December 27, 2019 David J. Climenhaga
Should we be worried about operatives employed by the Alberta government’s public-private “energy war room” masquerading as journalists?
Of course we should. But it’s also OK to be amused by the astonishing ineptitude with which they’re going about the task.
As King Solomon is said to have observed, pride goeth before destruction, so it’s unlikely the prideful United Conservative Party government of Premier Jason Kenney will do the smart thing and quietly move its so-called Canadian Energy Centre to the back burner of the stove.
But, good lord, you have to ask how long the three stooges who supposedly call the shots at government-owned but putatively “private” Canadian Energy Centre Ltd. — Sonya Savage, minister of energy; Doug Schweitzer, minister of justice; and Jason Nixon, minister of environment — are going to put up with management that seems to seriously mess up a couple of times every week.
The centre’s “punchy communications experts,” as Savage once called them, clearly aren’t cookin’ with gas, as the expression goes!
I speak, of course, of the Christmas Day revelation that the subject of one of the centre’s lame puff pieces, a Vancouver chef who really does cook with gas, is furious that a writer for the taxpayer-bankrolled digital fossil-fuel-industry propaganda house didn’t bother to explain exactly what the centre does when she called about a story on why professional chefs prefer to cook with gas, which is not exactly news. (Hint: You can set the heat just right.)
If the purpose of this exercise is to persuade Canadians in other provinces that the Alberta government is an honest broker, just setting the record straight on misleading statements about the province’s fossil fuel industry, making new enemies in British Columbia is surely not the right way to go about it.
In the normal course of events, in the normal sort of media, this kind of story would pass unnoticed on any day of the year, not just Christmas.
But when Donald Gyurkovits, who is also president of the Canadian Culinary Federation, publicly roasted the centre because he felt he’d been burned by the writer’s failure to tell him what the organization actually is, it quickly became a national story.
David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.