Yesterday, the Alberta government released a list of its sole-sourced contracts that included a one-month, $10,000 contract awarded to Andrew Leach before the University of Alberta academic became chairman of the Climate Change Review Panel.
The details of the contract are vague. On the government website , the service provided by Leach in exchange for the payment was simply to give “advice to the Department (of Energy)”.
When contacted by phone, Leach would only go so far as to say that the terms of the contract were for him to provide “advice to the Department of Energy.” When asked if he could elaborate on what the advice was, Leach refused to give an answer. Leach also refused to comment on the exorbitant tax-payer funded sum of $10,000 for a mere eight days of work (May 12-20).
As the Climate Change Review Panel involves more specifically Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, concerns over the degree of independence of Leach’s leadership of the Panel are likely unfounded.
However, as has been reiterated by both Dave Mowat (Chair of the Royalty Review Panel), and Andrew Leach, both panels, and by extension the relevant departments (Energy and Environment), will and have been working together to come up with recommendations for Premier Notley on both the optimal royalty rate structure and government climate change policy.
With that said, the question still remains on whether Leach somehow was ‘influenced’ by the Alberta NDP before being announced to chair the supposedly ‘independent’ climate change panel. The timing of the contract certainly for many will raise some eyebrows.
After speaking with Mr. Leach, he felt the need to take to twitter to accuse me of not properly introducing myself over the phone. Click here to see his tweets claiming I did not tell him my last name.
This is untrue. After asked my last name I explicitly replied these exact words: ‘James Rose from the BOE Report’. And for him to claim he doesn’t know me would contradict the brief conversation I conducted with him for this article and when he commented on the same article after the fact.
Ezra Levant was kind enough to share results of a recent Access to Information and Privacy Application his team recently completed.
In one email, it was found that Leach emailed Alberta government employee colleagues of his shortly after my mid-September phone call with him regarding his $10,000 sole-sourced contract.
The contents of the email he sent starkly contradict his tweeting behaviour. As you may recall, he went to twitter confused as to who I was on the phone (see above).
But in the email, it appears he was certainly aware of who I was and for which publication I work for.