U of A campus & Livestream • November 17–19, 2023
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Concurrent session

Truth, the First Casualty? War Rooms and Rumours of War Rooms


November 16, 2019 at 10:30am - 11:45am


Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex (ETLC), University of Alberta
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with David Climenhaga and Shannon Daub

This discussion considers the strange stories of Jason Kenney's "War Room" to challenge opponents of the fossil fuel industry and his tendentiously named "public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns." The panelists will consider the origins of the two initiatives as promises to the United Conservative Party's base, how they are being implemented as policy, potential problems for the UCP if they proceed as currently planned, and the meaning of subtle changes to the policy such as Mr. Kenney’s decision to call the War Room a "Communications Centre" when he's outside Alberta. They will consider the question of how, if the inquiry proceeds as supporters expect with opponents of oilsands expansion being grilled in public hearings, the inquiry seems likely to become mired court challenges, grandstanding by witnesses, and protests. In other words, an expensive gong show, of which Albertans may soon tire. Panelists will consider how this might be turned to the advantage of Canadians who hope their country will contribute to the international effort to reduce global climate change.

David J. Climenhaga is a journalist, author, post-secondary teacher, and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at the Toronto Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald. He is employed as a communications advisor by the United Nurses of Alberta union and publishes the AlbertaPolitics.ca blog, which is also reprinted on Rabble.ca.

Shannon Daub leads the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office and co-directs the Corporate Mapping Project. The project is investigating the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry in Canada, and is jointly led by the University of Victoria, the CCPA's BC and Saskatchewan offices, and Parkland Institute. She has extensively researched the role of corporate influence in shaping climate policy in Canada.