Judge lifts publication ban; former UCP MLA Don MacIntyre named as accused in sexual assault case

Posted on February 09, 2018, 4:59 pm
4 mins

PHOTOS: The Legislative Assembly’s portrait of former United Conservative Party MLA Don MacIntyre. Below: UCP Leader Jason Kenney, who issued a statement today on the charges against Mr. MacIntyre.

OTTAWA

Thanks to the ruling of a judge in Red Deer, it can now be reported that former United Conservative Party MLA Don MacIntyre is the Alberta politician who has been charged with sexual interference and sexual assault.

This is the fact that was known by virtually every politically alert Albertan, but could not legally be reported in public.

For anyone who wasn’t paying attention, news coverage following today’s ruling by Justice Glenn Poelman solves the mystery of why the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake resigned unexpectedly from the UCP Caucus on Feb. 2 and his seat in the Alberta Legislature on Feb. 5.

The publication ban was put in place by a Justice of the Peace when Mr. MacIntyre appeared in court to face the charges in Red Deer on Feb. 1. Justice Poelman described it as an error in law that seriously infringed on “freedom of the press to report on proceedings of court.”

Mr. MacIntyre was elected in the 2015 Alberta general election as the candidate of the Wildrose Party, which merged with Jason Kenney’s Progressive Conservative Party to create the UCP in July last year. Mr. Kenney was elected UCP leader by members in October 2017.

Mr. Kenney, who is in Ottawa today for the Calgary-based Manning Centre’s annual strategy and networking conference, issued a written statement saying “I was shocked and disgusted to learn of the serious criminal charges against former MLA Don MacIntyre.”

In a reference to the interference charge, which relates to crimes of this nature against minors, Mr. Kenney said “there are few crimes more vile than sexual crimes against children, and those found guilty of it deserve the most severe legal consequences possible,” a statement that would seem to come close to urging a result in a judicial proceeding.

Notwithstanding Mr. Kenney’s justified concern, the question of what the UCP knew and when is a legitimate one that should be considered in the near future.

There has been talk in the halls of the Legislature of a police investigation involving an MLA since before the new year. During that time, Mr. MacIntyre was one of the three members of the UCP’s so-called “task force” on rural crime. He was the only one of the partisan committee’s three members to come from a truly rural constituency.

So the UCP should make it clear when party officials learned of the investigation, not just the charges. It is not clear if the UCP rural crime committee will continue its community visits.

Justice Poelman’s ruling yesterday illustrates, as was argued in this space last week, the need to update Canada’s publication-ban laws, which are intended to protect innocent victims of crime, to accommodate technological change in communications and deal with the realities of the Internet age.

10 Comments to: Judge lifts publication ban; former UCP MLA Don MacIntyre named as accused in sexual assault case

  1. Lars

    February 9th, 2018

    So that’s two significant scandals that the united right has weathered since this summer – the misadventures of Derek Fildebrandt and the (much more serious) allegations we read of here. I’m not counting Jason Kenney’s double-dipping.

    Remind me – how many scandals have the provincial NDP weathered since, ohh, the last election?

    Reply
  2. ema

    February 9th, 2018

    On Global Edmonton TV noon news today, Kenney referred to the minor involved as being a female. How does he know??? Isn’t the minor supposed to be protected by the publication ban? If he really does know, then he breached the ban, or if he was just blowing smoke as usual then he needs to be taken to task for another lie.

    Reply
  3. Brett

    February 9th, 2018

    I was surprised to learn that a Justice of the Peace can impose a publication ban on a criminal charge.

    It was only a matter of time before a judge overturned the ban.

    Reply
  4. David

    February 10th, 2018

    Now that wasn’t so bad was it? We now know the charges or at least can say so publically without whispering. The victim does not need to be identified, but we should not face a total news blackout about the accusations against a public figure

    We now know the reason for the MLA quiting was not just to spend more time with his family. Perhaps more can be revealed about what and when his party knew. Was the retirement voluntary or was he “retired” by someone else?These are all legitimate questions of public interest that do not involve the victims identity

    The judge made the right decision to correct the initial action. Now let’s hope there will be a bit more light here.

    Reply
  5. K. Larsen

    February 10th, 2018

    I’m not sure it is fair to characterize Innisfail-Sylvan Lake as a truly rural constituency. Roughly half its population resides in the two towns for which it is named with many working in the nearby city of Red Deer. A big chunk of the balance resides in the many clusters of rural subdivisions/hamlets and the not-so-small towns of Bowden and Penhold.

    There are a few farmers and ranchers left. However, in terms of numbers they are a tiny minority compared to the many rural acreage owners.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      February 10th, 2018

      Duly noted. Still more rural than Calgary and Airdrie, though, I bet you would agree. DJC

      Reply
  6. Simon Renouf

    February 11th, 2018

    Re what and when his party (possibly “parties”: WRP and UCP?) knew, I’ve always wondered how much Harper and Manning knew about the criminal activities of their caucus pal Jack Ramsay.

    Ramsay was a member of the Reform and Alliance caucuses for years after allegations of indecent assault (and other allegations) came to light in the 90’s concerning events that dated back to the 60’s, when Ramsay had been an RCMP officer in northern Saskatchewan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ramsay_(politician)

    Reply
  7. Dan Harper

    February 15th, 2018

    Just another day among the holier than thou right wing extremists in Canada.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      February 16th, 2018

      Note to Dan Harper: In answer to your deleted question … not here and not now. It’s been done, actually, by Ric Dolphin in his Insight Into Government newsletter. DJC

      Reply

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