To quote Paula Simons:
Activists also allege that one of the EUB’s agents, Don MacDonald, infiltrated the Alberta Environmental Network by posing as a concerned environmentalist.
Under that guise, they claim, MacDonald took part in conference calls in which the landowners and their lawyers discussed legal strategy.
For the record, the EUB denies hiring MacDonald to spy on the Alberta Environmental Network, suggesting MacDonald was acting for some other, unnamed client. (And for the record again, AltaLink insists it did not hire any PIs, including MacDonald.)
You know what? In a free and democratic society, the state does not normally hire private detectives to spy on citizens. If the EUB was sincerely worried about threats of violence, it could have called independent officers from the RCMP to investigate — officers who wouldn’t have been in the pay of the EUB, officers who would have had to worry about things like search warrants and probable cause and the Charter of Rights.
That’s what makes the EUB’s actions so disturbing. The board tried to do an end-run around civil liberties by contracting out surveillance work to a private company. For a quasi-judicial body to behave in the way that’s alleged, in the midst of a hearing, is reprehensible.
I’m speechless on this one. Someone in the AUEB had a case of very very poor judgement on this one. For a Public Board to hire a PI to spy on a group of ordinary Albertans is completely unaccetable.
(*Cough* Spelling errors corrected – thanks, Bee)