Premier of Alberta, Canada Backtracks on Amnesty for Lockdown Violators

Danielle Smith, Alberta's premier, speaks during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Alberta lowered its budget surplus forecast by almost C$1 billion ($750 million) after rolling out a series of tax breaks and social benefits to help residents of the oil-rich province deal with …
Todd Korol/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alberta’s conservative Premier, Danielle Smith, has backtracked on prior promises to provide amnesty for those fined under the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, leading to anger among some.

Premier Smith, the leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP), has backtracked on a prior promise to seek amnesty for those fined under the previous coronavirus restrictions, and has also been accused of trying to interfere with the justice system.

Smith stated Thursday that she had asked Crown prosecutors and the Justice Department to consider all charges as to whether or not they would lead to a conviction and whether they are in the public interest, but has not stated she will seek a general amnesty, the National Post reports.

A spokesman for the Justice Ministry, however, claimed that Premier Smith had not even spoken to any Crown prosecutors, saying: “Suggesting otherwise may undermine public faith in the administration of justice. The Premier had met to discuss prosecutions at a high level with the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.”

Alberta pastor Artur Pawlowski, who was arrested during the pandemic for violating restrictions, has expressed anger over the Premier’s apparent about-face on amnesty, comparing her to previous Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who presided over the province when the restrictions were in place.

“That was what I was hoping Danielle Smith was going to do. Well, I’m not delusional anymore. I understand, I get it Danielle — you are a Kenney 2.0. We are not going to hope with you, we need to change this government,” Pawlowski said at a rally outside the Alberta legislature in Edmonton.

The backtrack comes after Premier Smith slammed the treatment of unvaccinated people last October after becoming Premier.

“[The unvaccinated] have been the most discriminated-against group that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime,” she said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a situation in my lifetime where a person was fired from their job or not allowed to watch their kids play hockey or not allowed to go visit a loved one in long-term care or hospital, not allowed to get on a plane to either go across the country to see family or even travel across the border,” Premier Smith added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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