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Alberta Premier Smith questions election role of Opposition leader Notley’s husband

Notley’s husband is a communications official for the Canadian Union of Public EmployeeS, sits on the governing board of Notley’s NDP
Premier Danielle Smith speaks during the opening ceremony of Youth HQ’s Centre for Social Impact in downtown Red Deer on Thursday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is raising questions about Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley’s husband and his role in the upcoming provincial election campaign.

Notley’s husband, Lou Arab, is a communications official for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and sits on the governing board of Notley’s NDP.

In a statement from her United Conservative party, Smith says she wants to know if it’s legal for CUPE to spend money on attack ads against the UCP given Notley’s relationship to Arab.

The statement didn’t specify what law Smith believes is being violated.

The NDP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Smith made the statement in response to a story in The Globe and Mail that reported Smith attended the wedding last month of David Parker, the head of a third-party advertiser called Take Back Alberta.

Take Back Alberta is a growing force within Smith’s UCP, delivering blocs of members to party events to elect constituency board members, candidates and, to date, half the party’s governing board.

Notley has called for Smith to clarify her ties and allegiances to Take Back Alberta, saying the movement espouses “extremist views.”

Smith’s statement said she was invited to the wedding and attended.

Parker has described Take Back Alberta as a coalition of people exercising their democratic privileges to advocate for individual rights and freedoms, pushing back against such measures as COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Take Back Alberta has ties with last year’s blockade at the U.S. border crossing at Coutts intended to protest COVID-19 rules.

Parker helped rally support within the UCP last year against then-premier and party leader Jason Kenney over his pandemic-era health restrictions.

As a result, Kenney received just 51 per cent support at a leadership review last May, prompting his resignation.

That paved the way for Smith to become leader last fall.

She has rejected the COVID-19 health measures and called those unvaccinated against the virus the most discriminated group she has seen in her lifetime.

The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Alberta’s two main political rivals have baggage to shed ahead of May 29 election

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