Premier Smith to deliver update on Just Transition talks, federal health deal

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CALGARY – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is set to meet with reporters for the first time in a month today, with questions expected on health care, Crown prosecutors and perhaps her now-viral limp handshake with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Smith is set to update reporters in Calgary on her meeting with Trudeau in Ottawa and her concerns over the so-called federal Just Transition plan to help Canadian workers adapt to the global shift to more renewable energy.

Those meetings were overshadowed Tuesday by an awkward handshake between the two at a photo opportunity in which Trudeau appeared to have to reach, clutch and pin the limp palm-down hand of a hesitant Smith.

She is also expected to comment further on Ottawa’s proposed new health funding deal, which would see the federal government shift $196 billion to the to the provinces and territories over the next decade in exchange for commitments to massively upgrade health-care data collection and digital medical records.

Smith has not scrummed with reporters since she announced on Jan. 12 that she had been talking directly to Crown prosecutors about her concerns over prosecutions of people accused of violating COVID-19 health restrictions.

Since then, Smith — in statements and select one-on-one interviews — clarified she didn’t talk to prosecutors, but has delivered multiple versions of what she did ask Justice Department officials to do about the cases, which she has characterized as politically motivated.

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