Danielle Smith shared link to antisemitic blog while writing about potential of global currency
She also linked to the blog in her newsletter while writing about Russian-Ukraine war
On two occasions over the past year, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith included links in her newsletter to a blog that a Canadian Jewish Human Rights organization says is a known source of antisemitic tropes and racist conspiracy theories.
Her sharing of the blog's content was first reported by independent journalist Justin Ling.
In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson with the premier's office said Smith condemned all expressions of antisemitism, adding "this hatred has no place in society."
In her April newsletter, Smith wrote about the possibility of a digital currency being used by central banks. She used a link from the blog while discussing SWIFT, the Belgian-based co-operative used by financial institutions around the world.
"Will it be good for us, tied as we are to the Americans?" Smith wrote at the time.
"I'm not sure yet, which is why I am following this closely. This article in the [blog site] believes the change signals the end of Western domination and that we are going to find ourselves isolated from the rest of the world."
On another occasion, she linked to the site while discussing what she regarded as misinformation online regarding the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
CBC News is not naming the blog so as to not further raise its profile.
The blog, which claims to publish "analytical works on matters of history, economics and social-political issues," frequently posts antisemitic content, like one published this past Sunday.
"I define Rothschild Zionism in its present incarnation, as the amalgamation of Wall Street (global Jewish banking mafia families) and the Israel Lobby, along with their affiliated organizations, agencies, think tanks, spy networks, corporations, and agents," the post reads.
Many of the lengthy blogs on the website aren't attributed to an author, while other blogs appear to be reposted.
A request for comment was returned by an unnamed individual associated with the blog who asked CBC News to dispute the claims present on its website. Labelling the blog as antisemitic was an attempt to shut down an "open discussion," the individual said.
Michael Mostyn, CEO of the Canadian Jewish human rights organization B'nai Brith Canada, said the blog was a known provider of antisemitic tropes and "wild conspiracy theories" by those who monitor it.
"This is not content that should have been shared, certainly by anybody who was also seeking higher office. But now that she is premier, I think she owes it to Albertans to distance herself from this blog," he said.
"She may not have been aware of all of the contents, but if she familiarizes herself with it, I think that anybody would say this is something that should be distanced from … this is not a blog that people in Alberta, or anywhere else in Canada or the world, should be directed towards."
Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta who focuses on debunking pseudoscience and unproven health advice, said he's noticed a pattern in Smith's posts — one that embraces fringe voices that are drawn to a conspiratorial worldview.
"As someone [at the university] who is deep into that space, the world of anti-vaxxers … she's basically embracing the stars of that movement," Caulfield said, noting the numerous times she has also highlighted the work of well-known fringe voices.
Caulfield said he was familiar with the blog Smith had linked to, describing it as one that embraces a philosophy that warns of the looming advent of a nefarious global agenda. Such conspiracies often warn of a so-called Great Reset.
Previous social media habits
Smith's previous social media habits have increasingly come under scrutiny since she was sworn in as premier on Oct. 11.
In recent weeks, Smith had come under fire for her comments about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, previously asserting that the only answer for Ukraine was neutrality during a livestream chat held on April 29. Smith had said she understood why Russia would have a concern with a Western-aligned Ukraine with nuclear weapons, although Ukraine has not had nuclear weapons since the 1990s.
Though she apologized for those comments, saying her opinion on the matter had "drastically evolved," Smith has expressed a desire to put such matters in the rearview mirror.
In her leadership speech, Smith said she expected that those "in Ottawa and in the establishment" who did not want her to succeed would "dredge up old statements and mistakes from the past" to harm the UCP.
In an interview on Ryan Jespersen's Real Talk podcast last week, Smith was asked whether she may have to be more cognizant of the ideas she entertains now that she occupies the premier's chair.
"I do intend to make sure that I listen broadly, and will hear from all the experts. That's what I tried to do on my show," Smith said.
"And if there's something that is emerging as some kind of consensus, if it's involving science, I'll be questioning, I certainly will.… There's too many areas that are no longer open to discussion anymore."