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Alberta Shuts Down Its “Energy War Room”

Alberta’s government has shut down a so-called energy war room, officially known as the Canadian Energy Centre, five years after it first floated the idea.

“After careful consideration, we will be integrating the mandate of the CEC into Intergovernmental Relations (IGR). Resources such as CEC assets, intellectual property, and researchers will now be supporting IGR in order to seamlessly continue this important work,” the Albertan government said in a statement, as quoted by Global News.

The idea of the Canadian Energy Centre was conceived in 2019 by the conservative government of the oil province in a bid to improve the public image of the crucial industry.

“For too long, the reputation of Alberta’s energy sector has been damaged by a deceitful campaign to landlock the oil sands,” Alberta’s energy minister Sonya Savage said at the time. “The Canadian Energy Center will focus on improving perceptions about the oil and gas industry,” Savage added and said the center would apply a “fact-based approach to counteracting the misinformation about our industry”.

The Global News report mentions the energy war room had a budget of some $16 million for fiscal 2021/22, which it used for ad campaigns at home and abroad. Details about the outcome of those campaigns were not available.

Meanwhile, earlier this year a member of the Canadian parliament proposed a bill that would ban advertising for the oil and gas industry. The MP, Charlie Angus, claimed that the oil and gas industry is causing more harm to people than smoking so following the logic that saw tobacco advertising banned, the same treatment should be applied to oil and gas.

“Big Oil has always relied on the Big Tobacco playbook of delay and disinformation and so to tackle this immense threat to human health, we need to use many of the strategies that finally took down Big Tobacco,” Angus said earlier this year.

The rest of Canada’s legislative representatives, however, seem to have misgivings about such a bill, notably members of the same part as Angus, the NDP, from oil-producing provinces.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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