Alberta Politics
Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan – will the sun ever set on this gong show? (Photo: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta).

After another week of political disasters, UCP prepares to release Allan Report on ‘anti-Alberta’ environmental campaigns

Posted on October 21, 2021, 1:54 am
7 mins

Has the leadership of the United Conservative Party grown so disconnected from reality it imagines the release of the report of the so-called “public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns” will somehow win back the hearts of Alberta’s disillusioned public?

Or is it just having such a terrible week it’s decided throwing one more bad story into the mix won’t make much difference anyway?

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage (Photo: Government of Alberta).

Hard to say. 

Copies of the oft-delayed report of the $3.5-million inquiry will be handed out to reporters this morning. Energy Minister Sonya Savage will release the whole mess – and it will be a mess – to the rest of us at 11 a.m.

Immediately after that, the stuff will hit the fan, where it will get mixed up with all the other bad stuff that’s already gone through the spinning blades this week. 

As University of Calgary law professor Martin Z. Olszynski, a frequent and well-informed critic of Commissioner Steve Allan’s lengthy gong show, tweeted yesterday, “it’s been a wild 2 yr ride: cronyism, secrecy, climate denialism, delays, more cronyism, more delays, etc…”

By the sound of the notice sent to journalists yesterday, Premier Jason Kenney won’t put in an appearance at Ms. Savage’s news conference. Given the questions reporters would likely ask him, it’s hard to blame him. It wasn’t clear from the announcement if Mr. Allan will make it. 

On Monday, after campaigning hard for conservative city council candidates in Edmonton and Calgary, the Kenney Government had to face the judgment of voters in both Alberta cities that they not only wanted progressive mayors, they wanted more progressive councils too. 

The election results are widely – and rightly – being interpreted as a repudiation of Mr. Kenney’s approach to provincial politics. 

Calgary City Councillor Sean Chu (Photo: Facebook/Kevin Dick).

Then there was the election-day meltdown at Elections Alberta, when someone at the Legislature’s supposedly unbiased and non-partisan election oversight office got the keys to its Twitter account and began sending out nasty tweets that smacked of the literary efforts of Mr. Kenney’s legion of “issues managers,” the technical term for paid social media trolls. 

The story has legs. It goes to whether Elections Alberta can be trusted to do its job. Elections Alberta says it will investigate itself, and likely keep its conclusions to itself. But it promises to do better. 

Then there was the ugly story of Ward 4 City Councillor Sean Chu, one of the most pro-UCP members of Calgary City Council.

He was named in a news story a few days before the election as the former Calgary cop who was tapped on the wrist by the Calgary Police Service in 1997 for discreditable conduct that was described as “inappropriate touching” of a 16-year-old girl. Mr. Chu was 34 at the time. 

Calgary Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek (Photo: Bittabola, Creative Commons).

The CBC got wind of the story when it learned of an application by the victim last week in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. The evidence and transcripts were sealed by the judge. 

But it sure sounds as if the CPS has spent the past 24 years trying to block the efforts of the victim to pursue the matter, which involved a firearm. The victim said she was sexually assaulted at Mr. Chu’s home. Mr. Chu admitted to “foreplay.” No criminal charges were ever laid. 

Could this get worse? It soon did. 

On election day, Mr. Chu won, barely – scraping past his nearest competitor by 54 votes. 

The CBC reported yesterday that in 2008 when he was running for the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary, he was involved in a fight with his wife that saw police called to his home. There they seized a firearm. 

When Calgary Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek said Mr. Chu needs to go, now, she was joined by a chorus of city councillors, departing and arriving, and members of the public. 

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

But Premier Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said they needed more facts, and claimed the province doesn’t have the legal authority to intervene. “We still need to do our due diligence and find out what the facts are,” Mr. McIver said.

Last Sunday on social media, Mr. McIver’s wife had been telling Mr. Chu to “keep up the great work.” She later withdrew her support. 

Outgoing Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi weighed in yesterday: “It’s simple. He must step down. If he does not, then the provincial government must act using powers under the Municipal Government Act to remove him.” After all, Mr. Nenshi noted, “they’ve spent years threatening school boards with dismissal. Can’t have cold feet now.”

If Mr. Chu is sworn in next week, more stuff will be coming through the fan, and rightly so, a lot of it right at Mr. Kenney and Mr. McIver. 

You can almost see how the UCP brain trust might have concluded that whatever Mr. Allan has to say – and there are plenty of hints it’ll be pretty lame – will end the week on a better note than what’s happened up to now.

24 Comments to: After another week of political disasters, UCP prepares to release Allan Report on ‘anti-Alberta’ environmental campaigns

  1. Anonymous

    October 21st, 2021

    The gong show continues with these pretend conservatives and Reformers who are in the UCP. We can’t expect them to do what is right. Peter Lougheed knew that. The Steve Allan inquiry is nothing more than a bunch of hot air. He gets $290,000 per year to constantly procrastinate on a report that has had a foregone conclusion to begin with. That money could have been used to help the needy and the seniors, as well as the healthcare workers and education system, in Alberta. So could the $7.5 billion the UCP lost on a pipeline that winded up being a dead end. These pretend conservatives and Reformers do the most priciest shenanigans, and then come up with all kinds of excuses as to why Alberta is in a fiscal bind. When the pretend conservative, Ralph Klein messed with Peter Lougheed’s oil royalty rate regime, it lost Alberta $575 billion. Top that off with Ralph Klein being lax on oil companies to clean up after themselves, and Albertans have to come up with $260 billion to handle this. This money could help out Alberta alot. Unfortunately, we don’t have it now, and we can’t get it back. The head honcho of the UCP then feeds Albertans the common lie that pretend conservatives and Reformers give, that Alberta gave the money to Ottawa, or to Quebec, and that equalization is why Alberta is fiscally challenged. Albertans are suckers and fall for it. Sean Chu should not be on Calgary’s city council. Voters seem to have short memories and voted him back in. It’s the exact same thing with these pretend conservatives and Reformers in Alberta. It’s pretty hard for Albertans to learn their lesson. This is shameful.

    Reply
    • Alan K Spiller

      October 21st, 2021

      ANONYMOUS. Of course Erin O’Toole the fool , as my friends call him, isn’t any smarter. He can’t find anything else to attack Trudeau with so he is trying to blame the cost of living onto him. Too damn dumb to understand what COVID has done to us.

      While his buddy Jason Kenney continues to give away billions in corporate taxes and oil royalties to his rich friends he isn’t smart enough to understand what this loss of revenues could have done to help all Canadians survive the financial mess we are in.

      Just too damn dumb to realize that Norway and Alaska continue to build their huge savings accounts for their children’s future, and all Alaskans continue to enjoy their annual oil dividend cheques while he whines about the cost of living in Canada and tries to blame it on Trudeau.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        October 22nd, 2021

        ALAN K SPILLER You certainly have it right.

        Reply
  2. Dave

    October 21st, 2021

    Well, I suppose they had to deal with Mr. Allan’s mess eventually and could not keep putting it off in hopes of a better time sometime later. At this point there seems to be no better times for the UCP. Perhaps the only other option is to take the report to a cemetary with a shovel in the middle of night and try bury it forever.

    Lately, Mr. Kenney does seem even more down and out than ever. Yes, the municipal election results are not good news for him, but that is not a complete surprise. However, this Chu situation is an unexpected curve boomeranging badly against the UCP. McIver who was supposed one of the few steadier hands in the UCP, was even more off message here than Kenney and apparently it was a family thing too.

    So, I suppose they might as well rip the bandage off that festering inquiry. Now is as bad a time as any. Welcome to Kenneyland where every day is another new new political disaster.

    Reply
  3. Scotty on Denman

    October 21st, 2021

    Misters Kenney and McIver are gonna be hard to tell apart when the next load of chips hits the chipper.

    Whatever commissioner Allen’s report says, you know things is gettin’ bad when even the distractions are disasters.

    Hey, commissioner Allen! Step right up and join the twins!

    Reply
  4. tom

    October 21st, 2021

    Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you glance skywards and realize you’re looking up at last week’s rock bottom.

    Reply
  5. Phlogiston

    October 21st, 2021

    Compared the amount of money that Kenney threw on his own dumpster fire for the Keystone XL pipeline, another 3.5 million might seem like a trifling amount. That said, it is still a lot of money to be consumed by the conflagration caused by his bad policy decisions and is an utter waste.

    Doesn’t the fossil fuel industry already invest heavily in climate-denying and green-washing propaganda and have done so for years? Why is the Kenney government forking out for a propaganda effort that fossil fuel industry is already doing and with a level of expertise and sophistication that inept Kenney government cannot hope to match? I thought the UCP was about libertarian, free-enterprise principals, and so on. You would think that subsidizing industry with government handouts and free propaganda would be anathema. Guess not. Kenney wasted our money on pipeline to nowhere. Likewise, he wastes the taxpayer’s money again on a useless propaganda effort that has no credibility and will end up going nowhere, best forgotten as soon as possible on the ash heap of the remains of this dumpster fire of a government.

    Reply
    • Mike J Danysh

      October 21st, 2021

      The fossil-fuel industry has indeed spent hundreds of millions of dollars for decades now, first denying, then downplaying, and lately soft-pedalling the severity of the crisis. The saddest part is that Alberta governments have consistently spent public dollars to help them. I don’t recall if Ralph Klein’s government did, though Ed Stelmach’s government paid for a PR campaign in the US and maybe EU. Even Rachel Notley paid good tax dollars to push the TMX pipeline in TV commercials. Kenney has been wasting tax dollars with all the zeal of a religious-revivalist convert, and no success whatsoever.

      Want to know why, and how bad it is? Read “Oil’s Deep State” by Kevin Taft. It’s sobering reading. It also explains why Notley changed overnight from oil-industry critic to Big Oil’s biggest booster.

      Reply
      • Phlogiston

        October 21st, 2021

        Thanks for the book recommendation. I read Taft’s earlier book, Shredding the Public Interest. That was an insightful book and a good read.

        Reply
  6. Abs

    October 21st, 2021

    A protest calling for Sean Chu’s resignation will take place at Calgary city hall at noon on Sunday. If Sean Chu won’t resign, and if his friend Ric McIver won’t remove him, pundits have pointed out that he’s likely to end up in no man’s land, frozen out like his colleague Joe Magliocca, currently charged with fraud. Don’t expect the citizen activists to stop calling for his figurative head on a stick, either.

    Adriana LaGrange is really the woman who should excise Chu from Calgary city council if no one else will. After all, she has that “big hammer” that she has threatened to use like Thor in the past against our public school board. Previous provincial education ministers have fired school boards, so a precedent for firing elected officials has been set, for activities far less egregious than sexual assault of a minor by a person in authority.

    In the meantime, citizens are calling for the removal of Christine McIver from her post on the board of a children’s charity, for her role in publicly cheering on Chu. Some rightly point out that cheering on a man who has sexually assaulted a child is not a good look for a children’s charity. Will the wives of UCP cabinet members never learn?

    Some are also calling for an inquiry into the Calgary Police Service and its handling of the Sean Chu incident, promoting the police chief to make a statement that the rules around handling an offence by a police officer have changed since 1997. I doubt that this explanation will be the end of it.

    It’s best for our premier to distance himself from this one. Remembering how he blamed his friend’s death by suicide on the economy, and then a very interesting back story came out about that. Strangely, the internet has been scrubbed of many of the details.

    Reply
    • GregH

      October 21st, 2021

      Meanwhile, Ward 4 goes another term without a competent city councillor…

      Reply
      • Abs

        October 21st, 2021

        Jyoti Gondek says she won’t swear him in, so there you go.

        Reply
  7. ronmac

    October 21st, 2021

    Finally…!

    Reply
  8. Mike J Danysh

    October 21st, 2021

    I suppose we can say the Allan report is old news. After 2 years of negative headlines and embarrassing gaffes, the report itself can’t create many more waves. It’d be better by now to aim some of the outrage at CAPP, the propaganda arm of the oil and gas industry, for pushing this BS alongside the go-slow messages on climate change.

    I’d be surprised if Mr. Allan showed up at the press conference. After all this, his best choice is to say, “It’s all in the report. No further comment” and hope to live it down.

    Reply
  9. Just Me

    October 21st, 2021

    The release of this report will be spun to such spectacular heights of crazy, it make heads explode.

    There’s no doubt Premier Crying & Screaming Midget will declare that this report provides irrefutable, conclusive, and the absolute truth that Alberta is surrounded by enemies. We must circle our wagons (and shoot each other) because that’s what CONs do.

    There’s no doubt that Kenney will use this report to justify the War Room’s antics and all of Matt Wolf’s online crazy trolling to double down against everything.

    Ottawa wants to introduce a unified QR travel passport, but it will be assured that Kenney will refuse participation, because Alberta’s passport is better. Oh, and outside of Alberta, there be dragons.

    Reply
  10. Hana Razga

    October 21st, 2021

    Headline in today’s (or yesterday’s) Globe and Mail:

    “Canada’s banks join Mark Carney, signalling a shift from the West’s fossil fuel dependency and delighting OPEC…..”

    If you can get behind the paywall…..

    Reply
  11. Pogo

    October 21st, 2021

    So, I go out and my tribe the best summer ever! Do they love me? Well they sure will after they read this pile of steaming horse shit! Cheap at twice the price when it’s other people’s money!

    Reply
  12. e.a.f.

    October 21st, 2021

    they spent all that money on an “investigation” because they thought there was an anti Alberta campaign?????
    gee what ever happened to free speech?
    The enviornment isn’t just in Alberta. What Alberta does impact the rest of the country, hemisphere, world. Kenny ought not to take things so personally or perhaps they really are doing something wrong and they’re afraid these “anti Alberta” campaigns are simply telling the truth. Of course it might have been a way to distract the citizens of Alberta from the real issues facing them, i.e. COVID, lack of medical staff, etc.

    As the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen In my opinion, Jason is a tad fragile for politics.

    Reply
  13. October 21st, 2021

    Mass addiction to fossil fuel products by the larger public undoubtedly helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. Meanwhile, neoliberals and conservatives remain preoccupied with vocally criticizing one another for their relatively trivial politics and diverting attention away from some of the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused.

    Industry and fossil-fuel friendly governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the virus-variant devastation still being left in COVID-19’s wake — all while on insufficient income — to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable. Such big polluters likely will not be made to account for their environmental damage while they’re already paying out (kickbacks?) to big politicians’ election budgets, etcetera. And who knows what else?

    Reply
  14. Keith McClary

    October 21st, 2021

    You can download the report (and other docs) from :
    https://open.alberta.ca/publications/public-inquiry-into-anti-alberta-energy-campaigns-report

    Funny, he has recommendations for Transparency and Accountability (p.599). I guess this does not apply to himself, the War Room, the Canadian Taxpayers Foundation or CAPP.

    Also (p. 598):
    “Recommendation: Invest in and support the collaborative development of a
    methodology, including governance oversight, to establish world-class best
    practices, standards, and processes for the measurement, accumulation and
    reporting of GHG emissions data.
    Rationale: Different countries, and even different resource developers within
    each country, have varying standards and processes for measuring and reporting
    on GHG emissions, yet accurate and meaningful GHG reporting is critical to
    tackling climate change. Alberta has the opportunity to be a world leader in
    developing GHG measurement standards and processes.”
    The War Room gets its GHG emissions data from a proprietary, unpublished BoM report.

    Reply
  15. Just Me

    October 22nd, 2021

    At today’s presser for the utter non-event that was Steve Allan’s $3.5 M boondoggle, Sonya Savage, who was stuck in the room to represent the government in this train wreck (Likely because Kenney was plowing through his mountain of cough syrup) took a question from the NY Times concerning the bizarre reasoning for the UCP government putting together this massively expensive report to chase, apparently, non-existent enemies. The reporter from the Times, apparently very well versed in the latest idiocy from the UCP, and the crushing blow of losing an abundance of allies in the municipal elections, asked Savage what was the government thinking when they actually thought this whole report was going to yield any favourable results to serve the UCP’s agenda. Savage babbled some kind of a answer that was pure gaslighting, before the Time reporter pressed on for an answer. The clearly flustered Savage, confused that someone from the Times would actually be paying attention to the goings-on in Alberta, struck back with more nonsense before calling from an easier question from Postmedia.

    Hilarity in Alberta flows in abundance.

    Reply
  16. Former Albertan

    October 22nd, 2021

    Ah, Mr Steve Allan has produced a report, er novella, and now it’s released on take out the trash Thursday where it can be used for toilet paper if U C P of any sort.

    In any event, at least for a couple of million it’s biodegradable and even commissioner Allan appears to know that it is a very model of puffery and nonsense . When it comes down to it, perhaps, the only use for this load of horse pucks otherwise,might be garden compost. Although I’d worry it would kill the plants.

    Is it any wonder Premier fumble n’ bumble tm was nowhere to be found today.

    Reply
    • Just Me

      October 22nd, 2021

      That mountain of cough syrup isn’t going to drink itself.

      Reply

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