Denial of access

Edmonton police revoke press credentials of The Progress Report

The Edmonton Police Service refused to give the Progress Report access to an online press conference on Feb. 24, 2022 and later revoked the publication’s press credentials

Progress Report editor Duncan Kinney reported that when he emailed police media relations to ask why they had been denied access, Edmonton police general counsel Geoff Crowe responded almost two weeks later, saying that the publication’s media accreditation had been revoked. Kinney said the email gave no reason for the decision. 

The email also said police would “not entertain (the Progress Report’s) requests for information, documents or statements and (Kinney) and the Progress Report will be taken off of (their) media list.” 

Police said the Progress Report would be barred from press conferences, Kinney said. 

The Progress Report is a self-described left-wing online media project produced by Progress Alberta, a non-profit organization “advocating and organizing for leftist change in Alberta.”

The publication has written articles critical of the EPS, and the denial came a week after a press conference where Kinney questioned EPS chief Dale McFee on the police response to a convoy protest. 

At an Edmonton Police Commission meeting on March 17, 2022, Kinney, journalist Mack Male and police commissioner Anne Stevenson, who is also a city councillor, asked Crowe about the denial. Crowe said he could not talk about the file and wouldn’t explain why the publication’s credentials were revoked, Male tweeted.

At the March 17 meeting, the police commission adopted a motion to review the Edmonton police media guidelines and how the service assesses media accreditation. 

The Progress Report filed a complaint against Edmonton police chief Dale McFee on March 24, 2022 in relation to the denial of accreditation.

In a June 3, 2022 letter to Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi, Edmonton police commissioner Ashvin Singh claimed that Kinney was under “investigation,” reported the Edmonton Journal

In the letter, Singh alleged that Stevenson, the councillor who had questioned Edmonton police on March 17 about the denial of accreditation, had “attempted on numerous occasions to actively influence an investigation” into Kinney, who Singh described as one of Stevenson’s “close contacts.” 

A third-party investigation ordered by the police commission later found that Singh’s complaint about Stevenson was “unsubstantiated,” the Edmonton Sun reported in February 2023. 

In a tweet on June 7, 2022, Kinney said that he was unsure if the police review of his media accreditation was the “investigation” Singh described in the letter. Later in the letter, Singh referred to an “active adjudicative process.”

When contacted by the Edmonton Journal, Singh refused to comment or elaborate on the allegations. 

Kinney’s lawyer, Tom Engel, also wrote to Singh, asking him to provide more information about the allegations, but Singh refused, Engel said. 

Kinney also filed a complaint against Singh, which was later closed when Singh resigned from the commission, reported the Edmonton Journal

On June 8, 2022, EPS told Press Progress that it would not confirm or deny whether Kinney was “the focus of an active criminal investigation.” 

On Oct. 14, 2022, Kinney was charged with mischief in relation to the Aug. 10, 2021 vandalism of a statue of a Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator. 

In a statement posted on the Progress Report, Kinney said the mischief charge “appears to be an attempt by the EPS to silence and discredit a critic,” and that he intended to plead not guilty. 

An Edmonton police spokesperson said the review of Progress Report’s media accreditation had been suspended until the conclusion of the mischief case, reported the Edmonton Journal.