it:)

    So, couple of thoughts here. First, since Ms. Smith has effectively interfered with the legal case against Mr. Pawlowski to the point where comments are being made that the Crown case will be ‘compromised’, seems to me that if her end game is to get the pastor a pass from his actions she might have succeeded. The interference in prosecution in my opinion should result in charges being laid against Ms. Smith if indeed her actions lead to the pastor’s case being dismissed.

    I’m happy to report that a very viable NDP candidate is running in our riding. Young, female, apparently was listed as one of those ’40 under age 40′ bright young things who are expected to go far. Experience in O&G & best of all currently working for a company whose focus is promoting alternative energy generation. Cue the possibility of an educated, informed, work experienced MLA who could actually provide some real life guidance on how Alberta can 1) transition to green/alternative energy from O&G & b) diversify the economy, a promise so often made by those running for office in Alberta but rarely kept. Unless said candidate is suddenly revealed to have truly evil, criminal tendencies I’d say my voting decision has been made.

    Last thing on my mind – the much heralded payment of Alberta’s deficit using the budget surplus. In August 2022, the UCP trumpeted that a $14.3 billion dollar surplus would be used to cut the amount of debt owing. Thing is, I have not as yet been able to find any evidence that said payment has actually occurred. The budget documents in September showed the would be payment as pending. So o.k., presumably said payment was to occur in the near future. Unfortunately, the February 2023 budget update still showed the payment as pending. Six months later & no payment has been made. What gives? What is the UCP waiting for? Every month that goes by sees more service charges piling up on the total debt, service charges that would be much lower if the $14.3 billion payment had occurred. What is the reason for not making that payment, where is the fiscal responsibility to Alberta taxpayers who are on the hook for that debt? Yet another reason (there are SO many of them) to vote anything other than UCP…..

    • Carlos says:

      I have been thinking about the same but I also do not have an answer.
      I hope that money is still in the bank. Yes I am concerned that it might not be. With the kind of people we have in the government anything is possible.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Carlos. Good point regarding ‘where IS the money’. I’d like to know if that money actually exists in the first place. I can proclaim to the world that I have a million dollars in my bank account, but unless I can produce a bank statement backing up said claim all anyone has is my word that money actually exists. So the UCP said there was a 14.3 billion dollar surplus; the budget documents show that amount as pending, yet no payment has occurred. So is that surplus real or not? If it is real, what is the holdup on making that debt payment? Unless those funds are invested in one heck of a dividend producing product, don’t see how keeping those funds will result in a better fiscal result than paying down the debt & thus reducing the debt servicing costs associated with said debt.

    • Carlos says:

      Also what happened with the Lawyers meeting with Sweet Shandro?
      We have these commissions and whatever other names all the time but the results are always hard to find.
      Does anyone know what happened with the Shandro one? Just a slap in the hand as usual and have a nice day ‘a la Macdonald?’

      • Linda says:

        Hi Carlos: according to the website of the Law Society of Alberta, there are 3 allegations of misconduct on the part of Shandro. Apparently he testified regarding said allegations in January 2023; as per the Law Society website looks like the case is ongoing with hearing dates set between June 12-14, 2023. I’ve no idea whether that means that is when they will rule on the allegations or whether this is just the next step in the legal review of Shandro. Find it interesting that the review is scheduled to occur after the election. If, heaven help us, the UCP get back in I wonder whether that will have an effect on how the Law Society will rule in Shandro’s case? Sadly these days that is something that does come to mind.

      • Carlos says:

        I agree Linda and that is why I question justice.
        Why is it not possible to expedite cases that can have an impact on the election?
        Shandro has behaved like an out of control teenager for long enough.
        Consequences? Who knows, maybe in 2027. Just like Jason Kenney RCMP investigation, nothing came of it. It has been at least 3 years.

    • Linda and Carlos: the UCP government started with out proclaiming they’d have a budget surplus of $14.3 billion, then pared that back to $2.4 billion in the actual 2023 budget which (conveniently) leaves them with all sorts of money to throw at us in pre-election spending.
      They’re buying our votes with our own money.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Susan: yet weirdly enough when I look at the latest budget update of February 2023 that 14.3 billion is still showing as pending. So if the UCP ‘pared it back’ should that not result in the revised figure of 2.4 billion showing instead of the 14.3? A difference of 11.9 billion (14.3 minus 2.4 is 11.9 by my calculation) is not a rounding error. If the UCP has decided that the surplus is better spent buying votes – er – providing better services for the good of all Albertans one would think they would instruct those preparing those budget documents to show the corrected figures. Let me guess, they won’t make any payment & then if they do lose the election will blame the missing billions on whoever wins. Call it the political version of 3 card monte, with the Alberta electorate in the role of sucker:(

  18. Valerie Jobson says:

    She’s not giving direct answers in her press conference:

    • Valerie, and now Ethics Commissioner, is undertaking an investigation into whether Smith interfered with the administration of justice in relation to a COVID prosecution. Smith said she welcomes this investigation, is fully cooperating with the Commissioner, and is confident it will confirm there’s been no such interference.
      In her statement this morning she said “As a result of the ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for the Premier to comment on this further, until the investigation is completed.”
      I’m taking bets on how many days Smith will go before opening her mouth (again) and saying something new and bizarre in her defense.

  19. Menno Klassen says:

    When DS was Leader of the Wildrose Party she said Pawloski was ” Extreme ” mow as Leader of the ucp , Pawloski is a victim of a

    corrupt system

    • Carlos says:

      She just has nothing else to talk about other than lying that health care is now ‘great again’, blaming Ottawa and everybody else for their incompetence and protecting her pro-convoy and anti vaxer buddies.

    • Menno and Carlos: Smith said Pawloski was extreme and yet still found time (lots of it) to talk to him. That says a lot about her character.
      What never ceases to amaze me is how surprised these politicians are when the extreme people they court turn on them. It’s like that song The Snake where the woman nurses a half dead snake back to life. It turns around and bites her; just before she dies she asks why. The snake says: “Oh, shut up, silly woman…you knew darn well I was a snake before you brought me in.”
      This is why politicians like Smith and Poilievre shine brightly at the outset but falter in the end.

  20. Comment says:

    Danielle Smith is completely unfit for office.

    I guess that’s an understatement, but I’m having trouble finding the words to capture the frightening enormity of her behaviour and ideas. And this is only based on what we have seen her say and do up to this point. I cannot imagine what she will say and do if she is elected. Then combine this with TBA as the power behind the throne. We are in uncharted territory here and I worry for my province.

  21. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. It is from the Rolling Sones, from 1966. It is a Mick Jagger and Keith Richards composition, Stupid Girl. I saw the Rolling Stones live in 1997, and they are in my music collection.

  22. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. It is a live performance from a British born, Australian singer, John Farnham. He is live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and he is performing You’re The Voice. The song was written by Chris Thompson, Maggie Ryder, Andy Qunta, and Keith Reid. On March 23, 2023, Keith Reid passed away at age 76. He would have been 77, in October. Keith Reid was a songwriter in the British rock band, Procol Harum. He co-wrote songs with the band members, Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, and Robin Trower. Another great and fitting song.

  23. Carlos says:

    Just like with Redford and Jason Kenney and now Danielle Smith, they create instability, attract neo-fascists and have been mediocre to say the least.

  24. Carlos says:

    Interesting comments about Madam Smith

    I can only imagine what is like to be a Mayor dealing with Danielle Smith. All I can say is that if it was me I would go to jail. I cannot stand people lying so casually. I certainly would have some words to exchange with this miserable walking brain Dead.

  25. GoinFawr says:

    Decent collection of the UCP’s anti-accomplishments for reference:

  26. Carlos says:

    Here is a very long article worth reading which explains quite well the role of churches in this political mess. This is Pierre Poilievre background.

  27. Valerie Jobson says:

    Yeah, sure (eyes rolling). Maybe she should have avoided promising impossible things in the first place. What a fool she is.

    I’d like to know if she is talking about real court cases here.

  28. Carlos says:

    The UCP perennial circus continues. One more version of the lie. I wonder how many more versions she is going to try on us?

    • Valerie Jobson says:

      You can tell the author is fed up with her BS. I think it is Dean Bennett of CP.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes at the end of the article the name is indeed Dean Bennet.

        Other than her co-cult members, who is not tired of this nuclear BS?

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