What is Jason Kenney's 'energy war room' good for? - 2019-06-21
When Jason Kenney was on the campaign trail—where he spent most of the last three years—he repeatedly vowed to change the entire story of Alberta's oil and gas industry. He would create a "fully staffed, rapid response war room" and place it under unwavering orders to "effectively rebut every lie told by the green left." True to his word, he has wasted little time as premier before taking action.
In early June, as a pro-industry rally gathered thousands outside a Calgary oil industry conference and the Senate debated the merits of an oil tanker ban, Kenney officially launched his Energy War Room. By the end of the summer, he said, the war room would have a permanent office in Calgary, a full-time staff of government employees, the freedom to bring in outside contractors, and a budget of $30 million (paid for in part by revenues from the emissions levy his government was bringing in to replace the carbon tax – an elegant touch).
In fact, the war room was already on the case. The Alberta government had just launched a $3-million campaign to lobby in favour of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, consisting of websites, social media accounts, and targeted display advertising in Ottawa, where a heretofore pipeline-loathing MP just might pass by and find enlightenment. (Early days and a modest budget, to be sure, but perhaps such a campaign could convince even a Liberal government so fully of the pipeline's merits that it would purchase the project outright and then approve it for a second time at the next available opportunity. Dare to dream.)