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Alberta government says no evidence of emails to prosecutors on border blockade cases

The Alberta government says it could not find any emails to substantiate allegations one of Premier Danielle Smith’s staffers wrote to Crown prosecutors to try to influence how they handled cases tied to the Coutts blockade last year.
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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith gives a government update in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. The Alberta government says it could not find any emails to substantiate allegations one of Smith’s staffers wrote to Crown prosecutors to try to influence how they handled cases tied to the blockade at the Coutts border crossing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it could not find any emails to substantiate allegations one of Premier Danielle Smith’s staffers wrote to Crown prosecutors to try to influence how they handled cases tied to the blockade last year at the Coutts border crossing. 

The Justice Department says in a statement that over the weekend civil servants reviewed about a million incoming, outgoing and deleted emails spanning a four-month period and found no record of contact between prosecutors and the premier’s office. 

The department says no further investigation will be done unless other evidence surfaces. 

Smith announced the investigation following a CBC News story last week, citing unnamed sources, saying emails had been sent by a staffer to those prosecuting cases related to COVID-19 protests that tied up the U.S. crossing at Coutts a year ago. 

Smith did not say the investigation would include talking to the 34 people in her office or the Crown prosecutors handling the relevant investigations.  

The Opposition NDP renewed its call for an independent investigation, saying Smith cannot be trusted given her conflicting statements on what she has said to justice officials about COVID-19-related prosecutions and her concerns about having those cases go forward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press