Alberta Politics
Alberta inquiry commissioner Steve Allan (Photo: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta).

Public inquiry, conducted in secret, gets another extension to find elusive foreign funders of ‘anti-Alberta’ campaigns

Posted on October 29, 2020, 1:44 am
7 mins

Apparently commissioner Steve Allan still isn’t having any luck finding those sinister foreign funders of “anti-energy” campaigns.

But don’t worry, the government of Alberta has given the head of its “inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns” yet another extension to keep looking for the elusive foreigners featured in Premier Jason Kenney’s successful pre-election conspiracy theory.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

As a campaign tool for the United Conservative Party, accusing the NDP of running a government that was soft on soft on pipeline opponents, the conspiracy theory was little short of brilliant.

As a post-election public inquiry conducted in secret that’s spiralling into fiasco, maybe not so much.

It’s starting to look like the whole thing was a con, not to mention a misuse of the Public Inquiries Act.

So you’d think this would be starting to embarrass Mr. Kenney and company, suggesting as it does that there’s actually nothing there to find.

But apparently not. Foreign funded agitators: that’s the UCP’s story and they’re stickin’ to it.

“Our government has been unwavering in our commitment to stand up for our energy sector, including launching a public inquiry into the existence of a foreign-funded anti-Alberta energy campaign,” Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in a statement published yesterday on the government’s web site.

“In order to make sure the final report will provide government with the information required to address this important issue, cabinet has agreed to the commissioner’s request for a 90-day extension,” she said.

The inquiry was announced by Mr. Kenney and Ms. Savage in July 2019. It had a $2.5-million budget. The effort was supposed to be completed by July 2020. As the deadline closed in, Commissioner Allan sought and got a four-month extension and an extra $1 million to keep looking.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro (Photo: Government of Alberta/Flickr).

Last month, he asked for even more time. Now he’s got it — although this time they’re going to get tough on him. There won’t be another extra million anyway.

This effort has clearly left Mr. Allan in a pickle. He’s obviously out of his depth when it comes to major league prevarication. He admitted the other day he won’t even be trying to prove any of the campaigns he’s supposed to be looking at spread any false information. So, we’re going to go after them for spreading true information?

It also raises the question of what he’s been doing with his time and our money since Mr. Kenney and Ms. Savage announced the inquiry.

If you were wondering why the government of Alberta couldn’t find a judge, retired or otherwise, to run its inquiry, this starts to suggest a reason. Anyone trained in the law would have known better than get involved in a baseless fishing expedition like the anti-environmentalist Allan Inquiry.

That’s the basis of the court action by Ecojustice Canada Society, the respected Vancouver-based environmental litigation charity, which argues the inquiry is nothing more than a political stunt to silence opponents of fossil fuel extraction projects and distract from the climate crisis.

Ms. Savage said the extension would “ensure that potential participants have a fair opportunity to provide input.” Ecojustice argues the inquiry is designed to do the opposite.

Who knows? Maybe the government’s waiting for the courts to rule in favour of Ecojustice to make the embarrassment go away!

In her statement, Ms. Savage said Mr. Allan’s final report must be submitted to her office by Jan. 31, 2021.

Jason Nixon’s ‘Trudeau tracing app’ crack likely explains COVID Alert delay

Now that doctors as well as mere bloggers are yelling at the Alberta government to agree to use Ottawa’s COVID-19 smartphone app, Alberta’s health minister has tried to explain the province’s delay adopting the COVID Alert infection tracing tool.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon, back in his Wildrose Party days (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

It’s the 247,000 people the province says have signed up to use Alberta’s ABTraceTogether app, Tyler Shandro said yesterday.

“The issue right now is to be able to talk to the federal government about how those 247,000 people can be transitioned to the federal government’s app,” Mr. Shandro told reporters in the Legislature. “I want to make sure there’s a transition that’s smooth and has the smallest bleed of users.”

Huh? This makes little sense. It takes seconds to download a new smartphone app.

In addition to costing far too much, Alberta’s ABTraceTogether app never worked properly and has been adopted by relatively few users. The federal app works and can be accessed in eight of 10 provinces and all territories.

Ottawa officials, diplomatically, haven’t said why they think Alberta is dragging its feet. But the evidence suggests it’s pure politics.

While Mr. Shandro expressed the party line, Government House Leader Jason Nixon probably came closer to the truth when he mocked COVID Alert as “the Trudeau tracing app” in the Legislature Tuesday.

Sure sounds like this is about scoring points on the Liberals, not saving lives in Alberta.

Ottawa should unilaterally introduce the app in Alberta and let the UCP complain.

15 Comments to: Public inquiry, conducted in secret, gets another extension to find elusive foreign funders of ‘anti-Alberta’ campaigns

  1. Dave

    October 29th, 2020

    Information on what this inquiry is up to is about as elusive as those rascally foreign funded enemies of the state supposedly running around all over here. Knowing a bit about politics, I am sure if it had anything solid, the government would leak something. The lack of information I think is a good sign of the lack of progress (by UCP standards) and that is confirmed by extension after extension.

    I sort of imagine Mr. Allan to be a modern day version of Elmer Fudd, shooting here and there, but hitting nothing so far. Perhaps his legal training was not quite what was needed to run a public inquiry, but as you say likely no retired judge (respectable or otherwise?) seemed interested in touching this with a 10 foot pole, so perhaps Mr. Allan was all they could find.

    I wonder how the UCP will get themselves out of this pickle that would probably already be as embarassing as the war room debacle were it not for the total cone of silence they imposed on it. A secretive public inquiry seems a bit contradictory, doesn’t it? Will there be yet another extension? Will the UCP somehow try throw Mr. Allan under the bus? As they like to say – stat tuned folks!

    Just when the UCP needed to prove they could do something right, comes yet another debacle – their contact tracing app doesn’t work well and they even seem to be having trouble with Plan B – transitioning it to the Federal one. It must be especially embarassing to have their own app outdone by one put out by the Federal Liberals. Oh well I suppose there’s always that previously hyped Telus Babalon health thingy. I wonder how well that’s going? I suppose again the answer is don’t ask.

    If this keeps up, they might have to change their name to the ICP, as they now seem as Incompetent as United, maybe even more so these days. Yes they have had a lot of problems thrown at them, but they seem to have a special knack for making most of them worse.

    Reply
  2. Abs

    October 29th, 2020

    There were no smartphones and apps in the 1950s. There you have it. The UCP can’t be expected to comprehend such things. It might lead to other radical concepts that will taint their master plan.

    Reply
  3. Ron

    October 29th, 2020

    “yet another extension to keep looking for the elusive foreigners”

    Perhaps they can also find W’s missing WMD?

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      November 1st, 2020

      Lol.

      Reply
  4. Jimmy

    October 29th, 2020

    Mr. Allen has twice failed to hand in his assignment on time. To some this may beg questions regarding competence, but to others suggests he is in need of deadline extensions. Do we know if his reported $291K annual salary will be extended also to accommodate revised reporting dates. Go get ’em Steve.

    Reply
  5. lungtal

    October 29th, 2020

    so call me crazy but
    isn’t the capitalist free trade way
    mostly about out maneuvering and out selling and handicapping the competition?
    and doesn’t that include any propaganda that you can get people to swallow?
    and if it isn’t doesn’t that make a monopoly?
    this is conman kenneys’ thin skinned conspiracy conservative political excuse
    to justify the failure of their particular philosophy
    to sell an abandoned asset
    and maintain the evangelical persecution anger that got him elected
    nothing more
    but we all knew that
    so thanks for letting me vent

    Reply
  6. Bob Nichol

    October 29th, 2020

    One can assume that the Allan Inquiry is busy digging through the sofa cushions for evidence of foreign-funded environmental agitation, or am I repeating myself here?

    Reply
  7. John T

    October 29th, 2020

    I learned today that prevarication=bullshit.

    Thanks! and on point.

    Reply
  8. David

    October 29th, 2020

    Well! Never give up easily.

    Stick to your guns even when out of ammunition, no one will notice as long as you keep firing. Then hope no one notices you have been shooting a dead horse all along.

    Finally, give it up before your loyal UCPers catch on.

    Oil is not going to boom again, it’s bust,bust and more bust.

    Reply
  9. Just Me

    October 29th, 2020

    I guess these foreign-funded enemies of Alberta are harder to find than first thought.

    No matter.

    Distractions are the stock & trade and bread & butter of the UCP. Otherwise, the Angry Midget will have to explain himself, so others can bear witness to the depths of crazy his ideological zealotry.

    Forcing himself into a life of chastity and devotion has made it clear to everyone how nutty he really is.

    Reply
  10. John Clark

    October 29th, 2020

    The organization was set up by Kenny after he was found trying to do away with the Trans Mountain expansion. He arranged for a blockade on a rail crossing that was not in use. Middle of the night, people in hoodies looking dangerous. When I pointed the out of use factor, Kenny started this outfit trying to create problems where there are none, except, him.

    Reply
  11. Just Me

    October 29th, 2020

    As for the Covid 19 tracing app, and denouncing the federal option as “Trudeau’s tracing app”, it looks like the UCP are paving the way to calling the pandemic off.

    Of course, the Angry Midget will declare victory (as he always does) and declare the pandemic dealt with and crushed. None of this will be possible until testing completely stops and every single preventative measure is denounced as unnecessary and ineffective.

    Let the party begin because who wants to live forever? Besides, Kenney will just hand off the blame for any failure in Alberta’s response onto Ottawa for not building more pipelines.

    Reply
  12. Jim

    October 30th, 2020

    Quite the return for a $1,000 donation, if we could all be so lucky to get that kind of payoff hey?

    Reply
  13. Mike in Edmonton

    October 31st, 2020

    Well, with the war room temporarily shut down by Covid-19 (except for silly one-liners on CBC’s web site and the occasional troll here) there was about $27 million not being wasted. The Kenney Klowns had to find somewhere to spend it, otherwise it’d be wasted on social services or some such frippery.

    Reply

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