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The war room will war on, vows Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage

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Image: David J. Climenhaga​

Political commentators and professional gag writers breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when they learned from Canadian Energy Centre Ltd. director and Energy Minister Sonya Savage that Alberta's "energy war room" will live to fight another day for oil.

Savage told reporters at an impromptu news conference in Calgary that the war room's problems are all the result of the nefarious work of "environmental activists and the green left," who have targeted the publicly funded but completely private corporation.

And she knows how these red greens operate, Savage explained, having observed their misdeeds during her 13 years as a big shot in the fossil fuel industry. "I saw that kind of organized campaign unfold," she said after doing duty as the keynote speaker at a luncheon of the Famous 5 Foundation.

"It was always going to be targeted," she complained as the reporters scribbled, or however they take notes nowadays. (Your blogger must trust the stenography of the Calgary Herald's reporter. At the time, he was attending a meeting of college professors and the like at an undisclosed location on an Edmonton university campus.)

What Savage witnessed, presumably, would explain how barely a day has gone by since the Calgary-based war room was formally announced two months ago by Savage and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney without what the Herald's scribe politely referred to as "gaffes and missteps." (The efforts of the crack team of former Fraser Institute and Calgary Herald apparatchiks inside the war room have been described in less complimentary terms in the blogosphere and social media.)

"Maybe we didn't understand how much it was going to be targeted and how much effort was going to be put into it, but that being said, we're not stopping," the energy minister/public-private corporate boss defiantly declared.

Well, thank God for small mercies! If The Globe and Mail had had its way, today could have been the day the laughter died.

Just three days ago, that well-known hotbed of European greens, vegan extremists and Marxist economists on Toronto's King Street East editorialized that the time has come to pull the $30-million-a-year clown car off the information highway lest someone get hurt while it "lurched from pillar to post."

"It is, in short, a political PR operation dressed up in journalist-face," huffed one of the Globe's masters or mistresses of editorial sanctimony. "It's an agency of government, masquerading as an independent news organization. That is wrong."

"It also isn't working," the editorial continued, leaving readers to fill in the obvious blank: Please leave the defence of petroleum where it belongs, in the hands of the professionals here on King Street, thank you very much!

"The centre is not salvageable," the Globe concluded grimly. "It should be closed."

Savage's riposte: No soap! The war room will live on, as long as there's a grain of oily sand left in Alberta!

So the remarkable career of war room commandant Tom Olsen will continue, like a morning stroll down Bamburgh Castle beach, the wreckage safely forgotten behind him.

The Famous 5 Foundation, a "woman-focused non-profit" with a decidedly Conservative tilt to its membership -- former Calgary Herald managing editor Joan Crockatt, briefly a Conservative Calgary MP, says on her Wikipedia page she was a "mentor" to the organization in the 1990s -- can get back to doing good deeds.

And, whatever those red greens referenced by Savage get up to, Red Green remains a great Canadian!

As for the media, the part of the story it didn't bother to ask about or comment on was what the heck the war room is doing with $30-million per annum, as it most certainly isn't going to the bare-bones propaganda website operated by Olsen or the shabby corporate office it works from.

If some Albertans smell a rat, apparently even the sensitive noses at The Globe and Mail haven't noticed a thing.

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 his blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: David J. Climenhaga​

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