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Environmental law group to challenge Alberta oil inquiry in court


CALGARY — An environmental law charity is to ask a judge today to shut down Alberta’s inquiry into the purported foreign funding of anti-oil campaigns.

Ecojustice argues in its written submissions that the inquiry was formed for an improper purpose, which the law charity says was to intimidate those concerned about the environmental effects of oil and gas development.

The group also contends there’s a reasonable apprehension of bias and that the inquiry is dealing with matters outside of Alberta’s jurisdiction — arguments the provincial government disputes in its submissions.

Lawyers for the provincial government say cabinet is entitled — and mandated — to decide what’s in the public interest and what issues warrant a public inquiry.

The inquiry was one plank of the so-called fight-back strategy the United Conservatives touted during the 2019 election campaign.

The deadline for the inquiry headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan has been delayed three times and its budget has been increased by $1 million to $3.5 million.

The hearing before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Karen Horner has been scheduled for two days. Its initial April 2020 court date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press



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