Private detective should not have joined landowners’ conference call: EUB report

Private detective should not have joined landowners’ conference call: EUB report by Canadian Press, September 17, 2007
CALGARY (CP) – Alberta’s energy and utilities regulator has been accused for the second time in two weeks of overstepping its authority when it hired private detectives to spy on citizens involved in public hearings into a new power corridor between Edmonton and Calgary. An investigator hired by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board should not have joined a conference call organized by landowners opposed to the utility corridor, former justice Del Perras said in a government-commissioned report released Monday. Private investigators also attended a public hearing in Rimbey in central Alberta. … “While little was gleaned from this process, the idea of an approved EUB security personnel listening in to landowners’ phone conferences is repulsive, and more so because it is not needed to carry out the security mandate of the security unit of the EUB.”

Last week, Alberta’s privacy commissioner released a report that found the board’s use of undercover detectives had breached privacy rules. Other documents also revealed that the regulator hired plainclothes security to monitor a public hearing into an upgrader project in Redwater near Edmonton. … The opposition parties say the scandal has destroyed the energy board’s credibility with Albertans, so the board should be replaced. But a spokesman in Premier Ed Stelmach’s office said no such disciplinary action is planned. Knight also announced William Tilleman, a Calgary lawyer and former chairman of the Environmental Appeals Board, as the energy board’s new chairman, replacing the retiring Neil McCrank. [Emphasis added]

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