Ethics Commissioner says Smith violate Conflict of Interest Act

Alberta’s Ethics commissioner is finding Danielle Smith violated the Conflict-of-Interest Act.

The Honorable Marguerite Trussler, Ethics Commissioner for Alberta, began the investigation of the Premier after audio surfaced of a call between Smith and Pawlowksi discussing his criminal charges related to the Coutts border blockade.

After the call, Smith had a discussion with then Attorney General, Tyler Shandro regarding Pawlowski’s charges.

In the seventeen-page report, the Commissioner says the purpose of Premier Smith’s call to Shandro was to influence a decision of the Crown to prosecute Mr. Pawlowksi.

“She asked the Attorney General if there was something that could be done about the charges and could they help Mr. Pawlowksi,” Trussler wrote.

“It is improper for any elected official to try to interfere with the administration of justice by interfering in a prosecution.”

In a scathing rebuke, Trussler wrote at length about the importance of judicial independence.

“In the whole scheme of things, it is a threat to democracy to interfere with the administration of justice,” wrote the Commissioner.

“It is the first step toward the type of judicial system often found in a non-democratic or pseudo-democratic country where members of and friends of those in power are shielded from prosecution or are acquitted by the courts on the instructions of those in power.”

Trussler did conclude that Premier Smith did not directly contact Crown Prosecutors about Covid-related cases. In her report, Trussler says there is no evidence of Smith or anyone in her office emailing Prosecutors about Covid related cases, as was claimed by CBC.

“All Crown Prosecutors who have Covid-related files have stated that they did not receive an email critiquing the Crown’s position,” wrote Trussler.

The report recommends all MLAs attend mandatory training upon election about the structure of the Canadian government and the roles of the three branches of government.

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