Critics have accused her of pushing “pro-Putin, pro-Russian separatist propaganda,” but that didn’t stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from placing Alberta Premier Danielle Smith on his latest sanctions list.

Smith was banned from Russia along with former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach on Monday. 

“My response to Putin: we will be announcing more funding and supports for Ukrainian refugees later today,” the premier wrote on Twitter. 

“My response to Europe: Free yourselves of Russian energy. Alberta is ready to help! I’m planning a trip to Germany soon to talk about de-leveraging Russia’s hold over European markets for generations.”

Later on Monday, Smith announced $12.3 million for language, social and educational supports for new Ukrainian students. She said Alberta’s schools identified more than 2,200 registered students as Ukrainian evacuees in September.

Last month, NDP MP Charlie Angus accused Smith of pushing “pro-Russian, pro-Putin separatist propaganda.”

Speaking in the House of Commons, Angus called Smith the “face of the conservative movement,” adding, “I mean, oh my God, where to begin.”

“You know, we find out now that she has been promoting pro-Russian, pro-Putin separatist propaganda,” Angus said.

He was responding to comments Smith made on the social media platform Locals in April calling for Ukrainian neutrality. 

“I think the only answer for Ukraine is neutrality,” Smith said in a live stream. “There are thriving nations that have managed with neutrality.”

NDP leader Rachel Notley also denounced the premier’s comments, saying Smith showed “horrendous judgement” by showing “sympathy to an international war criminal and an illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

Smith has since apologized for the remarks. 

The new premier was among one hundred new Canadians to be sanctioned on Monday.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the list includes high-ranking officials, businessmen, media and financial structures “that are directly involved in the formation of an aggressive anti-Russian course.”

The Canadian federal government sanctioned 23 Russians on Monday, and announced another $500 million foreign aid package for Ukraine. 

Speaking at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta 2022 Fall Convention on Thursday, Smith announced the “Premier’s Advisory Task Force on Ukraine.” It’s been mandated to engage with the Ukrainian community and develop a report by Jan. 15. 

After she was sworn in as premier on Oct. 11, Smith told True North she supports the $10 million former Alberta premier Jason Kenney pledged for Ukraine while in office. 


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.