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Alberta’s new premier building ‘war room’ to counter green activist groups

The Globe and Mail

Alberta’s premier-designate Jason Kenney says he plans to dip into the private sector as he staffs a campaign-style “war room” to push back against environmental groups and negative media coverage of the province’s oil industry.

Alberta premier-designate Jason Kenney walks out of a meeting with outgoing NDP Premier Rachel Notley, in Edmonton, on April 18, 2019.JASON FRANSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Mr. Kenney, who is preparing to be sworn in as premier April 30 after his United Conservatives won this week’s election, campaigned on a promise to devote $30-million to respond to “lies and myths” about Alberta’s energy sector. The energy war room was part of a suite of platform promises designed to challenge outside forces Mr. Kenney blames for pinning down the Alberta oil industry at a time when the province’s economy is already suffering.

“Both the industry and governments of different partisan stripes have not been fast enough to respond to the incoming attacks,” Mr. Kenney told reporters after meeting with outgoing NDP Premier Rachel Notley in Edmonton on Thursday.

The war room would be part of the province’s public affairs bureau, and he suggested prospective staff with private-sector experience who have a “creative” approach to communications would be the best fit.

Mr. Kenney has complained that environmental groups have peddled misinformation about the oil industry and used foreign funding to wage public-relations and legal fights to block new pipelines.

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