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Premier’s alleged interference in the justice system must be investigated, says NDP

NDP makes formal request for investigation
FILE - Alberta’s NDP is calling for an investigation into Premier Danielle Smith’s alleged political interference in the justice system. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta’s NDP is accusing Premier Danielle Smith’s of interfering with the justice system and requests a formal investigation.

NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir has concerns about Smith’s comments and the admission that she has spoken to crown prosecutors, the Attorney General, and Deputy Attorney General.

“By Danielle Smith’s own admission, she has interfered in multiple prosecutions. And while the story changes each time, every explanation she has given warrants an investigation,” said Sabir in a statement.

The NDP said Smith told a far-right website in December that she spoke to crown prosecutors and asked them to conduct a review of cases related to COVID health orders to ensure they were in the public interest.

In January, she then told reporters that she speaks to crown prosecutors on a regular basis about ongoing cases.

Following widespread criticism of these comments, Smith claimed she only spoke to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.

“This version of events is no better. It is highly inappropriate for the Premier to question the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General about the decision to proceed with specific prosecutions,” Sabir said.

The NDP said Smith’s admission that she spoke to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General are reminiscent of the SNC-Lavalin affair where the Prime Minister questioned the then-federal Attorney General about her decision to proceed with prosecuting a specific case.

That scandal led to an investigation and the resignation of both the Attorney General and the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary.

Smith’s comments come after an investigation into former Justice Minister Kaycee Madu when he called the Edmonton police chief over a traffic ticket. The investigation found that Madu attempted to interfere in the administration of Justice and Madu was subsequently relieved of his job as Attorney General.

“I would argue that Smith’s conduct is an even more serious case of political interference in the justice system and it requires an independent investigation,” said Sabir.

“Albertans must have confidence that prosecutorial decisions are entirely free of political bias. There must be an investigation into Danielle Smith.”

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