Kenney: Energy ‘war room’ must tolerate risks, act quickly

The office aims to respond to critics of the oil and gas industry

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a photo opportunity with Ontario Premier Doug Ford at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Friday, May 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Alberta’s premier says staff in the province’s so-called energy “war room” will be able to quickly take on industry foes without government bureaucracy holding them back.

The office — to be based in Calgary with a $30 million budget — is meant to take on critics of Alberta’s oil and gas industry in real time.

Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage were meeting with industry players on Friday to get advice on how the war room should work.

He said he hopes to have it up and running by the end of the summer and that it will be staffed by government employees and potentially contractors.

Kenney shrugged off the notion that the operation will only serve to galvanize the environmental groups it’s meant to target, saying a defensive posture in the past hasn’t worked.

He said it will be tough to gauge the war room’s success, but one measure will be whether there is a shift in public opinion about Alberta’s energy industry.

Kenney said with the 24-hour news cycle being a thing of the past, the war room will have to shed some of the usual shackles of government communications.

Taking hours or even days to approve a message won’t cut it, he said.

“Government communications are by nature a little bureaucratic and tend to be a bit slow moving and risk averse,” he said.

“The energy war room will have a mandate to operate much more nimbly and much more quickly with a higher risk tolerance, quite frankly, than is normally the case for government communications.”

A war room leader has not been named yet.

Greenpeace Canada responded to Kenney’s remarks by noting that attacking environmental organizations that raise concerns about the oil industry ignores the reality of climate change.

“Jason Kenney can spend $30 million on political theatre to try to distract us from the deadly seriousness of climate scientists’ warnings, but that won’t keep wildfires, heat waves or floods from getting worse or stop the seas from rising,” Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said in a release.

“Shooting the messenger might make for great election campaign rhetoric, but ignoring inconvenient truths does nothing to prepare Alberta for the coming transition off of fossil fuels.”

On Friday, Kenney and Savage met with representatives of several industry and advocacy groups, including the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Canada Action, The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Energy Citizens.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

PHOTO: Car Club presents donation to the Stettler Hospice Foundation

The $1,000 donation came from the Drag Race event this past July

This November, Alberta RCMP reminds road users to buckle up for every ride

As Albertans welcome winter, the RCMP reminds all drivers and passengers that traffic safety starts with buckling up

Joe Lang celebrated his 105th birthday with a family gathering on Nov. 10th at Paragon Place

Joseph Lang was born in Saskatchewan on Nov. 12th, 1914, the fourth oldest in a family of 10

Stettler’s Heartland Youth Centre launches fundraising raffle for brand new vehicle

A sleek and shiny 2020 GMC Terrain is the featured prize

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

15 charged following protests at two Alberta kennels that provide sled dog tours

RCMP say they were called to the Mad Dogs and Englishmen kennels east of Canmore

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

The bill would mean a health-care provider could not be sanctioned for refusing to provide a service due to morals

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Most Read