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Deadline extended for Alberta inquiry into funding for oil and gas critics

A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press

The commissioner of Alberta’s inquiry into the funding of oil and gas industry critics said a deadline extension will allow more time for the inquiry to get responses from the people it names.

The inquiry headed by Steve Allan was to have completed its report by Sunday, but the United Conservative government released an order-in-council on Friday night amending the inquiry’s deadline to May 31.

READ MORE: Will inquiry’s report into Alberta oil and gas critics meet deadline?

Allan said in a written statement that it was always the inquiry’s intention to give an opportunity for response to people “who may be subject to a finding of misconduct or the subject of a materially adverse factual finding.”

Allan said the inquiry has done a “detailed review of voluminous material” covering about 20 years, which he said has been made harder by the COVID-19 pandemic and public health advisories.

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READ MORE: Inquiry into Alberta oil and gas critics gets another extension but no new money

He said that’s caused delays, and notes that extension requests for public inquiries aren’t unusual.

Premier Jason Kenney and his government contend that foreign interests have long been bankrolling campaigns against Canadian fossil fuel development, and note that the original deadline for the report was July 2020.

Allan, a forensic accountant, was tapped in 2019 to lead a public inquiry with an initial budget of $2.5 million and a July 2020 deadline.

Last summer, Allan was given a four-month extension and a $1-million budget increase. In October, the inquiry got another 90-day extension, but no new money.

 

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