The Alberta government has been recognized with a federal award, but it might not be one it will boast about. It has received the Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy by a group of press-freedom advocacy groups.
In their announcement, particular attention is paid to the Canadian Energy Centre, or energy war room, which was launched in June 2019. Its goal is to counter what the government misinformation and attacks on Alberta’s energy sector with an original budget of $30 million.
The journalist groups note that critics say the war room is “an attempt to silence those who would tell the truth about Alberta’s oil patch and its contribution to the existential threat of global climate change.”
“George Orwell’s 1984 was written as a warning. But, increasingly, it seems Premier Jason Kenney’s government in Alberta is using it as a handbook,” they write.
The award is given out annually by the Canadian Association of Journalists, Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University, News Media Canada, and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression to a government or agency that denies public access to government information that the public has a right to access.