Comment in from a citizen in BC:
Wow, thanks to the KKKenney “public inquiry ‘into the anti-Alberta energy campaigns that are supported by foreign organizations’” I now realize why I’m so opposed to oil and gas extraction! It must be because I’m only a first-generation Canadian on both sides, and the evil influence of foreign powers/organizations galumphing through my genes! It’s such a relief to understand why my political views are so badly aligned with those of our current governments! And to know that it’s genetic, therefore I’m helpless to resist my distrust of/antagonism toward our petro-state. Phew, I feel lightheaded with relief – or perhaps it’s a reaction to the fumes from ” the timely, economic, efficient and responsible development of Alberta’s [and BC’s] oil and gas resources and the transportation of those resources to commercial markets.”
Hey, did you hear about the US Senator (Republican, of course) who proposes to block any future President from banning fracking? Those oil and gas fanatics are sure getting panicky!
50 countries now target foreign funding of environmental, human rights activists [but not foreign funding of oil and gas companies frac’ing and poisoning community drinking water aquifers!] … Fear of foreigners is the perfect political duct tape: it sticks to anything and holds like glue.
Yet the clownishly one-sided language and tools surrounding this inquisition and its terms of reference would look perfectly at home in Iran or Saudi Arabia:
- “anti-Albertan” activities defined so broadly as to include virtually any opposition to oil and gas development;
- investigating foreign donors who “Evinc(e) an intent harmful to the Alberta oil and gas industry;”
- power to summon witnesses and compel production of records and documentation, which may include texts, emails and private communications showing “anti-Albertan” intent;
- tip line for Albertans to report on each other and other Canadians;
- veiled threats over charitable status;
- also, Russians.
… Nor, apparently, could Kenney find a respected independent jurist to act as inquiry commissioner. No surprise there — any reputable lawyer would look at this mandate and hightail it out of town.
Instead, Kenney found his man deep in the heart of Calgary’s tight-knit business community, Steve Allan is an eminent Calgary businessman and forensic accountant whose previous position as chair of Calgary Economic Development kept him in close proximity with sponsors like Cenovus, Shell, Suncor and Birchcliff Energy.
… As the world faces the most pressing moral imperative in the history of human civilization, Jason Kenney’s inquiry has all but criminalized opposition to fossil fuel expansion, before a single witness is called. At this point, why even hold hearings? Might as well skip right to the sentencing.
Wait, there isn’t going to be one. There’s no trial. It’s just a show.
Despite incendiary rhetoric, Kenney virtually powerless … The only thing Kenney has the power to do is cut off whatever Alberta government grants non-profit organizations receive, and use the inquiry as a bully pulpit to discredit….
Yet there he is, prattling on about Russia and Saudi Arabia like a mini-tinpot dictator while authorizing a government official — not even a judge [wouldn’t make much difference if it were a judge, notably if appointed by Steve Harper] — to rifle through the private records and documents of Canadians lawfully exercising their freedoms of speech and association.
… Find a way to shut this inquiry down, it’s a national embarrassment that is already disgracing anyone associated with it. Things will only get worse from here.
Hearings uncertain in public inquiry into alleged foreign influence on Alberta’s oil industry, A public inquiry into allegations that foreign-funded actors are conspiring to besmirch the reputation of Alberta’s oil and gas has spent more than $900,000 in its first four months, government records show by Janet French, November 8, 2019, Calgary Herald
A public inquiry into allegations that foreign-funded actors are conspiring to besmirch the reputation of Alberta’s oil and gas industry has spent more than $900,000 in its first four months, government records show.
Alberta’s database of sole-sourced contracts shows since July 15, the government has paid law firm Dentons Canada $905,000 for work on the Public Inquiry into Funding of Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns.
Commissioner Steve Allan, a Calgary accountant tasked with overseeing the $2.5-million inquiry, said on Friday the yearlong exercise is still in its initial research phase. Money so far has been spent hiring lawyers and accountants to review documents — most of which are publicly available — and interview dozens of people.
The funds also pay his salary and that of a part-time executive director.
“We’re making good progress,” Allan said. “We’re learning a lot. We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people on every side of this issue.”
The commission has interviewed environmentalists, he said, along with Vivian Krause, an independent researcher who said she has uncovered evidence that foreign organizations are conspiring to land-lock Alberta’s oil and gas.
“We’re encouraged by where we’re going and hoping that we can do something that’s very constructive,” Allan said. [How could anyone not die of shame doing what Allan is doing for Kenney’s oil patch polluters?]
Lawyers and accountants
Allan is tasked with investigating whether foreign organizations that intend to harm Alberta’s oil and gas industry have provided money to any Canadian organizations publishing “misleading or false information” about the industry. He’s also supposed to identify if any of those Canadian organizations receive provincial or federal government funding or has charitable status.
The inquiry’s terms of reference say Allan should file a preliminary report and findings to the Alberta justice minister by Jan. 31, 2020, and a final report with recommendations by July 2, 2020. His budget is not to exceed $2.5 million.
Although Allan was to provide a copy of his proposed budget to government, the energy minister’s chief of staff did not provide that document when asked Friday afternoon. She did not answer a question about whether Allan has leeway to exceed his budget.
“Mr. Allan continues his work on the inquiry,” Andrea Smotra said in an email. “We await his findings with interest.”
Critics have said the inquiry raises the spectre of infringing on civil liberties by potentially compelling witnesses to testify at hearings, which leave them targets of harassment.
… But Allan said Friday he hasn’t yet decided if public hearings are necessary. The inquiry has “flexibility” in its approach, he said. Any such hearings would be after he submits an interim report in January, he said.
“This is not a public hearing in the form of a hearing to find fault in something,” he said. “It’s more of a public policy kind of hearing — an investigative kind of hearing.” [Aka, steal money from taxpayers to give to lawyers in exchange for Kenney favours?]
Refer also to:
The reason for Jason Kenney’s $30 Million Gift-to-Industry War Room – Vivian Krause – dropped as keynote speaker at Banff business communications conference
The Canadian oil and gas industry, jauntily waving the maple leaf, is loaded with over a hundred billion dollars in foreign ownership. It sells millions of barrels of oil to foreigners every day, and now wants a pipeline to increase the foreign markets it can sell to.
And all of this is cheered on daily in a foreign-controlled national newspaper chain.