Commissioner Allan’s final report proves the inquiry was a pointless but dangerous political stunt, say targeted groups
EDMONTON, AB, TORONTO and VANCOUVER, BC — After over two years and at a cost of $3.5 million, the final report from the “Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns,” commissioned by the Alberta government, found environmental groups did nothing wrong, but simply care about climate change. The report found the word “anti-Albertan” in its own title to be neither constructive nor helpful. The organizations, individuals and foundations targeted by the Inquiry say the long, arduous and one-sided process was unconstitutional and should never be repeated in a democratic country like Canada.
“The Inquiry, War Room and legislation criminalizing protest are alarming abuses of the power of government in an attempt to intimidate and silence civil society organizations,” said Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, one of around 40 organizations targeted. “Although the report shows no evidence of wrongdoing by environmental groups, the Alberta government publicly refuses to accept the report’s findings.”
The Inquiry was an abuse of power. Groups targeted by the Inquiry were never interviewed and were denied basic procedural protections such as:
- Public hearings
- Publicly accessible transcripts of testimony sworn under oath so groups know who accused them and what they were accused of
- Timely disclosure of all the evidence and witnesses
- Inadequate time to respond to accusations in report.
“This ill-conceived inquiry has not only been a colossal waste of time – these petrostate tactics threaten democracy and hold Alberta back from the important work that’s needed to transition to a cleaner economy,” said Eugene Kung of West Coast Environmental Law. “Working toward legal solutions to protect the environment, upholding Indigenous rights and ensuring communities have a voice in environmental decisions is not ‘anti-Alberta.’ It’s about ensuring healthy communities and a livable future.”
The latest IPCC report (August 2021) found that the production of oil, coal and gas was the primary cause of the climate crisis. Just last week, the International Energy Agency released a global energy forecast that projected oil demand to fall in every scenario it considered and repeated its position that there is no more room in a climate-safe planet for new oil and gas supply. Quebec also announced this week that it would be stopping all fossil fuel expansion in the province. Despite these repeated warnings and developments, Premier Kenney invested $1.1 billion (US) in the now cancelled Keystone pipeline.
“The Alberta Inquiry is an embarrassment to Canada – a country that stands for free speech and democratic rights,” said Tzeporah Berman of Stand.Earth. “To release this report after our summer of wildfires and heat deaths, and just weeks before the global climate summit, shows how tone-deaf and stuck in the past Kenney’s government is. This whole inquiry has been a massive waste of taxpayer’s money and a dangerous gong show that diverted resources and attention from building solutions and plans to diversify and fight climate change.”
Federal agencies in Canada and the U.S. have not found any significant contraventions among the charities Kenney has targeted, despite over a dozen audits over the last few years. While Canadian environmental groups receive some international assistance, it is nowhere close to the inflated figure the inquiry claims and is dwarfed by the amount of international funds that flow into the oil and gas industry. The inquiry demonstrated its bias earlier this year, by paying $100,000 to consultants for a series of reports that deny climate change and promote conspiracy theories.
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Environmental Defence, Stand.earth, Wilderness Committee, West Coast Environmental Law, Dogwood, Équiterre, David Suzuki Foundation
For more information or media interview, please contact:
- Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, email@example.com, (416) 356-3587
- Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth, firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 313-4713
- Paul Champ, Human Rights Lawyer, (613) 816-2441
- Eugene Kung, West Coast Environmental Law, email@example.com, (604) 601-2514
- Anthony Côté Leduc, Équiterre, 514-605-2000, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation, email@example.com, 604-356-8829