Alberta Premier Danielle Smith criticized for previous Ukraine/Russia comments

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said the NDP’s “attempted politicization” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “offensive and inappropriate” after the opposition seemingly criticized her for comments she made in April.

Smith made remarks Apr. 29 during an Ask Me Anything live stream on a members-only crowdfunding website,

When asked about a possible peace plan for Russia and Ukraine, she said Ukraine should be “neutral” and “denuclearize.”

“That should have been the answer right from the beginning,” Smith said. “If I’m missing something and there’s some new plan, let me know. It would be absurd — if you want to try draw a parallel — it would be absurd for Canada to have nuclear weapons and be allied with Russia and not think that that was going to upset America.”

“So why would we be surprised if Russia is upset because Ukraine has nuclear weapons and is allied with the United States? So, I think the only answer for Ukraine is neutrality, and there has been thriving nations who have managed with neutrality — Switzerland being the most obvious example. So, if there is something more you want to add to that, if you think I’m missing something, let me know, because I thought that that was the solution from the very beginning,” Smith said.

Another suggested plan for peace in Ukraine with similarities to Smith’s comments, put forth by Tesla CEO Elon Musk weeks ago, was deemed pro-Russian by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Smith slammed for her take

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley tweeted “steadfast” support for the people of Ukraine in a thread Saturday, seemingly in response to Smith’s comments. The premier’s past remarks began circulating online Friday after independent journalist Justin Ling first reported them in his newsletter.

“We were proud to work with former premier Ed Stelmach, former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, and the Canadian Polish Historical Society to send aid to Ukrainian families in the path of the Russian assault, and we wholeheartedly welcome Ukrainians seeking safety here,” Notley said.

“Like so many Albertans, we cherish our Ukrainian heritage. The scenes of bloodshed and destruction there are heartbreaking, and we know many Albertans have lost friends and family members. We unreservedly condemn Putin’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of our democratic ally, Ukraine.”

In a statement Sunday, Smith clarified her position on Ukraine. She said she has “and will always stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Smith cited her Ukrainian heritage and her great-grandfather who fled the country after WWI to come to Canada as factors that formed her political beliefs.

Former Progressive Conservative MLA Thomas Lukaszuk slammed Smith’s response on Twitter.

“Unlike @AbDanielSmith’s grandfather, I actually lived my formative years in communist Poland. This reinforced my trust in democratically elected governments, independent justiciary & academia, and in democratic institutions.

“Smith’s poser narrative doesn’t stick,” he wrote.

In her statement, Smith also accused the NDP of attempting to politicize Russia’s invasion, however, she did not apologize for her initial comments.

“I would request the NDP and their allies find within themselves the decency to not politicize such a painful and terrible tragedy. It is extremely unbecoming,” Smith said in a statement.

She added the province will work with the federal government to expedite work visas for Ukrainian refugees.

Notley tweeted “unequivocal” support for Ukraine Sunday, in second tweet seemingly directed at the premier.

“Showing sympathy to an international war criminal and an illegal invasion of Ukraine demonstrates horrendous judgment. This isn’t leadership. It’s harmful to Alberta’s international reputation and could cause long-term damage to our economic future,” Notley said in a tweet.

“The Alberta NDP is unequivocal in support for Ukraine.”

Smith’s other controversial takes

In separate posts made to her page, Smith casted doubt on the veracity of reporting about unmarked graves found at Canadian Residential Schools.

She also shared her opinions on Russia’s claim that it was invading Ukraine to fight Nazis, why she liked Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary backing former U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud, and why she thinks Alberta needs to be at the forefront of cryptocurrency.

–With files from Courtney Theriault

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today