Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says there’s no question she welcomes media questions, but says she is imposing limits on those questions in order to provide more answers.
Smith made the comments on her Corus radio call-in show a day after she announced the new policy for media as her United Conservative party ramps up for the May election campaign.
Smith says she will still allow reporters to ask one question, but will not allow the traditional follow-up query.
Such follow-up questions are considered vital to allow reporters to clarify the first answer if necessary and to hold politicians to account if they don’t answer the first question but instead deliver tangentially related talking points.
But Smith says there will be heightened media interest in the election, set to begin May 1, and she wants to ensure as many reporters as possible get to ask questions
Opposition Leader Rachel Notley’s NDP has promised to take as many questions as possible, including follow-ups, adding if Smith doesn’t want to answer questions, she shouldn’t be premier.
Along with limiting questions, Smith also announced this week she will not comment at all on an ongoing investigation by the provincial ethics commissioner.
Smith’s office said Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler is trying to determine whether Smith interfered in the administration of justice by talking with the accused about his case before his criminal trial.
In that call, Smith is heard offering to make inquiries on behalf of the accused while telling him the charges against him were politically motivated, adding she shares his concerns with how Crown prosecutors are conducting cases related to COVID-19 measures.
The Canadian Press