Alberta’s Energy ‘War Room’ Integrated Into Government Ministry

Alberta’s Energy ‘War Room’ Integrated Into Government Ministry
An oil pump jack pumps oil in a field near Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 21, 2014. (Reuters/Todd Korol/File Photo)
Jennifer Cowan

Alberta is shutting down the Canadian Energy Centre as a standalone entity, with plans to integrate the province’s so-called energy “war room” into an existing government department.

The Canadian Energy Centre (CEC), which was originally created to counter misinformation about Alberta’s oil and gas industry, will be blended into the Intergovernmental Relations department (IGR), a spokesperson for Energy Minister Brian Jean said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

“The Canadian Energy Centre (CEC) is an important advocate for Canada and Alberta’s long-term position as a safe, clean and responsible energy supplier,” the statement said.

“Resources such as CEC assets, intellectual property, and researchers will now be supporting IGR in order to seamlessly continue this important work.”

The shuffle does not mean the government has given up its efforts to support Alberta energy, the spokesperson said, adding that the CEC will continue to be “a strong advocate” and “will continue our fight to promote the energy sector.”

The CEC was founded as a private corporation in 2019 by then-premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative government to provide information on the province’s energy industry. The so-called war room was initially handed a $30 million annual budget.

The ministry has not said what the budget for the newly-integrated CEC will be or if the change will increase public access to information.

The Opposition NDP has criticized the “war room” as a waste of  taxpayer money, saying instead money should have been invested in reducing emissions.

Over the years, the “war room” has launched multiple billboard and advertising campaigns to promote Alberta oil as a clean, responsible option for other countries.

An annual report last September found that the CEC spent approximately $22 million on oil and gas advertising in the previous fiscal year. The ad and media campaign was to take place in Canada, the U.S., the UK, and Europe, according to the report, which offered few details on how the funds were allocated or the results it produced.

Other documents stated that the CEC placed ads in the Wall Street Journal for $159,593.51. Altogether, advertising directed toward the United States came to $1.7 million out of a total budget of $3.8 million. Of that, there was US$150,000 spent on “rapid response media criticism.”