In a speech given at the Oil Sands Trade Show, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney once again criticized environmental groups. However, he took his criticisms even further by implying that Canada could take a lesson from Russian President Vladimir Putin on how to deal with environmentalists.
Kenney's speech included an anecdote about Greenpeace protesters who, after protesting near a Russian oil rig, were "arrested and thrown in a Siberian jail for six months." This could have been in reference to the "Arctic 30," a group of Greenpeace protesters from the Netherlands who were arrested by Russian authorities in 2013. Contrary to Kenney's assertion, the protesters were only jailed for two months in Murmansk and St. Petersburg.
In reference to the environmentalists being jailed, Kenney then said, "I’m not recommending that for Canada, but it’s instructive. It’s instructive." He followed that by saying that environmental groups "have seen Canada’s wonderfully generous, hospitable, sometimes apologetic Canadian temperament as an invitation for aggression," and that Canada should "send a message."
Kenney also compared environmental groups to schoolyard bullies in his speech, saying, "They figure they could push us around, that we were the weakest kid in the school yard. You know what happens in the school yard? The bully normally picks on the kid who doesn’t push back."
This all comes in the wake of opening up an inquiry to determine whether environmental groups in the province are receiving foreign funding. The United Conservative Party even set up a website for Albertans to anonymously provide information or report any "anti-energy" people or groups to the government.
The crusade against environmental groups drew criticism from Twitter users, who used the hashtag #ReportAnAlbertan to mock the initiative. Kenney's actions also prompted a response from Amnesty International Canada, who said that the inquiry and subsequent investigations would violate human rights. Kenney responded by calling the organization's statements "beyond ridiculous."