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Judge dismisses attempt to cancel 'anti-Alberta' activities inquiry

Last Updated May 14, 2021 at 6:59 pm MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) — “Regarding the court case, we always knew it was an uphill battle.”

An environmental legal group has failed in its efforts to quash the province’s inquiry into whether foreign interests are bankrolling environmental opposition to Canadian fossil-fuel energy projects.

Madame Justice Karen Horner delivering her ruling Friday in Calgary, saying Ecojustice failed to demonstrate any of its arguments for stopping the inquiry.

The group argued at a hearing back in February the inquiry should not move forward based on three factors: bias, improper purpose – meaning it was politically motivated — and that this issue did not fall under provincial jurisdiction.

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Horner summarized that Ecojustice failed to prove any of these points – and her full written decision will come in the weeks ahead.

The executive director of Ecojustice says winning would have been a bonus, but they still accomplished their main objective, pushing back at Jason Kenney

“Who was using his platform and manipulating a judicial process to silence and intimidate people,” said Devon Page.

A statement from Energy Minister Sonya Savage says they are pleased with the decision, and because the decision can still be appealed they won’t be commenting further.

The Alberta government launched the inquiry in July 2019.

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Premier Jason Kenney has said repeatedly that environmental groups are receiving millions of foreign dollars and are working to kill the energy sector. None of these allegations have been proven in court.

Legal scholars and non-profit groups say that this inquiry is an attempt to silence critics.

So far, the inquiry has cost $3.5 million.

The report on the inquiry is due May 31. Ecojustice says it’s waiting to see it’s contents before deciding its next steps.

 – With files from the Canadian Press