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Environmental Groups Demand Apology From Premier Kenney for Defamatory Statements

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa — Environmental groups are demanding that Premier Jason Kenney retract statements and issue an apology for communications they say are defamatory and directly contrary to the findings of the Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns. In a letter to the premier, groups say these statements were designed to undermine their reputations and credibility and misrepresent the facts to the public, and state they are considering legal action if he does not back down.

“Premier Kenney and the Alberta government are misrepresenting the results of the Alberta Inquiry, which found no wrongdoing by environmental groups,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “We’ve all seen the dangers of such practices where truth is distorted, especially on social media. We’re asking that Premier Kenney correct the record.”

The letter states:

We have reviewed the statements published by the Alberta government in its “Key Findings” document and subsequently repeated and amplified by you on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, including the patently false claim that the Inquiry’s “report confirms the existence of well-funded foreign interests that have been waging a decade-long campaign of misinformation. These statements are defamatory as they assert that our clients have deliberately spread “misinformation.”

In fact, Commissioner Allan was unequivocal in his report that he was making no such finding.

Groups, including Environmental Defence, West Coast Environmental Law, Greenpeace Canada, Raincoast Conservation, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Sierra Club of British Columbia, Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Dogwood Initiative, are asking Premier Kenney/the Alberta government to:

  • Remove the defamatory statements published on the government of Alberta’s website.
  • Retract earlier defamatory statements.
  • Publish an apology to the groups on Premier Kenney’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“Climate change is causing devastating impacts across Canada, from catastrophic flooding and forest fires in British Columbia, thawing permafrost and sea ice in the North, to increasingly dangerous storms in Atlantic Canada,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel of West Coast Environmental Law. “Yet, Premier Kenney continues to attempt to delegitimize factual and legitimate concerns about what needs to be done to protect Canadians and the environment. This anti-democratic and dangerous witch hunt must end so civil society organizations can safely get back to the important work of addressing the climate emergency.”

Groups are giving Premier Kenney until November 30th to respond.

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For more information, please contact:

Anna Johnston, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
ajohnston@wcel.org, (604) 340-2304

Allen Braude, Senior Communications Manager, Environmental Defence
abraude@environmentaldefence.ca, (416) 356-3587

Paul Champ, Human Rights Lawyer
(613) 816-2441