Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks at a press conference, in Edmonton, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta premier apologizes, tries to clarifies comment about First Nations

Premier Danielle Smith says she is sorry if anyone misinterpreted her remarks this week to conclude she was equating Ottawa’s treatment of Alberta to the systemic and horrific abuse of Canada’s First Nations.

Smith says that was not her intention and that she was merely stating both Alberta and First Nations share a common adversary as they assert independence in their areas of authority.

The Opposition NDP says Smith’s remarks demonstrate an appalling lack of understanding of the historical mistreatment suffered by Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

Smith has come under fire from First Nations chiefs for not consulting them before passing her sovereignty act last week, and they are calling for it to be withdrawn.

The act declares Alberta will fight for what it terms its powers under the Constitution — but treaty chiefs say those powers would imperil their rights and agreements with the federal government.

Alberta’s Treaty 6 chiefs met with Smith earlier today and said in a statement it’s clear Smith doesn’t understand or respect treaty rights.