“Starving polar bear eating an oil executive”
Art by Stephanie McMillan.
UCP’s ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry may be little help to energy industry by Rob Breakenridge, Aug 18, 2020, Calgary Herald
Albertans might be forgiven for altogether forgetting about the public inquiry into “anti-Alberta energy campaigns.”
It’s been more than a year since Premier Jason Kenney announced the inquiry and it’s been more than a month since the original deadline passed for independent commissioner Steve Allan to submit his final report. And yet, it’s been eerily quiet on this front.
A closer look, however, suggests that this whole process is becoming the farce that many critics feared was inevitable from the moment it was announced.
First of all, it seems strange to continue to refer to this as a public inquiry, since it seems to be unfolding completely out of the public’s view.This isn’t new, either — Allan submitted an interim report in late January that the government refused to release. Furthermore, there was very little explanation given as to why the inquiry was given a four-month extension, plus an additional $1 million (on top of the $2.5 million originally budgeted). That decision was made by order-in-council in late June.
Albertans certainly deserve to know how their money is being spent. On top of that, though, we should also expect transparency and due process when it comes to any sort of public inquiry, especially one centred on a premise that some wrongdoing and chicanery have occurred.
The problem with such a starting point is the inherent expectation that the inquiry delivers detailed findings on said wrongdoing and chicanery. The nightmare scenario for this inquiry — and by extension, the government — is that it fails to find what we’ve already been assured is there. If UCP’s witch hunters find nothing (which they won’t, if they’re honest), they’ll just get Encana, AER or its outside counsel Glenn Solomon to make some shit up like Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella did in her ruling in Ernst vs AER.
Some other revelations that have recently emerged about that order-in-council suggest that this inquiry might indeed be careening toward that nightmare scenario. If so, that would be a public relations disaster for not only this government but — by extension — for the oil and gas industry itself.
The whole point of this “fight back” strategy (which includes this inquiry as well as the so-called “war room,” a.k.a. the Canadian Energy Centre) was to lift the fortunes of the industry, but unfortunately, we can no longer rule out the possibility of an opposite outcome.
Not only was the inquiry given additional time and resources, but its mandate has also been altered. These are subtle but significant changes that went unnoticed until this month.
For example, the original focus on “anti-Alberta energy campaigns that are supported, in whole or in part, by foreign organizations,” now speaks of a focus on “the role of foreign funding, if any.”
The original definition of the “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” was also clearly focused on “the dissemination of misleading or false information.” Now, however, that definition comes with a qualifier: “by any means which may include the dissemination of misleading or false information.”
If this inquiry now has in its sights groups that a) never received foreign funding and b) have not said anything false or misleading, then that’s a major departure from the original point of this whole exercise.
It was always hard to see what the government expected would be the result of this whole process. The idea that we were somehow going to vanquish environmental groups and their concerns about — and opposition to — the oilsands and pipelines was always a far-fetched fantasy. The risk of further motivating and mobilizing those groups is much more real, especially now.
The government’s impulse to stand up for the industry is certainly understandable, but that doesn’t automatically mean that any strategy aimed at doing so is going to be effective. If the inquiry and the “war room” lack credibility, that does the industry no favours. If the government is seen as indifferent to legitimate environmental concerns, that also does the industry no favours.
We’re likely well past the point of no return on this public inquiry. Unfortunately, there’s good reason to fear it’s been a waste of time and money. Or, intentionally set up for UCP to sneakily launder money from taxpayer pockets into Dentons Law Firm’s, Steve Allen’s son’s (partner at Dentons) and Steve Harper’s (works at Dentons)?
Headline of the same article in the Edmonton Journal: If anti-Alberta energy inquiry comes up empty, that’s a bad look for government and industry
On of the comments:
It’s not likely that Kenney will find anything substantial against the environmentalists. If he was serious about uncovering harm to Alberta he would set his sights on CAPP and the rest of the oil cabal.
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)
Where are the witches KKKenny can’t find?
There they are! At the Petroleum Club, sipping and strategizing with Alberta judges, CAPP and AER!