Alberta now says energy war room not subject to freedom of information laws as a private corporation

The Alberta government now says that Minister of Energy Sonya Savage misspoke Wednesday, when she told reporters that the government’s new Canadian Energy Centre, set up to combat what the government sees as misinformation about the energy industry, would be subject to freedom of information laws.

EDMONTON—The Alberta government’s new war room, recently named the Canadian Energy Centre (CEC), will be a private entity owned by the province and not subject to freedom of information laws after all, a spokesperson clarified Thursday.

In a press conference the day before, Minister of Energy Sonya Savage told reporters that the body would be open to requests under Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

FOIP allows journalists and members of the public to ask for documents, specific communications and certain other information about public bodies or organizations.

However, Christine Myatt, press secretary to the premier, sent a statement to reporters Thursday saying that the minister “was not sufficiently clear regarding FOIP legislation’s applicability to the CEC.”

“The CEC’s internal operations are not subject to FOIP, as this would provide a tactical and/or strategic advantage to the very foreign-funded special interests the CEC is looking to counter,” wrote Myatt. “For example, we would not let those foreign-funded special interests seeking to attack our province see our detailed defence plans.”

During the election campaign, and up until recently, the centre has been known as the “Energy War Room” — mandated with combating what the Alberta government sees as misinformation about the oil and gas industry in social and traditional media. The Alberta government accepts the controversial theory that a foreign funded campaign of misinformation has been deployed in Canada specifically to landlock Alberta oil — hamstringing the economy.

Critics suggest it is the stuff of conspiracy theories and the Opposition NDP say the war room doesn’t do anything to help get Albertans back to work. MORE

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