Chris Pecora

Inside the War Room

Pushing back against Bigfoot.

By Fred Stenson

Today’s agenda is not long but it is meaty, so I suggest we dispense with formalities such as the Prayer of Thanks for Alberta Oil and move directly to our action items and new business.

Under new business, could we review the current status of our monitoring of individuals and associations hostile to this War Room and Alberta’s oil industry; also the American oil industry? Are we up to date there?

Jake, please. How often do I have to inform you that S-P-Y is a word never to be used in this room—unless someone were to S-P-Y on us. Simply tell me what our monitoring has produced. Has there been any sign, for example, of a state enemy crossing the Horgan–Kenney line? Good. Any other incursions by known enemies of the oil industry in our state… our province, rather? And bear in mind we do not, in order to show our tolerance, admit to monitoring independent writers or newspapers from this province.

Crying out loud, Jake, The Tyee isn’t from Alberta! So it doesn’t count. Yes, we did harass the Medicine Hat News somewhat. I admit. Just a little shakeup. Let ’em know we’re here type of thing.

But what about socialist billionaires from the US whose names end with Soros? Any floods of money from there into, say, the mountain coal-mining brouhaha? Jake, I’ve told you before, we are an Energy Centre, not solely an oil centre, and coal is a form of energy. So, yes, we should be concerned if there are floods of foreign money into the resistance against the Crowsnest Pass mountain coal-removal projects. What’s that, administrative assistant? The money is not coming from the US? You’re telling me all that resistance is coming from within the province? All those complaints on Twitter and Facebook? Roadside demonstrations. And from Alberta itself? My, my. No wonder a little birdy told me the premier is upset. Especially since quite a bit of this kickback is coming from groups like ranchers who have supported us in the past. And let the record read that when I say “us,” I mean our corporation and not the Government of Alberta.

No, Jake, the precise nature of the relationship between us and the Alberta government is worth noting in the minutes. We should do it more often, not less. We need to remind both the Alberta public and the Canadian public that we are a provincial corporation. Like ATB and AIMCo. That’s how come we can do what we do in secret without being subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy requests. (That’s FOIP, Jake; you have heard of it.) Except for being governed by three cabinet ministers of the provincial government, we’re just like any other private corporation, and this here War Room is proof. As a corporation, we could potentially bring suit against other persons, organizations or corporations. Which is the subject of our next agenda item, is it not?

Bigfoot. Have all of you, as requested, watched Bigfoot Family on Netflix? Well, Jake, I’m glad you watched it, but its being “durn funny” is not why it’s an agenda item today. We’ve publicly stated that our Energy Centre is deeply offended by this cartoon. We are taking action because said film depicts a made-up Alaskan oil company blowing up and destroying a pretty valley full of cute cartoon animals. This it does to get at oil. We’ve made a public statement that oil companies do not blow up land to get at oil. No, Jake, fracking is fracking. It is not explosives. OK, yes, it does cause underground rock layers to fracture, hence the name, but that is done with extended periods of extreme pressure, not explosives. If our industry did blow up valleys, we certainly would not use glowing red bombs. It’s clearly a smear campaign and an attempt to foment hatred against the oil industry in the impressionable minds of children—and grown-ups who watch cartoons, which could be as high as two-thirds of the viewing population, according to a recent poll.

Yes, Minister, I am aware—and I too am disturbed—that our actions against the makers of this film have caused it to jump into the top 10 most watched streaming movies for several weeks now. That is indeed not what we are going for with our campaign. Please note in the minutes that the minister has suggested we “shut up about Bigfoot Family” and move on to things we can not so easily be made fun of about. Duly noted. My thanks to the minister.

Okay, let us hear now from the creative producer of our latest campaign “Skyscrapers or Mountains? It’s Time to Choose.” The producer of the show would like us to view the part of the campaign that’s now complete: a short video to placate the wealthy and influential fly-fishing community. The main title is “There’s Never Been a Better Reason to Catch and Release.” The subtitle is “The Case for Selenium.”

Jake, could you lower the lights, please? No, we are not having popcorn today. 

Fred Stensons most recent novel is Who By Fire (Doubleday).Other books include The Trade, Lightning and The Great Karoo.

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