The Canadian News

Alberta’s Danielle Smith demands CBC retract ‘defamatory article’ and apologize

By Kieran Leavitt Staff Reporter

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has demanded that CBC News retract an article and apologize after the media outlet published allegations that staff in her office had contacted Crown prosecutors.

“Last week, the CBC published a defamatory article containing baseless allegations that premier’s office staff had sent a series of emails to Alberta Crown prosecutors concerning charges related to the Coutts protest and other pandemic related matters before the courts,” Smith said in a Wednesday statement.

The article referred to sources who said emails were sent from a staffer in Smith’s office and “critiqued the prosecutors’ assessment of the charges and pushed back on the characterizations of the protest.”

The CBC report did not reveal the specific details of the emails and said it had not seen them.

A border blockade at Coutts, Alta., last year snarled traffic for days as protesters decried public health measures. Several people were hit with criminal charges in relation to the protest.

“The premier calls on the CBC to retract its outrageous story, and further, that the CBC and the Official Opposition apologize to the premier, premier’s office staff, Alberta Crown prosecutors and those in the Alberta public service, for the damage caused to their reputations and that of Alberta’s justice system,” the Wednesday statement said.

Chuck Thompson, CBC’s head of public affairs, said in a statement to the Star that the outlet stood by the story.

“We stand by the story which transparently attributes the allegations to trusted sources and provides context to the allegations,” Thompson said.

“As is our practice, we gave the premier and her office an opportunity to react and we included that response prominently in the story, including the sub-headline.”

The CBC published another story Wednesday citing sources that alleged Justice Minister Tyler Shandro’s office was coming under pressure from the premier’s office around COVID-related charges as well.

Smith said in her statement that she’d campaigned during the UCP leadership race on exploring legal amnesty for “individuals charged with non-violent, non-firearms, pandemic-related violations.”

When she took office, she and her staff had several conversations with Shandro and ministry officials “requesting an explanation of what policy options were available for this purpose,” the statement continued.

“After receiving a detailed legal opinion from the minister to not proceed with pursuing options for granting amnesty, the premier followed that legal advice. All communications between the premier, her staff, the minister of justice and ministry of justice public servants have been appropriate and made through the proper channels,” it said.

“The CBC’s allegations and insinuations to the contrary are, once again, baseless.”

The Alberta NDP responded by doubling down on its calls for Shandro to launch an independent investigation.

“Danielle Smith is free to come to a podium anytime to read her statement and take questions from Albertans,” NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi said.

مقالات ذات صلة

اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *

زر الذهاب إلى الأعلى