A former Attorney General and Progressive Conservative MLA is raising concerns about UCP leader Danielle Smith violating Alberta’s Conflict of Interest Act during her time as premier.
Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler’s report, released last Thursday, said the violation had to do with discussions Smith had with then-justice minister and attorney general Tyler Shandro related to criminal charges against Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Red Deer’s Jim Foster, who served as Alberta’s Attorney General from 1975-79 under Peter Lougheed said as a long-time conservative, he was concerned by the report’s findings. Foster said he will be supporting the NDP in the 2023 election.
“If you applied the criminal code lens to (Smith’s) actions, it raises the serious prospect that the Premier may have broken the law by attempting to pressure the Attorney General over the prosecution of Artur Pawlowski,” Foster said in a release.
“The Attorney General should have resigned after this call with the Premier occurred. An independent investigation to protect our democracy and independent justice system should be considered.”
Foster was also Minister of Advanced Education from 1971 to 1975 and in 1991, he was appointed to the Alberta Court of King’s Bench based in Red Deer, serving until 2012.
Foster explained he was endorsing the NDP, including Red Deer- South Michelle Baer because he is concerned about Smith’s actions.
“As a long-time conservative who sat in a caucus and cabinet led by Peter Lougheed, I am happy to be casting my vote for the Alberta NDP for the first time,” said Foster.
“Rachel Notley and Michelle Baer are people of integrity who will serve Albertans and the community of Red Deer. I, like many Albertans, am concerned with what I see from Danielle Smith and the UCP and know that the best way to build a better future for Alberta is to elect Rachel Notley as Premier.”
Smith said in a statement sent through her party last Thursday that she has always wanted to find a path to amnesty for those charged with non-violent COVID-related offences and violations during the pandemic.
She said she was seeking input from Shandro, who is a lawyer, on possible amnesty and accepted his advice. She said the conversation went no further.
— With files from The Candian Press