Alberta inquiry into funding of foreign environmental groups alters course again by Lisa Johnson, Aug 07, 2020, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s publicly-funded inquiry into the alleged foreign financing of environmental groups has been tweaked again, suggesting it could target even more grassroots charities.
The Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns was launched in July 2019 with an initial price tag of $2.5 million to look into “anti-Alberta” energy campaigns that are financially supported by foreign organizations bent on hurting the Alberta oil and gas industry.
A Wednesday order-in-council recommended by Energy Minister Sonya Savage changed the definition of an “anti-Alberta energy campaign.”
The July terms of reference defined such a campaign as “any and all attempts to directly or indirectly delay or frustrate the timely, economic, efficient and responsible development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources and the transportation of those resources to commercial markets by the dissemination of misleading or false information.”
Now, the definition of an anti-Alberta energy campaign includes those attempts but adds the qualifier “by any means which may include the dissemination of misleading or false information.”
Devon Page, executive director of Ecojustice, said that minor wording change could allow the inquiry to look at any environmental charities that receive foreign funding but told the truth about the energy industry’s activity.
“I think that it means that they found it really challenging to find false and misleading information by Canadians about the scope and pace of oil and gas development,” he said.
Ecojustice filed an injunction two weeks ago with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to halt the inquiry’s report.
Wednesday’s changes mean the scope of organizations who can be investigated has become exponentially larger. Page said that suggests the inquiry will only produce a public relations piece that may not have anything to do with its original mandate.
“What defines a witch hunt is the pursuit of a scapegoat — not the pursuit of the truth,” Page said.
This is the second time the parameters of the inquiry have changed.
A June 25 order-in-council changed the terms of reference, adding the phrase “if any” to a key term of reference that now reads the “commissioner shall inquire into the role of foreign funding, if any, in anti-Alberta energy campaigns.”
Also in June, the inquiry got a boost of $1 million, and an extension to Oct 30, to hear from “funding entities that have been identified in the Inquiry’s research to date, and to accommodate challenges due to COVID-19,” according to a statement from the inquiry.
NDP Opposition energy critic Irfan Sabir said in a statement the inquiry is over budget, behind schedule and has revised the terms of reference with no clear explanation of what work is being accomplished for Albertans.
“At this point, we need a public inquiry into the public inquiry,” Sabir said.
“This inquiry could unearth the vast global conspiracy envisioned by the premier and still not put a single Albertan back to work in the energy sector or grow our economy, which we need right now. The government should be focused on supporting Alberta families, not wasting time and taxpayer dollars on a fishing expedition,” said Sabir.
When asked what necessitated the changes, Kavi Bal, Savage’s press secretary, said “these minor changes clarify the commissioner’s discretion to make findings on an issue of critical importance to the future of our province and country.”
The inquiry is not designated a “public body” under the Public Inquiry Act and is therefore not subject to freedom of information requests.
Refer also to:
Denton’s Law firm wanting more easy money? UCP Kenney’s Witch Hunt given another million dollars, making it look like just another AIMCo money laundering scheme. To pay Harper for his time puppeting Kenney? (Harper works at Denton’s and Witch Hunt boss Steve Allen’s son is partner there. Creepy.)
“Holy fracking hell, what a shit show.” RCMP might arrest you if you heed this – even on leases with unpaid rent on your own land. RCMP unjustly and grossly work for oil & gas companies, not Canadians harmed by those companies. NEB (now CER), AER, ASRB, Kenney’s War Room and Witch Hunt also serve the companies violating our contracts, our rights, our health, our loved ones and homes, our air, land and water, not us.
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?
Muttart Foundation letter to UCP’s Witch Hunt Chief Steve Allen says inquiry is “polarizing, undemocratic and unfounded.” Privacy and legal experts question Kenney War Room’s FOIP exemption, raise privacy concerns
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.
Another oil company punts workers, scurries away under AER’s armpits and our courts. Houston Oil & Gas, Calgary-based, put into receivership, leaves 1,300 wells, 41 facilities, 251 pipelines to be cleaned up by Santa Claus at cost of over $81.5M (Take the money from Kenny’s $30M War Room and Steve Allen’s $2.5M Witch Hunt, etc)
Frac-Harmed Pennsylvania gets “criminal investigations” into the regulatory fraud, corruption and cover-up (eg turning post-pollution water test data into “baseline”). Frac-Harmed Alberta gets oil patch led Witch Snitch & Kenney’s Kopy Kat War Room, both with boasted intent to harm those concerned with life-threatening pollution, even though AER, Alberta Environment, Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates) and Alberta politicians also engaged in fraud, corruption and cover-up.
CAPP/Kenney’s Snitch Submission Email for $2.5 Million “McCarthy style witch hunt” of courageous concerned citizens, to help polluting, job-decimating, billion $ profit-taking, largely foreign-owned multinationals. The Inquiry lies, says not linked to Kenney’s war room even though inquiry is reportedly paid for out of war room’s budget! Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allen is industry-biased of course: Was Director of Compton Petroleum, chaired Compton’s Audit Committee (company with a greedy sordid sour history)
There they are! At the Petroleum Club, strategizing with Alberta judges, CAPP and AER!