‘Blood sport:’ Observers say purported emails suggest decline of Alberta politics

Observers say emails suggesting a former Alberta justice minister hired a political fixer to obtain a reporter’s phone logs show how the province’s politics have deteriorated.

The Canadian Press has reported on emails and documents that seem to show Jonathan Denis hired a man to discover who tipped a reporter that his wedding reception may have broken COVID-19 protocols.

Denis, in an email from his lawyer, has denied that he or his clients talked to the self-described fixer, David Wallace.

Read more: Political ‘fixer’ says former Alberta justice minister hired him to get reporter’s phone logs

MacEwan University political scientist Chaldeans Mensah says the documents, if authentic, demonstrate how public debate in the province has become a “blood sport” where personal attacks are common.

Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, calls the purported documents “a nasty affair.”

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He adds that Denis was once in charge of law enforcement in Alberta and remains closely tied to Premier Jason Kenney and the governing United Conservative Party.

Read more: Jonathan Denis loses seat in Calgary-Acadia in 2015 Alberta election

University of Alberta political scientist Laurie Adkin suggests the documents look like an attempt to intimidate the press.

She says they show how the province has become so polarized that partisans feel any tactic against their opponents is justified.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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