Alberta premier says she is limiting media questions in order to provide more answers

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said she has no doubt she welcomes questions from the media, but said she is putting limits on them so more answers can be provided.

Smith made the comments on her Corus radio call-in program a day after announcing the new media policy, as her United Conservative Party gears up for a May election campaign.

Smith said she would still allow reporters to ask a question, but not traditional follow-up questions.

Such follow-up questions are considered crucial, allowing journalists to clarify the first answer if necessary, and holding politicians accountable if they don’t answer the first question and instead provide irrelevant talking points.

But Smith said media interest in the election, which is set to start on May 1, will increase and she wants to make sure as many reporters as possible can ask questions

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley’s NDP has pledged to answer as many questions as possible, including follow-up, adding that if Smith didn’t want to answer questions, she shouldn’t be premier.

In addition to limited questions, Smith also announced this week that she would not be commenting on the ongoing investigation by the provincial ethics commissioner.

Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler is trying to determine whether Smith interfered with justice by speaking with the defendant about his case before the criminal trial, Smith’s office said.

During that call, Smith was heard offering to conduct an investigation on behalf of the accused, while telling him the charges against him were politically motivated, adding that she had concerns about how the Crown Prosecutor was handling cases related to COVID-19 measures.

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