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Alberta premier resists calls to sack environment minister over parks row

Last Updated Jan 10, 2019 at 3:53 pm MDT

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips speaks with the media during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

FORT SASKATCHEWAN – Premier Rachel Notley is rejecting calls from the opposition to fire her environment minister over cancelled public hearings into the Bighorn County park plan.

Notley says Alberta has made significant progress on the environmental file under Shannon Phillips and the minister has her full support.

The United Conservatives and Alberta Party have called for Phillips to resign or be fired over mistaken claims that RCMP had open investigations into harassment of supporters of the plan.

The UCP says Phillips has shattered any trust remaining between her and people who would be affected by the proposal to protect the wilderness areas in west-central Alberta.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel says Phillips’ handling of the process has been more insult than consult.

Phillips cancelled public information sessions that had been scheduled for this week.

She said she consulted with Mounties and her officials and decided there was a threat to public safety.

The RCMP have said they did not advise Phillips because it is not their role to make such recommendations.

Phillips also had to backtrack this week when she said the RCMP had two investigations into threats against supporters of the Bighorn plan.

She later said they were only complaints and that no investigations had begun.