Robert Hemstock, BComm, LLB
Why Did I Sue the Government of Alberta, Deputy Premier Hoffman and the Premier's Communications Director Ms. Oates?
1) exposing Alberta consumers to what it estimated was $2 billion in PPA costs;
2) not respecting the sanctity of the PPA terms under which PPA Buyers bought their PPAs some 16 years earlier by suing the PPA Buyers who were simply now enforcing their rights under the PPA; and
3) admitting it did not know about the PPA change in law clause when they made the change in law to increase carbon costs to coal fired generation in Alberta.
In response to this criticism, the Government released a media package which asserted that before the PPA Auction took place in August 2000, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Chair, the former PC Government officials, and I (on behalf of Enron) had acted improperly to effect revisions to the change in law provisions in Section 4.3(j) of the PPAs.
My decision to commence a defamation lawsuit against the Government of Alberta, Deputy Premier Hoffman, the Premier's Communications Director Oates, and possibly more individuals presently named John and Jane Doe 1-20, was driven by two primary considerations:
1) I was surprised by the Government's extensive PPA media campaign led by Deputy Premier Hoffman to deflect blame for the PPA terminations away from the Government and launch repeated attacks directed at Enron, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, and the former PC Government, falsely alleging inappropriate conduct in relation to the development of the PPAs. For example, they created the term "Enron Clause" to describe paragraph 4.3(j) of the PPAs when the truth is that this clause applied to all PPAs, not just the PPA Enron purchased. I went from being surprised to believing that I had been defamed when two weeks into the media campaign senior members of the Alberta Government targeted me and others personally by making public statements, including a memo that was provided to media outlets, that falsely asserted that I and others had engaged in wrongful conduct, including that I was involved in a "secret backroom deal" in July 2000 to revise the PPAs for the benefit of Enron just prior to the PPA Auction.
2) the truth about the wasteful $2 billion PPA debacle did not come out in the Attorney General's lawsuit against PPA Buyers as the Government discontinued its lawsuit and provided no details of the terms upon which that lawsuit was ended.
I intend to ensure my reputation as a fair, ethical, and honest executive and lawyer is fully restored by holding the Defendants accountable for their politically motivated defamatory statements. No meaningful apology or retraction was issued by any of the Defendants to me, or others, who the Defendants identified.
My lawyers filed a Statement of Claim in July 2018. The Defendants filed their Statement of Defence in Sept 2018. In accordance with the Rules of Court I have provided all records that are relevant and material to my claim that are under my control.
My lawyers and I have received documents from the Defendants. I consider the Defendants document production to be deficient as my position is they have not provided all relevant documents in their possession relating to my claim. I have instructed my lawyers to bring an application before the Court to compel the Defendants to produce further documents that they have in their control that are relevant and material to my case.
Here is the Application filed by my lawyers on March 29, 2019 and the Affidavit I swore under oath explaining they type of documents I believe the Defendants should be required to provide in accordance with the Rules of Court.
I look forward to resolving the issue of document production so that the full record is made available to my legal team. A judge will determine whether the application for more fulsome disclosure has merit, and to what extent my legal team will receive the full breadth of the government’s internal communications. It was those internal communications which lead them to blame me and others for the estimated $2 billion or more cost to electricity consumers of the PPA terminations.
Once the full record is produced, I look forward to a judge or jury of my peers deciding the merits of my defamation claim.