An Alberta online news outlet has fully retracted and apologized for a recent article that alleged the premier and other government officials violated COVID-19 public health orders at an Edmonton restaurant.
The Western Standard published a story last week that alleged Premier Jason Kenney, along with several cabinet ministers, attended gatherings at a specific restaurant while Alberta dining rooms were closed as per stated COVID-19 restrictions.
“For our story, the Western Standard depended on multiple unnamed sources,” reads a statement issued by the publication. “While those sources are known to the Western Standard, we were unable to appropriately corroborate our sources’ claims.
“The Western Standard unreservedly apologizes to Premier Kenney and Ministers Nixon and Shandro.”
The statement, which is attributed to Western Standard publisher and CEO Derek Fildebrandt, also states that the publication failed to provide those mentioned in the article a chance to respond to the allegations.
That was one of the errors alleged by the premier’s legal team, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to the outlet that claimed, in part, that the Western Standard acted irresponsibly by not allowing for comment from the premier.
The publication previously said it had asked for comment at 5:49 p.m. MT on June 9, seven minutes before the article would be published on the Western Standard website.
“Our story should not have been published under these circumstances,” reads the statement from the outlet. “We take sole responsibility for this.”
The statement goes on to state that the Western Standard will review its editing and publishing policies to prevent future errors.
The Western Standard previously retracted elements of the original allegations after the premier’s legal team sent a cease-and-desist letter to the outlet.
In the letter, the premier’s legal team demanded the article be removed, along with any related tweets.
The premier’s legal team also called for The Western Standard to issue a written retraction and apologize to the premier and those named in the article.
The letter also demanded The Western Standard refrain from publishing any further defamatory content related to the statements or the article.
CBC News has contacted the premier’s office for additional comment.
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