EDMONTON, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith fought back against allegations that she or someone from her office tried to contact Crown prosecutors to see whether they could offer amnesty to Albertans charged with breaking COVID rules after the mainstream media released a hit piece showing a video of her talking with Christian pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Yesterday, the opposition socialist NDP party under former Premier Rachel Notley released a video of a call between Smith, who leads the United Conservative Party of Alberta, and Pawlowski during a press conference.
The call is said to have taken place in early January 2023, only weeks before the pastor was set to go to trial.
On the same day, the CBC released a news report about Smith’s call as well. Both the CBC and NDP did not say how they obtained the video call.
On the call, Pawlowski can be heard asking Smith if there is anything she can do to help him regarding his COVID charges. He noted that the premier had earlier promised to look into seeing if it was possible to offer amnesty to those charged with COVID violations.
Smith, multiple times no less, told Pawlowski there is nothing she could do to help him from a legal perspective.
“There isn’t really a mechanism for me to order them to drop cases,” Smith responded. “It’s just the way our legal system works, I’m afraid.”
Smith also told Pawlowski that she had hoped “that some of these [cases] would have been vacated by now and I’m sorry to hear what they’re putting you through.”
Pawlowski said to Smith that he didn’t think he had an option “except to start swinging your way because of the promises that were never fulfilled.”
During the call, Smith did say that “It was a political decision that initiated this.”
“But it can’t be a political decision to end this,” she added, also saying, “That’s what I’m finding very frustrating.”
She then noted to the pastor that “Once the process is underway, I can ask our prosecutors: ‘Is there a reasonable likelihood of conviction and is it in the public interest,’ and I assure you, I have asked them almost weekly ever since I got started here.”
A day before the video call was leaked, Pawlowski was fired as leader of the Independence Party of Alberta, which he said was due to the party’s corrupted board not liking his speaking the “truth.”
Pawlowski has been arrested and jailed multiple times for protesting against COVID mandates.
In February, Pawlowski was in court for a two-day trial on charges stemming from speaking in support of truckers who were part of the Freedom Convoy border protest blockade that took place in Coutts, Alberta, which borders the U.S. state of Montana.
He faces multiple charges from this incident.
He was arrested for the fifth time on February 8, 2022, by an undercover SWAT team just before he was slated to speak at a Freedom Convoy protest taking place in Coutts.
He was subsequently jailed for nearly three months, which he has said was for speaking out against COVID mandates in his address to truckers blockading the highway in Coutts.
In December, COVID-related charges levied against Pawlowski in 2020 for feeding the homeless and attending a pro-freedom rally were stayed by Crown prosecutors.
Smith fights back ‘defamatory attacks’ from the NDP and CBC
The Alberta NDP said yesterday that Smith’s conversation is proof that she directly contacted Crown prosecutors to ask them to drop COVID cases and that she was “unfit” to be premier.
LifeSiteNews contacted Smith’s office directly to ask about the CBC’s report. As of press time, there has been no reply.
However, Smith, who knew the CBC hit piece about her was coming, fought back against the NDP allegations.
“Later today, in an effort to continue their campaign of defamatory attacks against me, my office staff, Alberta Crown Prosecutors, and the Alberta Public Service, the CBC intends to release an article about a conversation I had with an individual named, Artur Pawlowski,” Smith said.
“During a live press conference on February 9, 2022, I referenced this very conversation where Mr. Pawlowski expressed his frustration to me with pandemic-related public health orders. This should come as no shock since I spent a lot of time before and during my leadership campaign talking to hundreds of Albertans about COVID-related public health orders and violations,” she added.
Smith then noted that she had her staff work with the Ministry of Justice to determine if anything could be done to “grant amnesty for those charged with non-violent, non-firearms COVID-related charges.”
“As also indicated previously in multiple interviews, I received a legal brief from the Ministry of Justice recommending against pursuing amnesty further as several matters involving this issue were and still are before the courts. I have followed that advice,” she added.
Smith said that at “no” time did she speak with anyone from the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service or to her knowledge “have any of my Office’s staff. Allegations to the contrary are defamatory and will be dealt with accordingly.”
Since becoming Alberta’s premier last fall, Smith has seemed to be in favor of free speech. She did say she was looking into creating an amnesty program to those charged for breaking non-criminal code COVID-related rules under former Premier Jason Kenney’s government.
She has never denied that she spoke with Pawlowski or others jailed under draconian COVID rules.
However, in January, Smith said she had asked her senior justice minister to reflect if it is in the “public interest” to uphold charges against people who violated COVID-19 regulations.
Due to an election in May, since that time Smith has been silent on amnesty for those charged under COVID rules until the CBC broke.
Smith made headlines last October after promising to look at look at pardoning Christian pastors who were jailed for violating so-called COVID policies while Kenney was premier.
“I can apologize right now. I am deeply sorry for anyone who was inappropriately subjected to discrimination as a result of their vaccine status,” Smith said.