Some juicy comments:
One wonders how long Alberta’s farmers & ranchers are going to endure the onslaught of climate change before turning on their oil soaked brethren.
If one wishes to sing in the Alberta UCP choir, then; one must sing the proscribed hymnals with the proper adoration, or risk being put on the official enemies list.
Doug Schweitzer is acutely aware of where the officially and professionally defined boundaries lie and he is very careful in not crossing those boundaries. Prosecution and persecution is usually reserved for those who are both unconnected and powerless. Those who are ‘inconsequential’ in society.
See for example, https://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2019-2020/the-autopsy-part-2-what-did-justice-cover-up and note very carefully the response of Mr. Doug Schweitzer. Business as usual in Alberta means preserving the entrenched perceived order of things and not stepping on the toes the well connected and the socially, economically, and politically powerful. Or, so it would appear.
After watching the CBC program, I am left wondering as to whom among the Calgary oligarchs stood to be directly affected by an investigation. Denis never took a breath without having it suggested by one of the Great Calgarians.
This is so brazen I don’t think anyone who believes in free speech in Canada can be anything but appalled.
I have made some changes but this is similar to the statement from a so called free speech advocate, let us see if he responds with a similar one when those being attacked are on the other side of the issue. It should also serve as a reminder that a change in government may result in him having to open his books. The ball is in your court Ezra, not holding my breath.
The UCP government’s effort to demonize their critics is turning from something the height of farcical behaviour into something to be feared. Of course, that does not mean that their efforts should be ignored; if anything it establishes just how dangerous they really are.
Playing Don Quixote and tilting at windmills as dragons is amusing enough to watch, but what happens when the UCP government, in full frustration, decides that they need to go full-on thug to get their way? If the courts and universities are not going to be friendly ground for them, maybe it’s time to go scorched earth and show that they really mean business?
Given Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer’s tendency to name-call and make threats, it should worry everyone if he decides to back up the same with the force of legislation. He doesn’t seem like the kind of lawyer who cherishes free expression; he seems like the type who would smash it.
[There are many such lawyers and judges (and politicians) in Canada. Steve Harper made it clear that he hates Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms, notably our right to freedom of expression, so do some of the judges he appointed to the bench, which is perhaps why he appointed them.
Many in Alberta, including industry, politicians and regulator staff I’ve spoken with, want rights for themselves but hate the rest of us ordinary citizens having those same rights. Notley had the automatic right to intervene in my hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada in support of the Charter/Free Speech Rights of Albertans, she chose to do nothing (or maybe was ordered silent by Encana/AER/Glenn Solomon, AER’s outside counsel).
AER violated my Charter rights, in writing no less. Our Supreme Court of Canada (7/9 judges who heard my appeal were appointed by Harper) intentionally published dishonesty in their ruling, and pissed on me, my case and the Charter rights of all civil Canadians. We aleady have lost our rights to freedom of expression, thanks to AER, Harper and the Supreme Court of Canada.]
Legislating severe limitations on criticism from all quarters is a very possible scenario that could unfold. [Then one has to move, and criticize from outside the province] Use of the Notwithstanding Clause to smash civil liberties is a very real and present danger that everyone should take very seriously. These are the times where constant vigilance is survival.
“Don’t let a thief into your house three times. The first time was enough. The second time was a chance. The third time means you’re stupid.” ― C. Joy Bell C.
SHUT DOWN YOUR ‘ANTI-ALBERTA CAMPAIGNS’ INQUIRY OR THE COURTS WILL SHUT IT FOR YOU, TINY GROUP WARNS ALBERTA GOVERNMENT by David Climenhaga, Jan 20, 2020, Alberta Politics
OTTAWA – Well, one thing’s already clear, there’s no way the mighty Kenney Government will shut down its so-called inquiry into “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” on the say so of Progress Alberta, a small Edmonton-based research and activist organization.
That said, the day may come when the government’s leaders wish they had.
This morning, Progress Alberta Director Duncan Kinney announced the organization’s lawyer has fired off a letter to Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan demanding that he immediately end what critics have termed a political inquisition or face having it shut down by the courts.
Progress Alberta’s complaint is based in part on the argument the organization has repeatedly been targeted by Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP government, both during the provincial election last spring and since, “with false accusations that our group was a part of a conspiracy, working in league with American foundations, to sabotage Alberta’s economy.”
Alberta Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan (Photo: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta).
“Those attacks appeared to be in retaliation for Progress Alberta exercising its constitutionally protected right to campaign against Jason Kenny and the UCP,” Mr. Kinney said in a statement, arguing that the government’s attacks on Progress Alberta appear to be in retaliation for the organization exercising its constitutionally protected right to campaign against the government.
In reality, he said in an email from Edmonton today, “we are not a part of the Tar Sands Campaign. We have never campaigned against pipelines or oilsands projects. We have never conspired with the Rockefellers to sabotage Alberta’s economy.”
“But that didn’t stop Kenney from smearing us and turning us into an enemy of Alberta,” Kinney continued, suggesting that’s what the premier had to do in order “to distract Albertans from the brutal austerity he’s inflicting on Albertans.”
“We have a clear message for Kenney,” Mr. Kinney continued. “Shut down this unconstitutional and undemocratic witch hunt of an inquiry or we will shut it down for you.”
Now, if the government of Alberta is a Goliath in such matters, Progress Alberta is certainly David.
But since many of the most enthusiastic supporters of Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party Government are among those who believe the contents of Bible are literal journalism, it probably behooves us to review the Old Testament narrative found in Chapter 17 of the first Book of Samuel.
Alberta Minister of Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).
Little David, as alert readers of Scripture will recall, put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote big Goliath in his forehead. Thereby, history was made and a terrific metaphor created.
The rock in Progress Alberta’s metaphorical slingshot – Amir Attaran — is not just some spiky haired law graduate out to make a name for himself.
Dr. Attaran is a full professor in the faculties of both Law and Medicine at the University of Ottawa. A distinguished scholar, in other words. He has had, as they say, a diverse career as scientist, lawyer and advocate for public health, human rights and environmental protection.
Folks like Premier Kenney are not likely to be among Dr. Attaran’s greatest fans, of course, since many Conservatives took vociferous offence at his tweeted observation last summer that their party had become “the party of the uneducated.”
Regardless of his willingness to court controversy, the point is that Dr. Attaran is no piker when it comes to the law.
“The attacks on Progress Alberta have created a chilling effect that has discouraged Progress Alberta’s traditional donors from supporting the organization,” Dr. Attaran wrote in his letter to Mr. Allan. “The threat of the Inquiry has also forced Progress Alberta to divert resources towards research and legal defense, rather than reaching its target audience.”
Since the commissioner cannot exercise his mandate to inquire into “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” without making a determination information distributed by opponents of the government’s policies is “misleading or false,” the letter argues, “the Commissioner must arrive at a value determination of the content of the Canadian organization’s expression, simply to cross the threshold of acquiring jurisdiction over it.”
“We do not believe that it is legal for the Inquiry’s jurisdiction to be predicated upon the value of constitutionally-protected expression.”
Charter Rights in Canada Reality Check:
Wow, University of Alberta’s Centre for Constitutional Studies & Legal Education Society of Alberta haven’t yet realized that Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a mangled, oil-soaked paper airplane flown out of a 26th storey window in downtown Calgary, fueled by Supreme Court of Canada knowingly publishing lies in their rulings.
Nasty! Canadian courts describing “individuals as exhibiting ‘vexatious-style’ behavior without formally designating them as a vexatious litigant.” Is that how Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella gets away with ruling AER found Ernst to be “vexatious litigant” when evidence proves AER found Ernst to be a “criminal,” 7 years later, a terrorist – all without charges, evidence, trial or due process? With AG Jody Wilson-Raybould saying & doing nothing about Canada’s top judicial farce?
Damaging the Charter: Ernst vs Alberta Energy Regulator by Lorne Sossin, Dean Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Comment: “It causes one to question how much both the plurality and the dissent were driven by the desired end-state of the judgment, rather than consistency in applying principles of public law.”
End Charter Rights in Canada Reality Check.
“While government can place proportionate restrictions on the right of free expression where there is a pressing and substantial objective, that is not the Inquiry’s function,” the letter continues. “Instead the Inquiry, by its Terms of Reference, has the intent of subjecting organizations who campaign and advance allegedly ‘anti-Alberta’ beliefs about the oil and gas industry to a legal process in which their associations with foreign organizations are examined by a Commissioner having coercive powers in the Public Inquiries Act.”
“This has a chilling effect a priori upon organizations wishing to express themselves, and hinders their participation in political discourse about the oil and gas industry,” the letter says, noting that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled “government interference in political discourse is highly unconstitutional.”
Similarly, the letter says, the inquiry’s terms interfere with government opponents’ Charter-guaranteed right to freedom of association. [Pfffft, our Charter rights are shit ‘n piss, thanks to Harper’s Supreme Court of Canada (it’ll be many years before Harper’s appointees retire off the bench)]
These matters are in addition to concerns about whether the inquiry’s mandate is even allowed under Alberta’s powers set out in the Constitution Act, 1867, which are the subject of litigation brought by other parties, the letter added.
Accordingly, Dr. Attaran’s letter concluded, “I caution the Government of Alberta to repeal the Terms of Reference and disband the Inquiry forthwith, failing which we may commence litigation, in anticipation of which I instruct the Government of Alberta to retain all records in connection with the Inquiry or its establishment.”
Well, Mr. Kenney and his commissioner won’t like that very much. [I expect Kenney and his anti-justice, anti-rights UCP don’t give a damn. They know the oil patch rules everything in Canada, including the main media and our courts, and the patch makes greater profits the more our rights are decimated.] Indeed, Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer soon advised the Toronto Star’s Edmonton reporter to tell Progress Alberta to “bring it on.”
Dr. Attaran responded on Twitter: “‘Bring it on’ is not exactly thoughtful constitutional analysis, @Doug_Schweitzer. My client, @ProgressAlberta, hopes for a more intelligent, mature response.” [Roaring laughter! Sorry Dr. Attaran, the UCP are severely lacking in maturity and intelligence.]
You have to admit, though, was a great way to start “Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.” [ha ha ha!]
That risible occasion was launched today as well by so-called Red Tape Reduction Minister Grant Hunter in coordination with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, a lobby group that is obviously no foe of the Kenney Government.
Mr. Allan’s inquiry is one bit of red tape that Alberta, and Canada, could do without. [Roaring laughter!]
The best of the juicy comments:
I just started donating $10 a month from my retirement income after reading your piece in the vain glorious notion that it might piss off Kenny. Cheers [too funny!]
Refer also to:
Kenney’s $2.5 Million “Public Inquiry” Witch Hunt has paid law firm Dentons Canada $905,000 so far! Is Steve Allen’s job to steal from Alberta taxpayers to give to lawyers in exchange for Kenney favours? What a toxic circus Alberta govt is.
Hanky Panky hits anti-Alberta Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allen: Why give $905K (more than 1/3 the entire budget) to Dentons Canada, law firm where Allen’s son is partner, Steve Harper works and Alberta Justice Minister Schweitzer was partner. Why such expensive advice to catch some witches flying on brooms made with a few foreign parts?