Barely a year after tabling his last budget, ex-Alberta finance minister Robin Campbell is the subject of a complaint to the province’s Ethics Commissioner.
The Alberta Conflicts of Interest Act “bars a former minister from lobbying any public office holder for 12 months after their last day in office,” DeSmog Canada writes. Yet six months after exiting the finance portfolio in the wake of his Progressive Conservative government’s election loss to the New Democratic Party last May, Campbell accepted a job as president of the Coal Association of Canada—an industry lobby group.
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Since then, Alberta has made a commitment to phase out the fossil fuel by 2030 as part of its climate plan.
Nevertheless, a complaint filed last week by non-profit Progress Alberta alleges that Campbell’s highly public activity promoting coal may also “contravene rules in the Lobbyist Act designed to prevent the use of ‘grassroots communication’ to persuade members of the public to pressure public office holders.”
Campbell’s efforts on behalf of coal have drawn criticism for materially misrepresenting the fossil fuel’s economic and environmental impacts, in particular for blaming a spike in Alberta power prices on the province’s phase-out plan.
Experts call the contention “complete rubbish,” DeSmog notes.