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January 10, 2019

Will the Premier remove her lying Minister?

UCP Solicitor General Critic Mike Ellis issued the following statement:

NDP Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, through her multiple lies, is no longer of capable of performing her duties. When the Premier faces media later this morning, will she stand by Minister Phillips? Or will she do the right thing and announce that Minister Phillips has been relieved of her duties?

In two separate incidents, Minister Phillips made serious false statements using the RCMP to support her political decisions:

Sunday, Jan. 6: “In conversation with both my senior officials and the RCMP it was determined that at this point we can’t necessarily guarantee the safety of the public given some of the content that has been shared with us.” (Edmonton Journal reporter Janet French, Twitter)

Wednesday, Jan. 10: “We have at least two that I am aware of, open files with the RCMP…I am aware of at least two open files with investigation numbers….If they say that they have been intimidated or threatened, and we have two open files with RCMP and other documented incidents to just say, ‘Oh that’s-,’ to ascribe that to a conspiracy theory? That’s a dangerous road for Jason Kenney’s team to go down.” (CBC Facebook)

Both these claims were completely discredited by the RCMP:

“Alberta RCMP did not provide any official advice to Alberta Environment and Parks regarding the Bighorn public consultations… Alberta RCMP can confirm that we do not have any ongoing investigations relating to the consultations.” (RCMP Alberta statement)

Any threats and intimidation are contemptible, and the UCP unequivocally condemns any such behaviour. But the Minister sent a message to the communities most affected by her plan that the RCMP – their local police service – viewed them as such a large threat that public meetings could not continue.

The Minister did not “misspeak” and quickly correct the record. Quite the opposite. She propagated extremely serious lies over a period of four days.

The Minister has shattered any trust that remained between herself and those most affected by her Bighorn plan. It’s clear that the Minister can no longer effectively perform her duties.

The Minister should resign. And if she refuses to, the Premier should remove her.

Lastly, it’s clear that due to the Minister’s conduct, the current environment makes true, constructive consultations on the Bighorn impossible. We call on the Premier immediately announce that the arbitrary consultation deadline is extended indefinitely until after the coming election.

This complex matter is far too important to rush through in a 70-day consultation just before an election. All Albertans want to see our wilderness protected. This is especially true for those who live in the Bighorn Country. But it is critically important that those who live and work in the region feel that they were duly involved in the plan. Unfortunately, that is not possible given Minister Phillips’ serious lies.