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Danielle Smith comments suggest she wants 'freedoms' like DeSantis and Noem

Alberta premier Danielle Smith asked Prime Minister Trudeau to apologize over the Speaker's Nazi invite controversy Wednesday. Alberta premier Danielle Smith asked Prime Minister Trudeau to apologize over the Speaker's Nazi invite controversy Wednesday.

Premier Danielle Smith's comments at a central Alberta conference last week are raising eyebrows after she referenced thoughts she had about "freedoms" residents in Florida and South Dakota are enjoying.

According to an online report from Fort Saskatchewan, the premier was meeting with Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally and Albertans in the town of Gibbons on April 11.

During the question and answer period afterwards, Smith made comparisons between Canadian and American politics and suggested she wanted to see freedoms that some U.S. states enjoy applied here.

The states she referred to in her answer included Florida and South Dakota, where Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem are the governors, respectively.

DeSantis is responsible for a six-week abortion ban, a staunch resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and a fight with entertainment giant Disney that's led to the company filing a lawsuit over his takeover of the park's district.

Meanwhile, Noem introduced her own legislation against abortions last summer, making it a felony for anyone to prescribe abortion medication without a licence.

She's also said, at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston – after a Texas mass shooting that left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead – that attempts by the U.S. government to restrict access to firearms are "garbage."

According to a recent column from former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi for CTV News, Smith holds DeSantis as one of her political idols.

Others have shared video clips on social media of Smith speaking about "asserting freedom" in Alberta and musing about a "cross-border agreement with DeSantis."

"Maybe we can develop little bilateral agreements with other free states," she said. "That would allow for us to have a little more autonomy."

CTV News reached out to Smith's office and in a statement, the premier said she believes everyone's Charter rights need to be protected.

"They are dearly important to me and all Albertans," Smith said.

"I am impressed with any political leader that stood up for the core charter rights of freedom of speech, expression, religion, assembly and association these last several years. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

"Pierre Poilievre is another example of a leader that understands the importance of protecting these freedoms as much as I do."

"No wonder Smith doesn’t want to encourage second questions (or maybe first from the media)," said University of Lethbridge political scientist Trevor Harrison.

(It's) hard to imagine that she did not know these comments would not spread far and wide – though this is the first I have heard of them. Then again, many of these comments are probably supported by her base, though I suspect very few mid-range conservatives in Canada hold a candle for DeSantis."

With files from the Associated Press Top Stories

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