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Politically motivated: Lawsuit seeks to quash 'anti-Alberta' inquiry

Last Updated Nov 21, 2019 at 10:15 am MST

Lawyer Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada Executive Director, pauses during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday September 26, 2012. An environmental law firm is asking the courts to quash Alberta's inquiry into the role of foreign money funding the activities of charities opposing the oilsands. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

EDMONTON — An environmental law firm is asking a court to strike down Alberta’s inquiry into the role of foreign money financing the activities of charities opposing the oilsands.

In its application, Ecojustice claims the province’s inquiry into what it calls anti-Alberta activities is politically motivated, prejudges its conclusions and is outside provincial jurisdiction.

The documents also allege the inquiry’s commissioner, Steve Allan, was a donor to the leadership campaign of Alberta’s justice minister, who appointed him to the job.

Ecojustice lawyer Devon Page says the inquiry is an example of a government trying to use a judicial process to stifle opinions it doesn’t like.

The application asks Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench to quash the government order that created the inquiry.

Allan has been interviewing witnesses as part of the $2-million probe.

Last week, a prominent Edmonton community charity expressed similar reservations about the inquiry.

It has also been criticized for awarded a million-dollar contract to a Calgary law firm in which Allan’s son is a partner.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2019.

The Canadian Press