Ecojustice Case – Climate change Case Status: In Progress

Fighting for fairness: Challenging Jason Kenney’s biased inquiry into “anti-Alberta” activities

Barry RobinsonBarry RobinsonLawyer
Anna McIntoshAnna McIntoshLawyer
dan cheater, ecojustice lawyer based in vancouver, bcDaniel CheaterLawyer
Jason Kenney Doug Schweitzer public inquiry
By Government of Alberta, via Flickr

Ecojustice is challenging Premier Jason Kenney’s controversial public inquiry into “anti-Alberta” activities.

We say the inquiry is nothing more than a political exercise, aimed at silencing and targeting environmental organizations and distracting Canadians from the climate crisis on their doorstep. Instead of taking steps to protect Albertans from the climate crisis, the province has wasted $3.5 million on a partisan stunt that will serve no purpose in the long run.

But Ecojustice won’t be intimidated. In November 2019, our lawyers filed an application in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to challenge the inquiry on three grounds:

  • First, that the government brought the inquiry for improper, political purposes
  • Second, that the inquiry proceedings raise serious concerns around bias and unfairness
  • Third, that the inquiry sets out to deal with issues that don’t actually fall under provincial jurisdiction

For these reasons, Ecojustice says the Alberta public inquiry is unlawful and should be struck down.

Why is Ecojustice involved?

Ecojustice is committed to holding governments to account, standing up for principles of fairness, combatting climate change and supporting our allies in the province.

Unfortunately, Kenney’s public inquiry aims to sow division, intimidate organizations and individuals who challenge the pace and scope of oil and gas development, and distract Canadians from the climate crisis.

Why? Because fanning the flames of a conspiracy theory about U.S. funding and placing blame on others is easier and more politically advantageous than accepting the science and facing the climate crisis head on.

Kenney’s inquiry has never been about fact finding. If the premier really wanted a legitimate investigation, he’d ensure the process is fair and unbiased — and he wouldn’t just target environmental organizations. He’d examine foreign funding both against and for Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Ecojustice is challenging the inquiry because we say it cannot legally go ahead — and because, in the middle of a climate crisis, we cannot afford to let politicians like Jason Kenney play politics with our future.

What would a win mean?

If we win Ecojustice Canada Society v. Alberta, 2020 ABQB 364, the court will overturn the order-in-council which enabled the inquiry in the first place – rendering the entire process null.

Where does Ecojustice’s funding come from?

Ecojustice is proud to be 100 per cent funded by individuals and organizations who share our vision of a thriving environment, safe climate, and healthy communities protected by effective, well-enforced laws.

We have nothing to hide. That’s why we decided to take an in-depth look at our funding in this blog.

Read “The facts on Ecojustice funding” here.

Learn more: On Feb. 4, 2021, Ecojustice hosted a webinar titled “Fighting for fairness Challenging Premier Kenney’s inquiry into ‘Anti-Alberta’ activities,” here. Watch the conversation here.

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