The UCP announced the energy war room has been legally incorporated under the name Canadian Energy Centre (CEC).
“I think it would look rather unusual to have a corporation called War Room Inc.,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “Besides the Energy Centre more accurately reflects the kind of role it will play.”
Savage said that the CEC has an active Managing Director, former UCP candidate Tom Olsen, who will begin the process of finding a location and hiring staff.
“We set it up as a corporation to be more efficient. One of the goals of the Energy Centre is to respond rapidly and to anticipate what is coming at it. We just felt within that structure it gave it more freedom to be efficient.”
Savage says the CEC will have three separate units, rapid response, energy literacy as well as a data and research unit.
The CEC will be overseen by a board comprised of the Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon.
“I think this government is spending 30 million dollars for a soft landing of one of their failed candidates,” said NDP MLA Irfan Sabir. “There are better ways to go about it… Not attacking other Canadians and creating a twitter machine.”
“The Alberta energy sector is the beating heart of the Canadian economy. This is a Canadian issue, not just an Alberta issue,” said Savage.
Savage also said if other provinces wanted to be involved in the CEC they would be welcome.
“There’s definitely been some interest, in speaking to other provinces, on what the CEC will be doing.”
The CEC was proposed to combat what Premier Kenney called “lies and misinformation” about Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
“There will be social media, there will be traditional media, there will be speaking engagements, anything you can utilize to get the story out because over the last decade that story has been framed and that narrative has been set by opposition to the oil and gas sector,” said Savage.
“I didn’t see anything (on) how this twitter machine will help us get our product to market, how it will help us build the Transmountain Pipeline,” said Sabir.
The CEC will be based in Calgary, has a $30 million budget and is expected to be running by Christmas.