Corbella: Smith plans to unplug her mic but will keep making an impact

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“Together we’ve explored nearly every topic imaginable from hard news to emerging technologies that will transform how we use energy, to unusual occupations and interests — who knew there was such a thing as an apple detective? — to providing a platform and voice for those who are otherwise powerless,” she wrote on globalnews.ca.

But something, says Smith, has changed for her.

“It will be no surprise to you that I am gravely troubled by how easily most in our society have chosen to give up on freedom. . . Freedom of speech, in particular, is in a dire state,” she lamented. “My entire adult life and career has been spent questioning authority and institutions and conventional wisdom. I’ve been all too aware that in many nations of the world it is against the law to speak truth to power. It can be dangerous. Sadly, in the last year I’ve noticed there are times where it has become perilous here, too.”

After Smith crossed the legislature floor along with eight Wildrose colleagues and joined then Alberta Premier Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservative government on Dec. 17, 2014, she lost her seat in the legislature and, she said in a telephone interview, was a pariah in the province.

John Vos, regional program director at Corus Entertainment offered her not just a job but one that was on her “bucket list” — her own radio talk show — where she could really dig deep into all sides of an issue. She is deeply grateful for that.

Vos says losing Smith is a huge loss for Corus, for its listeners and all Albertans. He points out that on Monday, for instance, Premier Jason Kenney announced that paramedics and EMRs are now eligible to be in the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations — a topic Smith has been “hammering away on” for weeks and clearly helped move the dial on that issue.