Judge tosses application to pause Alberta inquiry into funding of oil and gas foes

CALGARY — An environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta’s inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. 

Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry, headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan, until there is a decision on whether it’s legal.

The group filed a lawsuit last November alleging the inquiry is politically motivated, biased and outside provincial jurisdiction and those accusations have yet to be heard in court. 

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Karen Horner dismissed Ecojustice’s injunction application with costs last week.

She says Ecojustice had to prove there is a serious issue to be tried, it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction isn’t granted and it would suffer greater harm than its opponent if the injunction is refused. 

The judge ruled Ecojustice satisfied the first test but failed the other two, because evidence of potential harm to its reputation has not clear enough. 

Alberta Energy spokesman Kavi Bal says he was happy to see the court strike down the “nuisance” application. 

Ecojustice executive director Devon Page says his group is disappointed in the decision, but it won’t stop it from challenging the inquiry, which it calls a “sham.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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