What started as a public hearing over a proposed power line has turned into a series of allegations involving violence and spies — with three separate investigations being launched in a matter of weeks.
The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board’s use of private investigators to monitor landowners protesting a 500-kilovolt power line between Edmonton and Calgary is now facing an investigation by Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight.
Knight announced this week that an independent external review will be led by Del Perras, a former judge. Answers to why the board hired private security staff and what interaction they had with local residents are expected by September.
“At the end of the day we are confident that, between the different reviews that are being done, we will get a comprehensive look at this issue and we’ll have some answers to the questions that Albertans are asking,” said Jason Chance, a spokesman for the minister.
The review board is also facing investigations by Privacy Commissioner Frank Work and Alberta Ombudsman Gord Button after continued tensions with landowners escalated into violence.
Security was increased and public access restricted at hearings in April when one woman took a swing at a lawyer and a man allegedly roughed up a security guard.