Alberta gives inquiry into oil and gas critics another extension to complete report

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CALGARY — The Alberta government has given an inquiry into the funding of oil and gas industry critics another deadline extension to complete its report.

The inquiry headed by Steve Allen was to have completed the report by Sunday.

Late Friday, the United Conservative government released an order-in-council amending the inquiry's deadline to May 31.

Peter Brodksy, an Alberta Energy spokesman, says cabinet granted Allen's request for more time to ensure he is able to complete his investigation into what the government calls "a possible well-funded foreign campaign aimed at discrediting the province’s energy sector."

He says cabinet allowed the extension to ensure that potential participants have a fair opportunity to provide input.

Brodksy says no additional funds will be provided to complete the inquiry.

Allan, a forensic accountant, was tapped in 2019 to lead the 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.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage must publish the final report within 90 days of receiving it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2021.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press