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No, I’m sorry, I cannot possibly comment on the Alberta ethics commissioner’s investigation into my telephone call with Artur Pawlowski, the Calgary street preacher and anti-vaccine activist, about his pending criminal trial.

Neither can I comment on my libel suit against the CBC for reporting what I said in that conversation, based on an audio recording of the call. As Premier I make it a strict policy never to comment on matters before the courts, except to Crown prosecutors.

Wait, did I just say Crown prosecutors? That’s not what I meant and I’ll sue anyone who reports I said it. When I say, as I have said publicly on multiple occasions, that I talk to prosecutors about cases involving COVID-related offences – I can be heard on the recording telling Mr. Pawlowski that I had talked to “our prosecutors” (come on! Obviously I meant the Minister of Justice and his deputy) “almost weekly” since I became Premier – I am at worst guilty of imprecise language and at best a kind of Romantic poet.

I have not talked to any, and neither has any member of my staff, ever – and when I say ever I mean ever in the last 30 or maybe 60 days, or as far back as we maintain e-mail archives.

It would be wrong for me, as Premier, to discuss a case with prosecutors, just as it would be wrong for me to discuss a case with the accused. Everyone knows that. You just don’t do that, no exceptions, end of discussion, period, exclamation point!

So when I did that with Mr. Pawlowski, weeks before his trial on charges of violating provincial public-health orders – notably at the Coutts border blockade last year – you have to understand, in my mind I was not talking to an accused person.

As I told listeners of my weekly radio show last Saturday, “I thought we were talking in the context of him being a political party leader” – the leader of the Alberta Independence Party, as he was then. It was supposed to be a conversation between fellow party leaders – comparing notes, shooting the breeze, you know, just one right-wing populist who has trouble with basic legal concepts to another.

Then, just like that, as I told my listeners, “it turned into a discussion about what I was doing with COVID amnesty.” Well, who could possibly have foreseen that? Just because he had been publicly calling on me to intervene in the case for weeks beforehand? Just because I had been publicly advertising that that’s the sort of thing I do? Sure, easy to say in hindsight.

I don’t know where people get this idea that premiers can just snap their fingers and make a case go away, unless it was from my many public statements while campaigning for leader of the United Conservative Party that, as Premier, I would personally grant amnesty to those charged with COVID-related offences.

Who knew that wasn’t possible under Canadian law? As I told the pastor, I had thought premiers “had the same power of clemency that they did in the U.S.” You know, the same way the Second Amendment protects our gun rights. Guess I should have pleaded the Fifth on that one!

But when I told Mr. Pawlowski I was “sympathetic” to his plight, when I asked him, “Can you just leave this with me and I will make that request one more time?” that should not be taken to mean that somehow I was willing to get him off the hook on the charges just because he and I held similar political views.

Because we don’t! Okay, we may agree that people who refuse to get vaccinated during a public-health emergency are victims of legal discrimination – the “most discriminated-against group I’ve ever seen,” in fact – who should be protected under human-rights legislation. But aside from that, as I said on my radio show, this guy has some “very extreme views” that I “disagree with completely.”

Do you know he’s one of these people who worries the World Economic Forum is behind a plot to use central-bank digital currencies to control our behaviour, who has promoted ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as cures for COVID, who believes people in the first three stages of cancer have to take responsibility for their disease – and who thinks the government of Alberta can just pass a law empowering it to ignore federal laws it doesn’t like?

Oh no, wait, that was me, sorry. I told you I can be a little imprecise at times.