EDMONTON, AB (November 13, 2013): After first claiming her ministry has done nothing wrong, Environment Minister Diana McQueen flip-flopped and announced that this PC government will not appeal Justice Richard Marceau’s ruling, Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin said today.
In October, Justice Richard Marceau ruled that top Alberta Environment officials violated the fundamental principles of natural justice and displayed bias when they ordered certain environmental groups be blocked from participating in Alberta’s regulatory processes. At the time, Anglin called for changes to the government’s regulatory system to allow for open, transparent and fair regulatory hearings. Anglin said Minister McQueen’s decision to not appeal Justice Marceau’s ruling is in effect an admission of guilt and called for concrete measures to be put in place to ensure Alberta’s regulatory processes remain free of political interference. “By not appealing the decision, this PC government is admitting guilt, but is also failing to convince Albertans and our international partners that lessons have been learned. This is the second time in five years the government has tainted a regulatory process with the apprehension of bias,” Anglin said. “In 2009 the former Energy Utilities Board (EUB) was found guilty of the apprehension of bias when they got caught listening in on telephone conversation between lawyers and their clients. This government needs to show it’s committed to not making the same mistakes again.” Anglin said that it is essential to have an efficient regulatory system that Albertans can have confidence in. “The Minister’s performance ever since this ruling has been handed down has been inconsistent and disappointing,” Anglin said. “We need a regulatory system that can attract investment, but this government’s indecision has left a black mark on our record. There’s simply too much at stake when it comes to extracting our resources and protecting the environment.”