Posted on Jan 6, 2020

Kenny's war room is a costly, ridiculous failure and must be scrapped

Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to scrap his $30-million-per-year “War Room” after a series of credibility-destroying fiascos and failures.

“The so-called ‘Canadian Energy Centre’ spends $82,000 of Alberta taxpayers’ money every single day, but hasn’t created anything but ridicule. It’s doing nothing to advance the cause of Alberta’s energy sector and has only, if anything, created a new platform for opponents of our oil and gas industry,” said Irfan Sabir, NDP Official Opposition Energy Critic. “As Premier Kenney develops Budget 2020, he can find an easy savings of $30 million each year by scrapping this spectacular failure.” 

In less than a month of operation:

  1. The CEC’s original logo was quickly identified as a direct copy of a US software company, the error could have been easily avoided with a simple Google reverse image search at no cost.
  2. The replacement logo is a modification of yet another software company’s logo, which is considering legal action. This could also have been discovered in seconds, for free.
  3. The CEC tried to intimidate a Medicine Hat News writer over an unflattering column but only succeeded in making the writer an “instant resistance hero”.
  4. The CEC attempted to intimidate a school district for hosting an environmental speaker, who was later featured in national news stories about the attempt.
  5. A writer for the CEC impersonated a reporter to interview a BC restaurant industry advocate, who denounced the CEC and voiced their opposition to the TransMountain Expansion pipeline in national media when they learned the truth.
  6. The Canadian Association of Journalists condemned CEC staff for impersonating journalists.
  7. CEC videos were so overwhelmingly downvoted on YouTube they had to turn off the counter and have now seemingly abandoned the platform entirely.
  8. The CEC still has a smaller social media audience than accounts set up to parody it.
  9. Presented as a “rapid-response unit,” the CEC website Terms of Use note that “any of the material on the Website may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no obligation to update such material.”
  10. Presented as a body to correct “misinformation,” the CEC website Terms of Use note that “we do not warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of this information.”

“We have no problem with the Government of Alberta speaking up for our energy industry,” Sabir said. “But you can do that without setting up a private company immune to public oversight, paying a commercial real estate lease, with a bloated budget, a failed UCP candidate to run it, and no metrics to judge its success.

“The incredibly poor execution of this bad idea would be hilarious if it wasn’t costing Alberta taxpayers so much while they’re being stuck paying more personal income tax, more property tax, more school fees, and more tuition. Every Albertan can think of a better use for $82,000 a day. Premier Kenney must stop this farce.”