Global News can now reveal former central Alberta MLA Don MacIntyre, who resigned from politics last Friday, is facing sexual assault and sexual interference charges involving a child under 16.
The offences are alleged to have occurred before MacIntyre was elected three years ago.
In Red Deer court Friday morning, a Crown prosecutor applied to lift a publication ban on MacIntyre’s name. The judge granted it and said the justice of the peace who ordered it made an error.
A lawyer representing four media outlets, including Global News, was present to support the application.
A lawyer for the United Conservative Party (UCP) was also there and said in court the party supported the Crown’s application.
“I was shocked and disgusted to learn of the serious criminal charges filed against former MLA Don MacIntyre,” UCP Leader Jason Kenney said in a statement following the decision in court Friday.
“There are few crimes more vile than sexual crimes against children, and those found guilty of it deserve to endure the most severe legal consequences possible.”
MacIntyre, 63, did not appear. His lawyer took no position on the matter.
MacIntyre did not mention the charges in a tweet last week, in which he announced his resignation.
“Hi folks. Resigning from politics today to focus on our family. Thanks everyone! #AbLeg #ucp,” the politician tweeted.
“At approximately noon today, Don MacIntyre resigned from the United Conservative Caucus,” Kenney said in a brief statement issued last week.
In the updated statement issued Friday, Kenney explained the party’s position and why their statement a week prior was so short:
I commend the RCMP for their investigation of these alleged crimes. We must now respect the legal system as these charges are brought to trial, while hoping that justice will be done. Our thoughts at this time are with the victim, who I hope will have strength and courage in the months and years ahead.
Don MacIntyre telephoned our House Leader at noon on Friday, February 2nd to inform him that he was resigning from the Legislature following charges being laid against him by the RCMP for sexual assault. This was the first time that we learned of such allegations against him.
Mr. MacIntyre also told our House Leader that the charges were subject to a Court-ordered publication ban. We immediately contacted legal counsel to confirm if there was a publication ban, and to seek advice on whether we could disclose the charges against him. The Crown Prosecutors’ Office and Clerk of the Provincial Court confirmed to our legal counsel that a publication ban had been issued, and that it prohibited any publication of the charges or the name of the accused. Accordingly, our legal counsel advised us that we would be in breach of the court-ordered publication ban were we to disclose or discuss the charges against Mr. MacIntyre.
Recognizing that the very serious charges facing Mr. MacIntyre were a matter of public interest, I instructed our counsel to support an application to lift the publication ban regarding his name. Today at approximately 10:30 am, the publication ban on his name was lifted by Mr. Justice Poelman of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.
Kenney reiterated his comments in an interview with Vassy Kapelos on The West Block.
“I’m just deeply disturbed by the nature of these allegations and I hope that justice will be done,” he said in Ottawa. “We learned about the allegations last week when he informed our House leader that he was resigning from the legislature. Had heard nothing about it before then.”
The party worked with media to lift the ban in the “public interest in transparency.”
“We’re thinking about the victim hoping for her to have strength and courage and hoping that justice will be done.”
MacIntyre was first elected to the Alberta legislature as a Wildrose Party member in 2015 before the party merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the UCP last year.
He was a a member of the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship and had spent time as shadow minister for electricity and renewables.
Last year, MacIntyre faced calls for his resignation over his controversial views on climate change.
While speaking to reporters about the NDP government’s carbon tax, MacIntyre said it’s not clear how much humans contribute to climate change.
“The science isn’t settled,” he said.
MacIntyre’s name was also tied to a contentious blog post made by several Wildrose members that compared the NDP government’s carbon tax to a famine caused by Soviet government policies in Ukraine during the 1930s that killed millions of people.The Wildrose Party later apologized for the Holodomor blog post.
Before entering politics, MacIntyre’s biography online says he worked for the alternative energy program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and as the chief technical officer for a private overseas geothermal company.
News of MacIntyre’s resignation came just hours after Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt was officially kicked out of the UCP caucus. The move came after he pleaded guilty to a charge related to an illegal deer hunt late last year.
“As elected representatives, we must be expected to show the highest level of integrity,” UCP leader Jason Kenney said in a statement about Fildebrandt’s departure. “MLA Derek Fildebrandt has unfortunately demonstrated a pattern of behaviour that does not meet that standard.”
— With files from The Canadian Press