Alberta justice says investigation found no evidence of emails between Smith’s office, Crown prosecutors IG News

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No record of electronic communications between Premier Danielle Smith’s office and the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) has been found following an investigation into allegations reported last week, according to Alberta Justice.

In a news release issued Monday, the government department said the Alberta Public Service had conducted a “comprehensive review of emails” in relation to the matter “sent or received by relevant prosecutors and staff in the Premier’s Office over a period of four Any email searches done” -month period.

READ MORE: Internal review of emails between province, Crown prosecutors not enough: NDP, experts

Concerns were raised last week after the CBC reported that a source told them he had seen emails sent to the ACPS from an employee in Smith’s office, regarding matters related to the blockade near the Canada-US border. His decision was challenged by prosecutors. Coutts, Alta., last year.

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“There will be no further review until additional evidence is brought forward,” Alberta Justice said Monday.

A spokeswoman for Alberta Justice said, “The search included all emails in (Alberta government) mailboxes, including emails sent from or to non-(Alberta government) email addresses,” The Public Service Commission also did not conduct any interviews. did. If.

‘It’s a coverup’

Despite the province’s announcement that no emails were found between Crown prosecutors and the premier’s office, opposition legislator Rakhi Pancholi called on the premier and the justice minister to launch a fully independent investigation into possible political interference in the administration of justice.

Pancholi said, “It’s not really an investigation – it’s an IT review.”

She said the request is not just about the emails – it is a culmination of statements the premier has made since coming to office in October in relation to Crown prosecutors and prosecutions related to COVID-19.

The premier initially said earlier this month that she had contacted Crown prosecutors over the COVID-19 allegations, then backtracked on her comments a few days later, saying she had only spoken to the solicitor general and his deputy.

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Pancholi said the premier needed to end speculation about whether anyone from his office had contacted Crown prosecutors, adding that if there was nothing to hide he should do so. Pancholi said he believed the situation was looking like a “coverup” as of Monday morning.

The legislator said, “The fact that she refuses to do so lends credence to the idea that she has something to hide.”

Lawyer Pancholi himself said Albertas deserve to know whether the prime minister understands the rule of law. He said it should go without saying that Albertans should be able to trust their premier.

Pancholi said that he believed that even approaching the Solicitor General regarding these matters was still political interference.

Click to play video: 'Smith responds to allegations staff member emailed Crown prosecutors over Coutts blockade'

Smith responds to allegations staff member emailed Crown prosecutors over Coutts blockade

Smith released a statement on Monday on the findings of the review.

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“I have confidence in the integrity and professionalism of our employees,” Smith said. “I am therefore grateful for the impartial review completed by the Public Service Commission this weekend, which found no record of contact between the Premier’s office and Crown prosecutors.

“I have every confidence that the public service has conducted a thorough and comprehensive review. I want to thank them for the seriousness with which they have taken this matter as well as for their commitment to working non-stop over the past several days want to provide results to Albertans to put their concerns to rest.

“An independent Crown Prosecution Service, free from political interference, is integral to preserving public confidence in the justice system.”

In a statement released Monday afternoon, ACPS assistant deputy minister, Kimberley Goddard, said the service is “fully operational” with public servants completing the review.

“The continued suggestions of impropriety without evidence are not warranted,” she said in an email. “This unfounded speculation damages the reputation of ACPS and does a disservice to the dedicated professionals at ACPS who perform their jobs with unwavering integrity.

“It is incorrect to suggest that the ACPS has been anything but ethical and appropriate in carrying out its duties.”

Lisa Young, political science professor at the University of Calgary, said, “The premier’s stance and what we heard about the (UCP) caucus meeting (over the weekend) really showed that it was unlikely that the emails were going to happen.” were found on the government system – there was some degree of belief in this.”

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He said this shifted attention away from the premiere and onto the CBC, which decided to run the story without seeing the email.

In a Monday story, CBC’s head of public affairs Chuck Thompson said it stood behind the journalism in its story.

“For Smith, politically, he is able to say … an allegation was made, we investigated, we found nothing, end of story, move on,” Young said.

“But I don’t think the story ends that easily,” she said. “We are left with the question of whether the emails exist but are not on the government email system.”

She continued that in answering the question of whether there has been any political influence on the Crown Prosecutors’ Service through channels other than the government email system, the focus may shift to the Crown Prosecutors’ Office.

And even if CBC doesn’t come out with its own story, people will still question Smith’s comments on the matter, Young said.

“Now, because the CBC story has become the focus, it in some ways allows him to deflect attention from the misrepresentations and clarifications.

Young said, going forward, the province would potentially steer the conversation toward “something more favorable to the party with the (upcoming) election”.

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With files from The Canadian Press


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