United Conservative Party leadership candidate Danielle Smith called her “inappropriate” for Alberta’s lieutenant governor. Salma Lakhani and outgoing Premier Jason Kenney to criticize her Alberta sovereignty bill.
Smith made the remarks in a video posted to social media on Friday and in an accompanying press release.
A day earlier, Lakhani said she would consult legal experts before giving royal assent to a potentially unconstitutional bill.
Lakhani said his constitutional role is the most important part of his job and that Alberta must uphold the rule of law.
The law, as described by Smith, would give Alberta the ability to ignore federal laws that are not in the province’s best interest.
Smith called on Lakhani to recant.
The former Wildrose chief also took issue with Kenney’s comments at 630 CHED on Friday morning.
Kenney told host Shaye Ganam that Smith’s action would put the lieutenant governor in a very “embarrassing” position and hurt investor confidence in Alberta.
“This is unprecedented and totally inappropriate political interference in our democratic processes,” she said in a press release sent Friday.
In the video, Smith accused the prime minister of trying to tip the scales in favor of his “favorite” leadership candidate Travis Toews, who served as finance minister in Kenney’s cabinet before stepping down in late May.
“You mean creating a constitutional crisis,” Smith says in the video.
“Having an interim prime minister in the position where he acts as he is is what creates a constitutional crisis.
“I would ask him to stop. I would ask him to stop weighing in on this contest. And if he wants to continue in the goalkeeper position, in the meantime, that’s exactly what he should do.”
Smith’s supporters criticized Lakhani for his comments on the Sovereignty Act. Peter Guthrie, the UCP MP for Airdrie-Cochrane, claimed that the federal Liberals were influencing Lakhani. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Lakhani as Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in August 2020.
“It appears that the Ottawa elites, through the Trudeau-appointed representative, are interfering in the UCP leadership race on a bill that has yet to be drafted or debated in the UCP. ‘Alberta Legislative Assembly,’ he tweeted. “If Trudeau is against it, he is right.”
Lakhani said she needs to see a bill first before deciding what action to take. She plans to raise the issue of how to handle a potentially unconstitutional bill with her counterparts at the viceregal conference in Newfoundland next month.
Smith and Toews are among seven candidates vying to replace Kenney as UCP leader.
Kenney plans to step down as soon as a winner is announced Oct. 6.