Alberta premier says she won’t discuss investigation by ethics commissioner

By The Canadian Press

Premier Danielle Smith won’t say what she is being investigated for by Alberta’s ethics commissioner.

Smith says she wants to respect the process and it would be inappropriate to comment during an active investigation by Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler.

“I’m fully cooperating with her investigation,” said Smith during a press conference Tuesday on health care in Alberta, where she was repeatedly asked by reporters about the Ethics Commissioner’s investigation.

The investigation comes after the Opposition NDP asked Trussler to investigate the premier’s phone call with Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski about his criminal case tied to a blockade at the Canada-United States border crossing at Coutts, Alta., over COVID-19 rules.


Smith is heard on the call talking to Pawlowski about his case, detailing internal Crown disputes over how such cases are being handled, and offering to make inquiries on his behalf and report back.

Since the call, which happened in early January, Smith initially repeatedly denied even talking to Pawlowski before confirming on Feb. 9, that she in fact had.

After March 29 — when the call was leaked — Smith stated the UCP were considering suing the CBC, before stating it is not appropriate for politicians to contact accused on active criminal cases, but says her call to Pawlowski was OK because it’s her job as a politician to talk to Albertans and address their concerns.

The NDP and legal experts say the United Conservative Party premier has violated the firewall separating politicians from individual court cases, while Smith says she had done nothing wrong because it’s her job to talk to people.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2023.

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