Postmedia gives Albertans one more reason to drink on this May Long

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon announced through press release and a video on YouTube that the “war on fun” being waged by the “nanny state” was coming to an end as the government relaxes alcohol restrictions at festivals and in parks, including lifting the annual ban on liquor in provincial campgrounds over the May long weekend.

Kenney referenced prohibition-era laws in the video, but the May long weekend ban at some provincial campgrounds was only first imposed in 2004, when Ralph Klein was premier of Alberta. Klein had supposedly sworn-off alcohol by that point in his political career but he could hardly be described as a prohibitionist.

We are confident that this proactive approach will aid in making some of Alberta’s most popular provincial parks safer and more enjoyable places for families to camp on long weekends,” said then-Minister of Community Development Gene Zwozdesky in the press release announcing the temporary liquor ban.

The 2004 government press release reinforced the reason for the ban: “During the 2003 May long weekend, there were a total of 239 recorded liquor-related enforcement action occurrences in Alberta’s 68 provincial parks, including written warnings, charges, arrests and evictions.”

Campers in parks across Alberta will find out quickly whether this or future May long weekends result in a return to the alcohol-fuel chaos that led to the ban in the first place. 

Giving Albertans another reason to drink this weekend is Postmedia Network Inc.

The company that owns the Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Sun and Edmonton Journal and dozens of other daily and local newspapers in Alberta and across Canada has hired a lobbyist to “to discuss ways Postmedia could be involved in the government’s energy war room.”

The registered lobbyist hired by Postmedia is Wellington Advocacy CEO Nick Koolsbergen, who served as United Conservative caucus chief of staff and the party’s campaign director in the April 2019 election. Koolsbergen announced on Twitter days after the election that was leaving the UCP to “to spend some time in the private sector.” He soon after announced he was starting a new lobbyist company with former federal Conservative staffer Rachel Curran.

During the election campaign, Kenney pledged to fund a $30-million “war room” to respond to critics of the oil and gas industry, including environmental groups and Bill Nye (the Science Guy). The energy war room is essentially a $30-million public relations subsidy for some of the wealthiest corporations operating in Canada’s oil and gas sector.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage is reported to have said more information about the war room will be released soon. Criticism of the new UCP government is expected to increase as Nixon moves to repeal the entire Climate Leadership Plan implemented by the previous New Democratic Party government led by Rachel Notley.

It would appear that Postmedia is fishing for a cut of the war room advertising money, likely for its “Content Works” division, which creates advertisements in the style of an editorial or news article. Literal fake news funded by taxpayers. The whole thing stinks.

Postmedia’s conservative editorial bias is well-known. Despite attempts by some local editors-in-chief to maintain local autonomy, the Toronto-based company has in required its newspapers to publish prescribed election endorsements of Conservative parties across the country.

This is not the first time Canada’s largest media company has become involved with oil and gas industry advocacy. In 2014, it was revealed that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers made a pitch to Postmedia Network’s board of directors to create an “Energy Channel Sponsorship” for Postmedia newspapers to “amplify” CAPP’s “energy mandate.”

Some of the largest energy companies have been accused of spending $1 billion to undermine efforts to combat climate change over the past decade.

And as Postmedia is positioning itself for a role in the war room, its CEO Paul Godfrey is one of the key players agitating for funding from a new $595 million federal government media fund.

So this weekend as you relax in your lawn chair in one of Alberta’s beautiful provincial parks, forget about toasting a monarch who has been dead for 118-years, as Kenney and Nixon did in their video. Instead, raise a responsible drink or two for efforts to combat climate change, the freedom of the press, and for those poor reporters working for Postmedia who are just trying to do good journalism despite the best attempts of their bosses in Toronto.

5 thoughts on “Postmedia gives Albertans one more reason to drink on this May Long

  1. ronmac

    Maybe Postmedia will be able to tap into the media slush fund recently announced by the feds set up to help established brand name news organizations. So this Energy war room will end up in a roundabout way being funded by both levels of government.

    Reply
  2. Troy

    Oh please, I didn’t hear you calling it an industry subsidy when the NDP spent tens of millions on Keep Canada Working to promote Trans Mountain and a lot of that money went to national advertising on TV and print. It’s perfectly normal for any media company to seek out advertising opportunities when it’s public knowledge that millions will be spent on an advocacy campaign. What’s the difference between the NDP campaign and a Conservative ‘war room’ except some tone and language, the goal was/is the exact same.

    Reply
    1. Sandra Li

      Oh save your exasperation and defence of Conservative media. Like they need more support. There is a difference between an advertising campaign and a directed effort to clamp down on dissenting opinions, otherwise known as Kenney’s “war room.” You can bet that the Kenney government’s demand that universities open up campuses to “free speech” isn’t meant to attract Marxists and Satanists either. The lifting the ban on alcohol photo-op is just a ploy to make him seem like less of a small “c” conservative stick in the mud. When I think fun-loving, the UCP is the last thing that comes to mind.

      Reply
  3. Bob Raynard

    They couldn’t even bother to go outside to make it look more like they were in a campsite when they set up there photo-op? Maybe they were worried it would make them look (even more) like Bob & Doug MacKenzie.

    Reply
  4. Geoffrey Pounder

    Isn’t Postmedia already involved in Alberta’s ‘energy war room’?
    Every last one of Postmedia’s pundits is an oil industry cheerleader. Postmedia doesn’t have one pro-environment, anti-fossil fuel, climate activist writer.

    Day after day, Postmedia’s scribblers regurgitate the same talking points from CAPP, Vivian Krause, and Ethical Oil. Banging the drum for new pipelines. Attacking environmentalists and ENGOs. Trumpeting First Nation support for “development” while sidelining indigenous opposition. Ignoring climate change. Flouting IPCC warnings.
    What more could Postmedia possibly do?

    Reply

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