Courageous (and funny!) Medicine Hat News Opinion piece by Jeremy Appel, ‘Energy war room an expensive joke at best,’ Inspires tart and bossy email from war room spin doctor, Grady Semmens, who previously spun at Cenovus (Encana spawn), Currently listed as executive for TransCanada Corp

Thank you Jeremy Appel, for your humour and courage! A breath of fresh, non-Alberta, air.

Is Grady Semmens still working for TransCanada Corp? As of Dec 16, 2019, he’s still listed as a TransCanada executive by Wall Street Journal.

Will the Medicine Hat News publish Grady Semmens’ order?

Nothing there as of 12:02 pm, Dec 18, 2019:

Opinion: Energy war room an expensive joke at best by Jeremy Appel, Medicine Hat News, Dec 14, 2019

“You can’t fight in here, this is the war room,” Peter Sellers says in the classic 1964 apocalyptic political satire “Dr. Strangelove.”

I’m reminded of this joke by Premier Jason Kenney’s announcement this week, unveiling a kinder, gentler war room than the vitriolic inquisition against “foreign-funded” environmentalists he promised on the campaign trail.

The war room has been rebranded the Canadian Energy Centre in a clear effort to detoxify its brand, but the purpose remains the same – to facilitate the province’s transformation into a full-blown petrostate.

CEO Tom Olsen – a former Calgary Herald journalist and failed UCP candidate – promised Tuesday that his propaganda apparatus will operate with “respect, civility and professionalism,” yet it’s entire premise is based on the notion that anyone who opposes oilsands expansion is a liar with ulterior motives.

The idea that environmentalists believe Canada in general, and Alberta in particular, ought to take responsibility for its highly disproportionate carbon emissions per capita, and start envisioning a future free of fossil fuels for planet’s betterment, is out of the question.

The centre’s $30 million budget is roughly equivalent to the $30 million being cut from the Calgary Board of Education’s budget.

But, we’ve been told by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, teachers are breeding the next generation of radical environmentalists by suggesting that critical thinking skills are also applicable to debates surrounding oilsands extraction. [!!!!!]

Remember, we’re at war. There’s no room for nuance here. [Roaring laughter!]

Even National Geographic – not exactly renowned as a hotbed of radical environmentalism – is in on the plot, publishing an article that called Fort McMurray the “most destructive oil operation” on the planet.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage wrote them a letter to express the government’s disapproval in June. [What an embarrassment the Kenney Goon gov’t is, and the oil and gas industry has turned itself into – Kenney would have never thought up the war room on his own. It’s an insulting taxpayer money grab by Encana/CAPP et al through and through]

Regardless of what one thinks of this frame of analysis – if there’s any value in labelling any one particular fossil fuel project the “most destructive” – it’s frightening when a government thinks they can determine what sorts of articles are fit for publication. [With Semmens having worked at Encana spawn Cenovus, there’s copying connection. Gerard Protti, when he was VP Encana, before the Alberta gov’t appointed him head cheese of the AER, wrote the Editor of Canadian Business Magazine ordering to never again publish works by world-renowned journalist Andrew Nikiforuk after his 2005 Coalbed Methane article, Life in a Science Project, was published clearly showing what a noisy, lying, community-dividing bully Encana is.]

Those expecting a modicum of transparency from the Canadian Energy Centre, whose entire premise is allegedly to enhance transparency among environmentalist critics, will be sorely disappointed.

The Canadian Energy Centre is a private corporation, so its inner workings are exempt from freedom of information legislation. [I doubt it’s possible for the gov’t to exempt its Pimp for Industry and Abuse Citizens Centre. FOIP the Centre – repeatedly – and let the Commissioner and her office rule on it.]

One of the warriors [ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! roaring laughter. too funny!] appointed to the energy centre – Fraser Institute alumnus Mark Milke – wrote a book called the “Victim Cult: How the culture of blame hurts everyone and wrecks civilizations.”

Apparently, this frame of analysis doesn’t apply to Alberta, which is being victimized from all sides – the federal government, environmental NGOs, National Geographic magazine and even its own teachers.

Amnesty International said in September it was “deeply concerned” the war room would be used “to cast a chill” on oilsands critics.

If Kenney was trying to demonstrate otherwise, he did a very poor job in his response, engaging in the crudest form of whataboutism imaginable, pointing to severe human rights abuses in other oil producing nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Iran.

Are Albertans supposed to pat themselves on the back because they don’t jail and execute dissidents, but merely dedicate public resources to their vilification and harassment without a shred of transparency?

Is “We’re not as bad as Saudi Arabia” the winning slogan that will attract investment to the oilsands? [giggle giggle, gafffaaaa]

At best, the war room is an expensive joke. At worst, it’s a grave threat to our right to dissent. [Amen!]

(Jeremy Appel is a News reporter. You can contact him by email at email hidden; JavaScript is required)

Some of the comments:

RW1960 says

The Alberta UPC government is destroying both the economy and the social fabric of this province. Nice to see the media finally calling it for what it is – dangerous.

nope says: How much did this reply cost Alberta taxpayers

Bill Little says:
Opinion piece is spot on. Lord knows we do not need any more idiotic propaganda. The economic problem is that the global price for oil has dropped. That’s it entirely. [AND COMPLETELY CAUSED BY OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY AND INVESTOR GREED!] No conspiratorial adversaries, no billionaire socialist environmentalists, no unequal federal transfer payments. We could ask why the province is so devastatingly exposed to the global markets in oil and the flighty foreign investors who flee at the first sigh of trouble, with all those juicy tax incentives and right offs. But it doesn’t take $30 million to figure it out. It’s time to deal with reality Albertans.


Best, this ridiculous response from Kenney’s Pimp for Industry War Room! Do they not know why opinion pieces are called opinion pieces?

Some of the tweets in response:

Jen Gerson@jengerson

The, uh, “war room” understands that no newspaper is obligated to carry its rebuttal, right?

Jeremy Appel @MHNJeremyAppel
Bring it on, war room #ableg

Laurie Adkin@LaurieAdkin Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Thank goodness there are still some independent journalists in Alberta. Stay strong! We value your voice, Jeremy Appel.

Alyssa Berry@Aly_B_YYC
Keep up the great work, Jeremy. The @MedicineHatNews is killing it lately.

JP Fair@JpFair
A non Postmedia paper.

Eric Wickham@ES_Wickham Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

Dear Mr. Appel,

First of all we’re not just an expensive joke, we’re a REALLY expensive joke.

Please run this as your lead story for the next two weeks.

The War Room [ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa!]

LMO@lmoconnor15 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Are they writing to tell you they will be writing to tell something? & insisting it be published gratis? A 30,000,000 budget & they want free space?! Ballsy. Or dense. I’m guessing dense….

Jackie@LeppardJ Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
And who gets to tell a newspaper that they want their submission run as an op ed? Pretty sure it wouldn’t work if I tried it.

J.J. Whelan@jimjameswhelan Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
The power of the government and our tax dollars being used to attack private citizens should worry all Albertans. This is a direct assault on our freedoms.

Jillian Ratti@JillianRatti Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I look forward to future provocations. The arrogance oozing from that email is quite phenomenal.

JC in a manger@JC_in_Calgary Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Congratulations on becoming an enemy of oil and gas jesus

JP Fair@JpFair Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
As the op-ed travels further and wider precisely because the war room gets involved. [Bullies seldom come with brains]

Val Jobson@softgrasswalker Replying to @BerndJochims @MHNJeremyAppel
Also, why are Albertans paying for the war room when the oil industry should pay for it? They should also be cleaning up all their old oil wells and sites.

Martin Badke, CJL@lauxmyth Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Nice that we can all email directly to the war room now. Ask for sources for his alternative facts.

M Bertocchi@bertocchitalk Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @DrJayDrNo
This is great. You’ve got my follow and I’m sure many other new followers. This “war room” is a tragic joke.

Danoooooo@dan_dd Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I guess at least once per century the Alberta government feels the urge to control the press and force publishing of rebuttals?

Canadian Albertan@CanadianAlbert1 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
This should be fun!

MishMash@MishMas78236470 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I can’t imagine how many washed up communications people the war room needs for their futile battle. Keep up the good work Jeremy.

Wes Bell@WesBellPhoto Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @MarieFrRenaud
I guess since the Canadian Energy Centre is a private corporation they can pay for their clarification in the form of an advertisement?

Tyler Olsen@ty_olsen Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
You need to thread this with a link to the column to take full advantage of the Streisand effect.

Aunty Occam@vorrell Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I can’t believe we are paying for this crap.

Michael C D’Souza@dsouzamichaelc Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Is the paper sending them a rate card for the ad they want to run?

Rabid Feminist@debbie_trumbley Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Aaaaannndddd…that’s a follow.

Go get ’em.

Kelly Woolsey@KelWoolsey Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
And BOOM, the WAR MACHINE doubles your follower count.

The Cranky Centrist@CrankyCentrist Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Heyyyyy didn’t the provincial government try doing this to newspapers in the 30s? [Kopy Kat Kenney!]

Not sure about the province. But Hitler sure did.

Michael Barnard@mbarnardca Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
This reminds me of the Global CCS Institute “rebuttal” of a Forbes piece of mine on carbon capture where they simply repeated what I’d said, asserted I was wrong on each point and neglected to provide any evidence. I’ve made sure I mention them regularly since. 😉

Benjamin Rowley@benrowley78 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @SpunkyAlternate

This is awesome I am glad to see @MedicineHatNews stand up to lies coming from the War Room!!

WESTERN PHOTOWERKS@WesternPhotoWrk Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Pretty sure with all the new followers that if the UCP wants their propaganda published they can afford 10x the going advertising rate. Although I personally would have more fun telling them you don’t cater to their kind. 😉 if you choose the latter can I make the call for you?

Laurie Adkin@LaurieAdkin Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Oh right, National Geographic, too. Thanks for the reminder. Goes on the #helptheCEC list.

Alison@AckAlison Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Ok you got my follow lol

Jim Bahr@jwildthingy Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I wonder if Semmens would like to “clarify comments and inaccuracies” in court documents, too?

Max Crashington@crashusmaximus Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
What’s that? @jkenney and @MattWolfAB are nervous about us hearing what you have to say?

Eithan P@EithanPoe Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

We should all take the opportunity to email email hidden; JavaScript is required
Or better yet! Sign this email up for all sorts of internet shenanigans #antiwarroom [Roaring laughter!]

Michael@garrattguy Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Kudos to the war room people for bringing Mr. Appel’s (followed) interesting and informative column to a wider audience. Without their missive to him I would have missed it.

Candis Jones@candyjon Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @charlesadler
Ohhh can’t wait to read that!!

Husband of Sharon@husbandofsharon Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
wow- dont stop!!

WylieDeeds@DeedsWylie Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
That earned a follow.

haydenbear@haydenbear2 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Are you the first to have this happen to so far that you know of

Curt Moll@HatLawnBowler Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @HandmaidAlberta
Congrats on being one of the first targeted by the war room! #ableg #wasteofmoney #greatarticle

Glenn Finockio@gfinockio Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I hope your editorial staff says no.

Loki Odinson of the Jotunheim@Loki_Lyesmythe
I want them to post it with a rebuttle beside it pointing out the flaws in the argument

Richard Fantin@RichardFantin Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I hope that you and your employer are directing them to post their “clarification” on their own crappy publication, that has no comments, no likes, no feedback of any kind for those it accuses to “clarify”.

Suburban Voyeur ™️@subvoyeur Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Propaganda from the province of Alberta

A. Mackay@ABM_paints Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

Wait… how is the War Room a “private corporation” exempt from FOI if it’s funded with millions of dollars of public money?!

Bethankit Hums@tangibullah
Obviously too complicated for ordinary people to understand. 🙄

Laraine Hess@LaraineHess Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
You know what to do. Let them publish their own crap in their own publication.

bureaucrat@somewhatcivil Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
“Would you like a half or quarter page? How many colours? Sure, here’s the rate sheet.”

Zacaubr High-Leggett@OmniZ815 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Hey Jeremy, just a head’s up that I’ll get you 2500 words about why the GoBots are actually better than Transformers by Tuesday afternoon. If you could have that printed in Wednesday’s edition that would be swell. Ta!

Michael Bueckert@mbueckert Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I hope that by setting their petro-propagandists on you, this will give more exposure to your excellent op-ed. Everyone should read and share:

Chistina Anne@LACGFY Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
You go, Jeremy! This Ontarian is in your corner, if that means anything at all! This outright @YourAlberta nonsense must stop.

Margaret Tuberose@MargaretTubero2 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Anti-environment propaganda from people who want the world to burn.

Bailrs@bailrs Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
@MHNJeremyAppel a beacon of light in a city of rednecks

Edwin@edwinmundt Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @markusoff
Didn’t William Aberhart pull this shit? How did that work out? #ableg

I was just going to say that about a government from the 30s. But methinks the Journal won’t be part of any Pulitzer awards this time around.

Farging Icehole@pettydredful Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

Alberta Resistance@ResistanceAB Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
So they want you to run one of their propaganda opinion pieces? Please for the sake of democracy do NOT allow them to publish their garbage in the news.

HRH Jason Bumbles Kenney of Alberta@Jason_Kenocchio Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
High Inquisitor Savage of the Ministry of Proper Though as deemed you guilty of UnAlbertan Thought. You are to report immediately to re-EDucation center for assignment to a Carbon mind. You will be permitted to re-enter society once you are proven to be a real Albertan.

Jacob Wohl’s Greasy Forehead@basedlefty Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
Y’all can choose to simply not publish their response right..?

Colin@Cman284 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

DC@ta06 Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel

If Kenney’s propaganda room considers you “wrong” then you must have said something smart.

McLeod Free Library@LFL_McLeod Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel @sdbcraig
get their ass

Kris@krishekay Replying to @MHNJeremyAppel
I’ll subscribe if you treat it like any opinion you receive. So no full page reprint.

Refer also to:

Hey Kenney! Grant Collies: “Tom Olsen from this point onward shall be known as Stupid Goebbels.” Arthur Vandalay: “It’s not a war room against anti-oil types. Its a war room against truth.” Claude DeRoche: “$30 million! Enough to hire 500 nurses!”

Muttart Foundation letter to UCP’s Witch Hunt Chief Steve Allen says inquiry is “polarizing, undemocratic and unfounded.” Privacy and legal experts question Kenney War Room’s FOIP exemption, raise privacy concerns

Another oil company punts workers, scurries away under AER’s armpits and our courts. Houston Oil & Gas, Calgary-based, put into receivership, leaves 1,300 wells, 41 facilities, 251 pipelines to be cleaned up by Santa Claus at cost of over $81.5M (Take the money from Kenny’s $30M War Room and Steve Allen’s $2.5M Witch Hunt, etc)

2019 12 16, Nikiforuk: Crazy Days in Alberta: The Poison Wells File, The province let oil and gas firms create a $100-billion disaster. They expect you to foot the bill.

Hilarious comment by what appears to be a Kenney War Room employee (shill), his very first comment on disqus, and some wise responses:

Ian Thomson [posted on Dec 17, 2019, his only comment on diqus as of that date]:

Your description of the RETC is inaccurate bordering on irresponsible. The RETC does not have taxpayers funding $700mm in decommissioning costs but is a flow through share structure providing the citizens of Canada the opportunity to invest in the closure of inactive wells. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!] The provincial and federal government subsidies largely equate to the taxes generated from increased employment and service industry revenue. With this program Canada will become the most proactive well decommissioning country in the world aside from work being done in the North Sea.

I have read your columns numerous times and understand your ideology but a little more investigation on your part in this instance would have been nice. People have to realize there is a cost to energy however it is produced save solar which can not replace the country’s demand. Hydro produces material amounts of GHGs as recently reported and nuclear is without a decommissioning solution yet. Canfund paid for by Canadians for the benefit of Central Canada has a grossly underestimated liability in accordance with the Auditor General and MUST be funded by the “taxpayer”. The oilpatch is corporately responsible for every single well that has been drilled in Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, Manitoba and Quebec. These wells have/continue to produce economic benefit from coast to coast while producing a commodity which if eliminated, as many protest for, would lead to catastrophic consequences without a viable alternative.

JuHoansi to Ian Thomson
I found one of Jason Kenney’s ‘war room’ propaganda trolls!!

dda to JuHoansi
On their ‘first’ comment, too!
I would expect the Tyee to be a ‘prime’ target.

G West to Ian Thomson
‘An opportunity to invest.’ You MUST BE JOKING!
JESUS CHRIST, George Orwell must be spinning in his grave…the Oil and Gas industry in this country has been the recipient, over the decades since 1947, of a King’s ransom of tax deferrals and depletion allowances from the Canadian ‘taxpayer’ while AB residents have chortled into their beer about the fact that none of them, over the years, have paid a penny in provincial sales tax: CLEAN UP YOUR OWN GOD DAMNED mess and pay for it yourselves. You’ve now managed to hoodwink the current federal gang into buying a used up pipeline with a promise to double or triple its throughput – every Canadian taxpayer outside of Ab to the contrary. What more could you possible want?

anne cameron to G West
You can be sure they’ll want more more more more

Sandro Laudadio to Ian Thomson
Ian Thomson’s post adds new shades of meaning to the word ‘preposterous’.

ScottyonDenman to Ian Thomson

anne cameron to Ian Thomson • 12 hours ago
cow cack!

puppyg to Ian Thomson
…mine …shaft.

Ron Martin to puppyg
C’mon now, all you naysayers. Didn’t you read the part about “providing the citizens of Canada the opportunity to invest in the closure of inactive wells”? For decades Albertan governments have been shitting in their collective beds. Now they are telling us to change the sheets because it will make us feel good, even philanthropic. What could be wrong with that?

Happy Hallowe’en to you and yours, from the back door to Steve Allen’s War Room Inquiry in Alberta!

The reason for Jason Kenney’s $30 Million Gift-to-Industry War Room – Vivian Krause – dropped as keynote speaker at Banff business communications conference

Greta makes history in Edmonton Alberta leading thousands; “War Room” Premier Jason Kenney runs away, showing the world his true colours. “Those pigtails are pretty intimidating.” 10,000 – 12,000 citizens rally at the legislature, drowning out 30 pro-oil honking driving UnitedWeRollers

“The orks are getting nervous.” Big Bad Powerful CAPP afraid of Greta? Oil industry’s cowardice the real reason for Jason Kenney’s anti-information, private corporation Canadian Energy Propaganda Centre? Steal from citizens to give polluters the loudest voice? CAPP is foolish to whine, but wise to be afraid. Greta has more power than Alberta’s unethical war room, no matter how much money it eats or how many media lie for it.

Rob Schwartz, past Director of Alberta Surface Rights Group, on Jason Kenney’s War Room: “CTV produces ‘The Amazing Race Canada’ and UCP produces ‘The Amazing Shit Show Alberta’”

Alberta’s $30 Million Taxpayer-funded Pathetic *Private Corporation* (to sneak around FOIP Law, keep the room undemocratic?) Propaganda War Room. Will it pimp Kenney up or be more Hanky Panky failure, costing six times AER’s ICORE?

The Hanky Panky Continues! Kenney’s newly named War Room, “Alberta Energy Information Centre,” gets another new name: “Canadian Energy Centre” and it sounds like AER’s/Jim Ellis’ ICORE on steroids! UCP failed candidate, Tom Olsen, hired as manager, reportedly to get $195,000.00 salary. “Spin pays big time in Alberta.”

Mega list of bankrupt companies! Kenney’s $30 Million McCarthyism War Room renamed “Alberta Energy Information Centre” (AER’s 100%-industry-funded ass): PetroPimps’ Propaganda Hanky Panky Bunker to Spy ‘n Lie for CAPP ‘n Koch ‘n Encana ‘n Harper? Just New West Partnership cont’d?

Jason Kenney gives multi-billion dollar profiting companies a taxpayer-funded war room to abuse citizens concerned about industry’s rampant life-threatening pollution: Suncor tarsands revenue up from $11.2 to $12 billion between 2017 and 2018 when companies whined about how hard it was to operate in Canada; CNRL boosted its revenue from $7.1 to $11.5 billion

Oh Frac’d U of Alberta! VP university relations, Jacqui Tam, resigns over controversial ‘Beefier Barley’ billboard pimping global warming as beneficial. Brazenly working for polluters or warming up Alberta’s nefarious War Room?

Jason Kenney’s (CAPP et al’s) War Room swamped by fightin’ mad Albertans falling for lies & propaganda instead of looking honestly at industry’s greed-induced “de-manning” killing jobs & causing their suffering

Sputtering laughter! Watch the news clip! Jason Kenney’s corporate welfare war room launches $2.5M inquiry into magic land

EUB/ERCB/AER’s Charter-Violating, Abusive, Cowardly McCarthyism expands to UCP Party: War room set for Calgary to attack courageous citizens concerned about Alberta’s deregulated frac-frenzied polluting, health-harming free-for-alls

Jason Kenney’s approval rating plummets in the wake of steep Alberta budget cuts, Kenney is now the third-least popular premier among the provinces included in the poll, a startling drop from September when he was third from the top

Kopy Kat Kenney Check:


2012: Energy Literacy in Canada by the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

2013: Canadian Geographic accused of spreading CAPP oil and gas ‘propaganda’ in schools, including to Grade 3′s

End Kopy Kat Kenney Check

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