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Alberta has new parliamentary secretary focused on protecting Charter rights, civil liberties


Alberta's premier revealed she had appointed a parliamentary secretary for "civil liberties" earlier this week to help protect Charter rights, free speech on campuses and firearm rights.

Premier Danielle Smith said Saturday on her call-in radio show that Tracy Allard, Grande Prairie UCP MLA, had been given the portfolio and sworn-in on Dec. 13.

No official announcement about the new portfolio was made during the week. The majority of the province's current cabinet was appointed in October following Smith's victory in the United Conservative Party leadership race.

"As we went through the fall session, it seemed to us that there were a number of different areas that we needed to look at to address property and civil rights," Smith explained.

The premier said Allard would be focused on protecting private property rights, enabling free speech at post-secondary institutions, and working around Ottawa's Bill C-21 amendments which seek to reclassify what firearms are legal to own in Canada, among other gun control measures.

"There's a whole range of things that came up in this fall session and it seemed to me having a parliamentary secretary focused on property and civil rights would allow for her [Allard] to give us some advice on how we might be able to address these in legislation," Smith said on Corus Entertainment's Your Province. Your Premier.

"And as we go forward, if there are bills that we're passing, just having somebody with the lens of saying, is this making sure that we're protecting all of the rights that are protected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she added.

"I think that that's going to be important. So I'm looking forward to working with Tracy Allard on that."

When asked for further comment and clarification if Allard's portfolio would extend to protecting the unvaccinated, both her office and the premier's press secretary pointed to Smith's comments on the radio talk show.

Allard was first elected in 2019 and has previously served as the minister of municipal affairs but stepped down in January 2021 after her family's pandemic vacation to Hawaii was uncovered, at a time when provincial and federal COVID-19 guidelines advised against non-essential travel. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nahreman Issa Top Stories

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