Alberta Politics
A screenshot of video of Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.’s launch news conference yesterday at SAIT (Image: Screenshot of CTV video).

The ‘War Room’ finally launches: $30-million and all we got was this lousy website?

Posted on December 12, 2019, 2:08 am
9 mins

The mighty voice of Alberta’s beleaguered oil industry, the long promised and much-touted $30-million “Energy War Room,” stumbled out of the starting gate yesterday after a news conference in Calgary graced by the presence of Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

At least, as the self-described purveyor of a “fact-based narrative about Canadian energy” that “will reject what is false and promote what is true,” it was embarrassing the inaugural online message from Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.’s $200,000-per-annum CEO included an error serious enough to require an immediate official correction.

CECL CEO and Managing Director Tom Olsen (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Have they no fact checkers? Wasn’t that the idea?

Still, it’s nice to know it’s not just the rest of us who are confused about whether the rebranded War Room is a government agency, a Crown corporation, or a provincial corporation sneakily set up to avoid accountability under Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Privacy (FOIP) legislation.

The confusion, obviously, extended to CEO and Managing Director Tom Olsen, a former Calgary Herald reporter, Progressive Conservative political staffer and United Conservative Party candidate whose inaugural “column” on CanadianEnergyCentre.ca stated unequivocally that CECL is a Crown corporation.

This resulted in some head scratching, as most earlier news coverage reported it was set up as a private corporation, albeit one owned by the government, to avoid being FOIPed.

By early afternoon, though, a correction appeared on the website explaining “an earlier version of this column identified the Canadian Energy Centre as a Crown corporation. In fact, it is a provincial government corporation. This column has been updated to reflect that fact.”

As for whether the new entity is subject to FOIP requests, that remained unclear. At the news conference, Ms. Savage told reporters it would be open to FOIPs, CTV reported. The premier’s press secretary, Christine Myatt, said in a statement it would not.

Yesterday afternoon, CECL spokesperson Grady Semmens, one of four former Calgary Herald staffers on the War Room’s eight-member staff, said in an email to AlbertaPolitics.ca that CECL is a provincial corporation, wholly owned by the Government of Alberta, and not subject to FOIP.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The other CECL employees, according to the website, are former Postmedia columnist Claudia Catteneo, administrator Joanne Birce, former Fraser Institute commentator Mark Milke, former Herald reporter Shawn Logan, Indigenous relations specialist Gregory John, and researcher Sophie Gaussiran-Racine.

While there was plenty of media at the news conference at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and lots of students clad in trades apparel to provide a suitable backdrop for Mr. Kenney and Ms. Savage, very little was said that was not included in the Energy Minister’s Oct. 9 press release announcing the plan or the news coverage that followed its publication.

The website itself, designed to look like a bit like a typical newspaper site, is underwhelming.

The dozen stories posted there yesterday read like business features from the Calgary Herald in the 1980s, around the time Mr. Olsen and Content Director Catteneo were working there. As an alumnus of that newspaper at the same time, I can assure readers this is not a compliment.

Here is a summary of the entire contents on the site last night:

  • A long lead story based on controversial claims about emissions from natural gas extraction that makes the counterintuitive assertion “expanding access to Canada’s vast fossil fuel resources will significantly lower global greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • A similarly longwinded feature claiming liquid natural gas exports are good for the planet, and that people who say otherwise are mistaken.
  • A feature on a First Nations businessman behind a pipeline proposal.
  • Another about a parent employed by a Calgary oil and gas exploration company who is riled up by an environmental group’s presentation at his child’s class. (Does the Alberta Teachers Association have a take on this, I wonder?)
  • A gee-whiz feature that reveals artificial limbs often contain parts made from petrochemicals. Who knew?
  • Another about a company that uses solar panels to power a drilling site. Takeaway: “Solar can’t stand on its own.”
  • A clickbait-style What’s-Your-Energy-IQ quiz.
  • An oilsands FAQ rich in opportunities for environmental groups to dig in and do some fact checking of their own. Takeaway: billionaire Bill Gates thinks divesting oil stocks won’t do anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A first-person story on an Alberta trade mission to Japan by four Indigenous business people.
  • A feature on greenhouses that reveals … wait for it … they can use natural gas to keep the tomatoes from freezing on cold nights!
  • An interview with a university of Alberta engineering professor who thinks there’s too much anger in the debate about the oilsands — on one side, anyway. “Dirty oil or tar sands are not helpful words at all.”
  • A feature on a young engineer now completing an MBA who loves working in the oilpatch.

The site also includes an infographic that lists all the wonderful things that can be made by the contents of a barrel of oil (rubber ducks! shampoo! medical syringes!), a video (“Canadian oil and gas makes our world better! It just does!”), and a couple of links to friendly stories in the Financial Post and Globe and Mail.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

And, um, that’s about it. Notwithstanding Mr. Kenney’s promise we Albertans “will no longer passively accept a campaign of defamation seeking to landlock one of Canada’s greatest assets,” there was not much that was particularly hard hitting on the site yesterday.

It’s all very well to publish obsequious feature stories about people you agree with. It’s quite another to get anyone to read them, a prerequisite to their having much impact. This site, as written yesterday, is not going to win a lot of converts.

Of course, CECL’s $30-million budget is also supposed to pay for a “rapid response unit” headed by Dr. Milke that will fire back at arguments the government disputes, and a research unit to supply data to investors like the Swedish central bank who are selling holdings in carbon-intensive economies like Alberta’s.

But if this is supposed to live up to Premier Kenney’s vow yesterday that Albertans “refuse to sit here and be a punching bag anymore,” he may want to come up with a Plan B.

If this is the most convincing we can be, he might want to ask Matt Wolf, his “executive director of issues management,” to tear up some bedsheets for use as white flags.

30 Comments to: The ‘War Room’ finally launches: $30-million and all we got was this lousy website?

  1. Edwin Mundt

    December 12th, 2019

    They forget their audience. They need to Tabloid it up. Starting with “Angry Dad of the Week” on page 3. ALL CAPS HEADLINES IN LARGE POINT SIZES. This website is completely off-brand and Tom “The Wreckage” Olsen should know better.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    December 12th, 2019

    Is this so called ‘war room’ a surprise from the UCP? No. Because in good Conservative fashion, they love wasting exorbitant sums of money on things with no benefit. What is the point of this ‘war room’? It misses some key facts. First of all, oil booms are over, as of years ago. For the last 5 years, the Saudis and the U.S.A have had a stranglehold on oil prices, by supersaturating the world market with cheaper oil. There is no way in the world that what comes out of Fort McMurray can ever compete with things like shale oil in America. The loathed “NEP”, was laid to rest by Brian Mulroney. The Alberta PCs did a plethora of the most costliest scandals, after Peter Lougheed left office. One was the $26 billion Northwest Upgrader fiasco, that had $9 billion in added costs. Also, the Alberta PCs then failed to follow Peter Lougheed’s sound model of responsible oilsands development, and proper royalty rate collection. Double whammy. At least $200 billion was lost from the Alberta PCs allowing bad oil royalty rates for our oil, since 1986. (Actually, in the 1990s, Ralph Klein let foreign owned companies have our oil for dirt cheap, and gave them the bulk of the profits, so it’s not our oil anymore.)There is a $260 billion bill Albertans have to contend with for cleaning up abandoned oil wells in Alberta. So much for Ralph Klein getting Alberta out of debt. He did not. Peter Lougheed worked in the oil industry, (in Oklahoma, I believe), long before he was ever a politician. He knew full well that oil is a finite commodity, and bust times can come. The Alberta PCs, that succeeded him, (failures is more accurate), did not get that point, and neither does the UCP. Tom Olsen gets around $195,000 a year, to push propaganda. What a big payoff for a failed UCP candidate! Another myth that has been perpetrated by the ignorant in Alberta, is that Quebec gets its oil from Saudi Arabia. It does not. Oil companies over there get the bulk of their oil from Alberta and America. Is this ‘war room’ going to make record setting oil prices return? It can’t. Furthermore, what on earth did Jason Kenney do for pipelines before, when the CPC had a majority government, and had those record setting oil prices? There was no assistance in getting a pipeline built that went to tidewater. The UCP are getting more foolish every day. Let’s hope the R.C.M.P investigation against Jason Kenney speeds up, and the UCP gets dissolved for good.

    Reply
  3. Cam Westhead

    December 12th, 2019

    I for one look forward to the Auditor General’s report on the effectiveness of the war room and whether Albertans are getting value for their money. Or will the UCP fire the AG before he can get around to shining some light on this?

    Reply
  4. Bob Raynard

    December 12th, 2019

    According to the CBC story I read yesterday, another thing the war room has in its sights is to run TV ads in other countries promoting investment in the Alberta energy sector. I am trying to bring up a mental image of somebody phoning their broker saying they saw an ad on TV last night and now they want to invest in an Alberta energy company, but the mental image just won’t come. Personally I think it will send a message of desperation.

    Reply
  5. tom in ontario

    December 12th, 2019

    Your premier is certainly riding high these days, getting worked up over his Jim Dandy War Room and website, berating Justin Trudeau in public, doing nasty things to nurses, teachers, civil servants and getting away with it. He should, however, bear in mind the words of Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter.
    “The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s ass all the time.”

    Reply
  6. TENET

    December 12th, 2019

    The Wold Pack! Goebbels the gobbler. Heavyweight mental midget. Bountiful bot.

    Reply
  7. Albertan

    December 12th, 2019

    Again, cuts to education and health care and a $30 million ‘War Room’ with the guy heading it up with a $195,000/year salary? Sort of speaks to there being no right to talk and do, these cutbacks. But, say and do as we please with impunity?
    It’s almost as if we need to wait for all of this Kenney UCP stuff to go a-end over teakettle. But, what of the mess after another 31/2 years…….typical old, dinosaur, ultra right wing, and now populist authoritarian, proven mistakes all over again. Lessons may need to be learned the hard way, again.
    It begs the question, when will UCP supporters start “getting grumpy and start shifting in their seats?” The rest of us knew that a Kenney UCP government would be a gong show.

    Reply
  8. Geoffrey Pounder

    December 12th, 2019

    Pretty rich coming from an industry that over the decades has spent multi-millions of dollars funding the climate change denial machine, spreading disinformation, sowing doubt, attacking science and scientists, obstructing climate action, delaying and weakening regulations, all to protect its profits. And now pretending to be the victim.
    War rooms are necessary only when you don’t have the science on your side.

    Reply
    • camjournal

      December 14th, 2019

      Whaaat? Not slagging Rachel Notley and the NDP? WTH? Geoffrey, you haven’t hardly poked your head up since you got what you wished for in the Oct election but now you come up with this anemic scribble? You haven’t even got the guts to mention your fav Con party by name. Troll…

      Reply
      • Geoffrey Pounder

        December 14th, 2019

        When have I expressed an iota of support for the UCP or any conservative party?
        Care to cite a single comment of mine that favors the UCP?
        The failure of Rachel Notley’s NDP on the energy and climate file in no way justifies failure on the part of the UCP. Or vice versa.
        Rachel Notley’s NDP came in for wide criticism on the energy and climate file. I stand in good company.

        Not surprised that you don’t use your real name.
        But I am surprised that David allows gratuitous name-calling on his blog.
        If you have a real argument, post it.

        Reply
        • camjournal

          December 15th, 2019

          Geoffrey, you posted relentlessly against the Alta NDP and Rachel Notley before the Oct election, including some name-calling ISTM. Since then you have been virtually absent. Therefore I suspected that you were working to defeat the NDP and elect the UCP, which of course happened. Now when DJC writes a post critiquing the UCP all you come in with is some drivel about the petroleum industry which is common knowledge to everyone – I guess it was about the petroleum industry, or was it about the NDP? Anyway, I’m calling my suspicions confirmed. It is said here that you just dislike the NDP.

          Reply
          • Geoffrey Pounder

            December 16th, 2019

            So you couldn’t come up with a single comment of mine which expressed support for the UCP? Charges dismissed with costs.

            Many voices on the left criticized NDP energy and climate policies. Are they all UCP supporters? Logic fail.
            Do you attack everybody who criticized NDP energy and climate policies? Or just me?
            Democracy does not work unless we hold our political representatives to account. Why should the NDP get a free pass?

            Let’s recap, shall we?
            Notley rejected the opportunity to raise royalties, and instead banged the drum for new pipelines. Notley and Trudeau moved the ball on the Trans Mountain pipeline down to the ten-yard line. Their signal achievement was to “push country-wide support for pipelines from 40% to 70%.” Something Jason Kenney and his minions could never dream of.
            The pre-2015 AB NDP was a force for good in opposition. The only voice of sanity on climate and energy. Notley eliminated that option.
            Now we have zero oil industry critics in the AB Legislature. Banished to opposition benches, the shrivelled NDP caucus can say nothing about oilsands expansion, oil & gas pollution, and climate inaction — because they promoted Big Oil’s agenda in office.
            Once Notley endorsed Vivian Krause’s wacky theories, it was no longer right-wing and no longer conspiracy theory. Notley took it mainstream.
            The AB NDP’s shift to the right left progressive positions undefended and opened up space for Jason Kenney to move even further right. In Alberta, we no longer have a mainstream party that champions science. The AB NDP took away our last hope for real action on climate in AB.
            According to Notley and Trudeau, the path to renewable energy and a sustainable future runs through a massive spike in fossil-fuel combustion and emissions. Complete disconnect from the science.
            Ironically, the faux-progressive Trudeau Liberals and Notley’s NDP have proven far more effective than their Conservative predecessors at delivering on Big Oil’s and Corporate Canada’s agenda.

            “including some name-calling”
            More unsubstantiated charges without evidence.

            Your rude comment contributes nothing to the discussion. Beats me why it was published. Your evidence-free follow-up bursts with non sequiturs.
            Who’s the troll?

          • camjournal

            December 17th, 2019

            “‘including some name-calling’
            More unsubstantiated charges without evidence.” “Pipeline Princess” comes to my mind…

            “Do you attack everybody who criticized NDP energy and climate policies? Or just me?”
            No Geoffrey not everyone, primarily just you…

          • Geoffrey Pounder

            December 18th, 2019

            Notley and her acolytes would consider “Pipeline Princess” a compliment.
            “Pipeline Princess” accurately conveys the fact that Notley vigorously championed the Trans Mtn pipeline expansion. Notley is primarily responsible for progress on TMEP. The AB NDP takes credit for the dramatic shift in public opinion.
            If Alberta voters truly believed that Notley was a “Pipeline Princess”, she would have won the last election.

            It’s one thing to criticize public figures and their policies on a factual basis. It’s another to launch repeated spurious attacks online without evidence.
            I don’t attack other posters. My comments address the topic and contribute to the discussion. Your mudslinging does not.
            Once again, you have failed to provide any evidence for your charge that I support the UCP. I can substantiate both Notley’s push for pipelines and widespread criticism of that policy on the left. You can’t substantiate your slanders. That’s the difference.

            Notley’s NDP came under fire from supporters and observers on the left:

            -Tzeporah Berman
            -Naomi Klein
            -Dr John O’Connor
            -Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
            -Kevin Taft
            -Markham Hislop

            “Arguably, the law allowing Alberta to blockade shipments of fuel from refineries here to force B.C.’s government to ignore the concerns of its own voters and knuckle under to Alberta’s demands for a pipeline was a moral and political failure by the NDP.
            “Democracy depends on a consensus not to abuse power, and drafting legislation known in advance to violate the nation’s constitution, putting that consensus at risk, amounts to moral failure. Hoping the belligerent attitude demanded by Mr. Kenney’s Conservatives would persuade die-hard right-wingers to grant the NDP another term in office in gratitude for legislation that horrified many of its most loyal supporters was foolhardy.”
            “Court’s decision to turn off Alberta’s turn-off-the-taps law should surprise no one”
            David Climenhaga, Sep 25, 2019
            https://albertapolitics.ca/2019/09/courts-decision-to-turn-off-albertas-turn-off-the-taps-law-should-surprise-no-one/

            Reakash Walters, federal NDP candidate in Edmonton Centre 2015: “As one of two people who nominated Rachel in 2015, I am truly disappointed in the direction the provincial party has taken and that they have chosen to prioritize oil extraction in the middle of a climate crisis.”
            “What was Rachel Notley suggesting when she said she’s not committed to voting for Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats?” (Alberta Politics, 2019)
            https://albertapolitics.ca/2019/10/what-was-rachel-notley-suggesting-when-she-said-shes-not-committed-to-voting-for-jagmeet-singhs-new-democrats/

  9. Keith McClary

    December 12th, 2019

    “Consider: Phasing out the oilsands and replacing them with supplies from other countries would only reduce global GHG emissions by an estimated 0.03 per cent, according to a recent submission to the Canadian Senate from Mac Van Wielingen, founder and partner of ARC Financial Corp.”

    This was in turn sourced to a proprietary IHS report “Greenhouse gas intensity of oil sands production, September 2018”:
    https://ihsmarkit.com/forms/contactinformation.html?efid=tFSzO+2aeGqpKuUQPMWZ3Q==
    The free download didn’t work for me, and their terms of service would seem to prohibit any public discussion of it.
    __________________________________________
    “Fact: Of the world’s top 10 oil producing countries, Canada is the only jurisdiction with a carbon pricing system in place. The first carbon tax in North America was introduced in Alberta in 2007.”

    So now, carbon taxes are a good thing?

    Reply
    • anon

      December 12th, 2019

      Intensity? So if there are three people smoking in a room of ten, and another ten people step into the room, has the smoke intensity been cut in half?

      Isn’t ARC Financial primarily engaged in arranging financing for the oil and gas industry?

      Reply
  10. Sam Gunsch

    December 12th, 2019

    There’s some kind of meta-irony in UCP based on a conspiracy theory,
    needs to spend millions to push out ‘facts’ defending an industry,
    the same industry that funded climate denial campaigns, that including calling climate change a conspiracy,
    over three decades with 100’s of millions in climate denial propaganda
    and hid their own knowledge of their own research of the facts of climate change
    including operations right here in AB.

    See Tyee’s new coverage of Imperial Oil documents uncovered, reported just yesterday:

    https://thetyee.ca/News/2019/12/11/Canadian-Oilsands-Firm-Denied-Own-Science/

    Reply
  11. Keith McClary

    December 12th, 2019

    They say:
    “The CIEP study found that replacing the world’s existing and expected future fleet of coal-fired power plants with gas-fired generation would cut worldwide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 5,700 megatonnes (million tonnes) annually by 2040 – equivalent to cutting current global CO2 emissions by more than 10 per cent.”
    What did JK have to say about the coal phase-out?

    And the Bill Gates quote says that divestment has no effect:
    “Divestment, to date, probably has reduced about zero tonnes of emissions. It’s not like you’ve capital-starved [the] people making steel and gasoline, … I don’t know the mechanism of action where divestment [keeps] emissions [from] going up every year.”
    but JK spends our money junketing around the world in a crusade against divestment.

    Reply
  12. Just Me

    December 12th, 2019

    I hate to say it, but if you want to run an operation like Infowars, the UCP government should have hired Alex Jones. I mean three hour plus tantrums, ravings, screaming, drinking vodka, yelling, chest-punching, drinking more vodka would have been wildly more entertaining and informative than the rather anemic content that’s on the “Centre” website right now.

    $30M well wasted.

    As for the confusion over whether the Centre is subject to FIOP or not, well, that would just make the whole thing the worst run slush-fund ever. Isn’t that what this thing is? Giving stellar employment to a full-time partisan hack and failed UCP candidate is what’s waiting for anyone looking for easy living and the top dollars the UCP can throw. And if more funding is needed above that $30M, the absence of FIOP will take care of that. The Centre is going to have a crazy huge budget that no one will ever know about, because…CONs are running it.

    So, as the hilarity ramps up as the UCP’s version of Infowars (lite) gets itself into one pile of stupid after another, just keep this much in mind: Kenney wants Scheer out so bad, he’s ready to head to Ottawa and make semi-literate speeches every day of the week until Scheer throws in the towel. (It’s not like it was ever his towel anyway.) Kenney will make sure he’s so far away from the mayhem that’s coming, he will be able to declare that he was only a part-time premier and throw Jason Nixon under the bus. (Nixon will put up with it, because he gets to be premier, so there.)

    Reply
  13. Expat Albertan

    December 12th, 2019

    Given who is staffing this colossal waste of money for it looks like a $30 million wingnut welfare project.

    Reply
  14. Colino

    December 12th, 2019

    UCP’s answer to any criticism about Alberta oil “We’ll send the Gestapo!”

    Reply
  15. Political Ranger

    December 12th, 2019

    And so the Albaturda conservative tradition of spending huge amounts of cash on another favorite thing continues.
    A lot of hot air … a gasbag.

    When the dog bites
    When the bee stings
    When I’m feeling sad
    I simply remember my favorite things
    And then I don’t feel so bad

    Perhaps “a spoonful of sugar” might help?

    Reply
  16. Scotty on Denman

    December 12th, 2019

    Gosh! Frightful! What the—?

    Burning petroleum yields CO2. Because that’s a scientific fact, it’s true everywhere, whether the burning is done in Alberta or in China. We burn a lot of petroleum in Canada and that which we export gets burned, too, wherever it goes to. Because CO2 is a gas at atmospheric pressure, a small volume of petroleum fuel burned expands and yields a huge volume of gas, so huge we don’t have anywhere to put it, so we simply exhaust it into the air—euphemistically called “greenhouse gas emissions”. It follows that the more petroleum we develop for burning into the atmosphere, the more emissions there will be. That’s just a fact any school kid could figure out. In other words, it simply can’t be true that ” expanding access to Canada’s vast fossil fuel resources will significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

    It doesn’t matter how many times one says or screams that falsehood, it can never be true—except maybe if one believes in a fantasy world where the laws of physics do not apply. And to make that an effective policy would require that no school kids learned about the laws of physics or how the real world they inherit really works. Moreover, it would take some conscious effort to instill the notion into young minds that the science actually “landlocks” Alberta.

    So perhaps the real, ulterior purpose of the “war room” is to so diminish school-funding in the amount of money reallocated to this bogus, privatoid, corporate entity that the kids, so-deprived, are prevented from learning anything but the CECL’s ostensible twaddle, to head their educations off at the pass before they’re sharp enough to notice the mildly subtler transparencies their parents, mentors and guardians might of the CECL’s executive which is heavily populated with appointees with contacts to MSM —which in turn stands to clean up on much of that $30 million “war room fund” that their associated newspapers can secure for concocting and publishing said twaddle like the one cited—that burning petroleum reduces GHG emissions.

    Again let me forewarn my Albertan compatriots of our experience here in BC when our government interposed stealth between what they were doing with public money and citizens’ need to have accurate accounting of how the people’s business is being managed. BC premier Gordon Campbell created a corporate entity similar to the CECL in the sense that, as a supposedly “privatized” concern, its real owners —the citizenry—can’t see what’s going on with their own enterprise. That so-called “private-public” hybrid is still called “BC Ferries Services Inc”, supposed to be a private contractor whose books are its own business even though BCFS Inc is, like the ferries it operates, 100% publicly owned. The former BC Liberal government’s rationale was, ostensibly, to insulate the Crown Corp’s management from what it said was political interference from governing parties—referring to the immediately previous NDP government of Glen Clark which, during its last mandate, was unjustly smeared as culpable in what Campbell insinuated was political corruption because it commissioned the building of three FastCat ferries to BC shipyards which happen to be unionized—unions being particularly despised by the neo-rightists who deem the NDP’s endorsement and protection of workers’ constitutional right to organize unions a kind of conflict of interest. (By this standard, any government management of public enterprises is a conflict of interest—which is why the BC Liberals are hidebound by neo-right ideology that prescribes privatizing all public enterprises and services to let profiteering BC Liberal cronies ‘compete’ for the opportunity to provide public services for, presumably, less money.)

    Be careful, my friends: anytime a government throws a cloaking device over publicly funded operations, it does so to hide things the public would not approve of. While sometimes it’s prudent to do things the public is reluctant to do but, hidden away, citizens can’t see if the government is doing something merely politically unpopular or something worse: committing a provable breach of public trust—provable, that is, only if it could only be discovered.

    Given the BC Liberals’ ideological, highly chauvinistic, and professed enmity towards public enterprises and their record of lying and corruption convictions, their BCFS Inc creation could only look suspect when, immediately upon imposition, it appointed an exorbitantly numerous and expensive executive, a separate, highly-paid vice president for each and every ferry route (the comparable Washington State ferry system does without these offices and has a president paid many times less than the BCFS Inc president), spent tens of millions of dollars on unnecessary advertising (it’s a monopoly without competition), farmed most new ferry construction to foreign shipbuilders, all unionized in their own countries, at extra cost to us owners of the enterprise, apparently just to beggar unionized BC ship builders—who, unlike their foreign counterparts, vote in BC, probably for the BC Liberals’ arch rivals the socialist NDP. BCFS Inc commissioned a cable-ferry, rationalizing this unique non-boat with cost estimates so suspect that concerned citizens could easily fact check and refute—but which they had, BCFS Inc being an ostensible “private” corporation, no way of challenging or influencing (the result is a hugely expensive experiment that rather looks intent on sinking the system further into the red while providing inferior service for exorbitant ticket prices).

    Take heed, my fellow Canadians, the UCP “war room” CECL is very probably one of these saboteurs of public prosperity and accountability. It should be challenged in every way legally possible.

    Good luck, my friends!

    Reply
  17. Bill Malcolm

    December 12th, 2019

    On a completely selfish note from down here in the Maritimes, I heard with alarm the passing of one Andrew Scheer, noted nonentity, as “leader” of the Federal Conservatives. Too bad about the free tuition for his children to a private school paid for by his party, the decent free accomodations and chauffeur, and the extra pay being Leader of the Oppos meant. All gone! He’ll need some EI at the very least. Perhaps the job of stategist in the War Room would suit him. Staying on as MP would be an excruciating experience.

    If your scuzzball emperor now decides he should lead Canada to right wing doom and run for Scheer’s ex-job and succeed, I am under few illusions that his brand of glib and smarmy public lying, knife-in-the-back treatment of “friends”, and other signs of frustrated derangement couldn’t eventually somehow charm the average Canuck into making him PM. Our collective public memories seem to be about two weeks long. Then we’ve had it if what the man is doing to Alberta becomes a national phenomenon. A banana republic status then seems to be on the cards — our country run entirely at the pleasure of rampant corporatists who want us all to be quiet and work for peanuts while decamping with what few resources we have left, not counting tarsands.

    Perhaps the people of Alberta could then offer a memorial to Jason’s brief local rule. The opening of the Jason Kenney Tailing Ponds Provincial Park, complete with a modest bust of the man hisself at the entrance and a good selection of paddle boats within. It would be the hugest provincial park extant, a place for a family to enjoy several weeks jolly vacation in the unremediated ruin.

    Reply
  18. ronmac

    December 12th, 2019

    It won’t be long before the war room evolves into one of those sales flyers you find in your mailbox

    THIS WEEKEND ONLY!
    GIANT BITUMEN BLOWOUT SALE!
    SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!

    Reply
  19. Dave

    December 12th, 2019

    Maybe $30 million doesn’t get you much these days, but that’s quite the expensive underwhelming web site. I suppose it also does keep a few failed UCP candidates and various other UCP supporters with a background in newspapers gainfully employed for a while.

    I think like many of Mr. Kenney’s grand sounding ideas, the reality does not quite match the political hyperbole, but they have probably already laid off enough nurses and teachers thanks to the last budget that this questionable spending will at least not push the provincial government further into the red.

    I doubt many outside of Alberta will pay much attention to this war room, or whatever they prefer to call it now. Canadian Energy Centre at least sounds less war like, although it does have a vague passive aggressive ring to it.
    Might I suggest they call it the Canadian Energy Conspiracy Theory Centre instead? It will probably be what it eventually becomes.

    Reply
    • Keith McClary

      December 13th, 2019

      When I Google “Canadian Energy Centre”, the site comes up on the second page of search results. I guess they will fix this by throwing $ at search engine optimization consultants.

      Reply
  20. alan

    December 14th, 2019

    A “fact-based narrative about Canadian energy” that “will reject what is false and promote what is true.”

    Does that mean a concerted effort will be undertaken to educate all Alberta citizens about the physics, chemistry, and economic externalities/negative spillover effects of a global climate change experiment as it pertains to the burning of low EROI fossil fuels? That is, for example,”SUNY professor Hall estimates that for an industrial society to function and grow, EROI should measure at least five to nine. Oil from tar sands and shale does not make that cut.” Because, “the EROI for non-conventional oil, that is, oil produced from shale and tar sands, stands even lower, at about four.”

    Physical laws are immutable and no amount of partisan PR will change that fact.

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