The anti-Alberta energy investigation is a scandalous 657-page “Nothingburger”

After more than two years, $ 3.5 million, five missed deadlines, and hundreds of excuses from the UCP government, it was finally time for Albertans to see what the Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns had to do. say for herself. The conspicuous absence of both its author, Commissioner Steve Allan, and Prime Minister Jason Kenney, who had repeatedly promised that his investigation would get to the bottom of the global effort to stretch Alberta’s oil and gas industry, hinted that it was not going to be smoking. pistol that had been suggested. Energy Minister Sonya Savage, who was sent by herself to spin the report’s findings, confirmed it almost immediately.

Allan did not find any criminal offenses by environmental activists, he told reporters, much less the kind of elaborate conspiracy that people like Vivian Krause, who was accredited as the “base” of the research, they have been talking for years. Of the $ 1.28 billion in total foreign funding that went to “Canada-based environmental initiatives” between 2003 and 2019, more than one third he went to Ducks Unlimited, an organization that was not involved in anything that even looked like anti-energy activity.

In the end, Allan found just $ 54.1 million spread between 2003 and 2019 that went to “anti-Alberta resource development activity.” Annually, that’s about the same as the cost of the Allan Research to Alberta taxpayers. And it’s hard to believe that it could have made a huge impact in an industry where that amount of money is a rounding error for your annual income. Canadian Natural Resources, for example, made $ 17.2 million in profit every day in the second quarter of 2021.

Allan couldn’t even do the job Premier Kenney commissioned him to do in 2019, when said the investigation “would follow the money trail and expose all the interests involved.” As Allan admitted on page 13 of his report, “Ultimately, I was unable to accurately track the amount of foreign funds applied to the energy campaigns against Alberta.” Instead, the essential complaint at the end of this long and costly process appears to be that environmental organizations are good at their job. “Alberta’s energy industry has been materially affected by what was an excellent strategy that was well implemented and continues to be brilliantly executed to this day.”

Allan could have been more critical of the government’s energy war room, which has already received nearly as much government funding in two years as the ENGOs it investigated from foreign sources over two decades. “In the course of my interviews over the past 18 months,” he wrote, “the Canadian Energy Center has come under almost universal criticism. A vehicle like this may be necessary, assuming proper governance and accountability is in place, to develop a communications / marketing strategy for the industry and / or province, but it is quite possible that the reputation of this entity has been further damaged. . repair.”

The other unintentionally ironic aspect of his report was its call for more transparency and voluntary disclosure by environmental organizations, something Savage repeatedly echoed. “Corporations disclose their climate risk and ESG considerations because it is the right thing to do,” he said. “It is not because there is a law that forces them to do so. All we ask is that environmental organizations disclose the sources of their funding., when it is from another jurisdiction and what it is used for “.

Jason Kenney’s oil investigation against Alberta turns out to be a 657-page “burger with nothing.” @maxfawcett writes for @natobserver

Never mind, for the moment, the remarkably naive (and proven false) notion that climate disclosure is being driven by oil and gas companies and their sense of right and wrong. More interesting is the idea that the responsibility lies with the organizations investigated by the government and not the other way around.

After all, the government’s own war room was created to protect it from access to information requests and other attempts to compel disclosure. And there was no mention of whether industry organizations like the Canadian Petroleum Producers Association, which has some US-owned companies as members, should meet the same standard.

At his press conference to announce Allan’s report, Savage engaged in accidental honesty when he described it as “an important piece of history and a sad piece of history.” But amid all the scapegoats and subterfuges, Savage was right about one thing: Albertans, he said, should be outraged. “We have the right to be angry,” he told the New York Timesit’s Ian Austen.

We make. But that right has nothing to do with the content of the burger without anything from 657 pages they sent you to serve. Instead, we should be angry that our government refuses to entrust us with the truth about what is happening in and for the energy industry. We should be angry that the global energy transition, already underway and affecting Alberta communities, can be attributed to a small number of environmental activists and charities rather than financial markets and technology trends. And we should be angry because he is more interested in finding scapegoats than in solutions.

Some of that anger was expressed in this week’s municipal elections, where Calgary and Edmonton voters overwhelmingly rejected anyone with a passing affiliation with the PCU government. But there is still much more out there, given recent survey That says 75 percent of Albertans disapprove of the Kenney government, and 57 percent strongly disapprove. His plan to drive Albertans crazy and use the findings of Allan’s research to fuel that anger could backfire on them in a hurry.

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