Apparently Alberta is no stranger to secret-keeping. On Tuesday, April 28, four journalist associations jointly announced the 2020 recipient of their "Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy" award in the provincial category. It seems that the Alberta government has beat out the rest of the country and taken home the win.
The "Code Of Silence Award" is determined by four press-freedom advocacy associations: The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), News Media Canada, Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University (CFE), and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).
The press release was posted on CFE's website, titled "Alberta Named Most Secretive Provincial Government in Canada."
The prize is given each year to bring attention to governments, government departments, and agencies that go the extra mile in denying public access to government information.
The post mentioned that the public has a right to access to these pieces of information under the "access to information legislation."
However, these journalists think Premier Jason Kenney's government is not exactly being generous when it comes to sharing information with the public.
The post goes to describe some of the specific cases the associations considered when they picked Alberta as the winner.
And they're not holding back from comparing Kenney's government to dystopian literature.
"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," the post reads.
After exempting the internal operations of its energy "war room" from #FOI legislation—barring the public's right t… https://t.co/6JPHCjZ6Qj— Canadian Association of Journalists (@Canadian Association of Journalists) 1588086827.0
The press-freedom associations are particularly critical of Jason Kenney's "energy war room."
They mentioned that critics have called out the war room as an attempt to silence those who would "tell the truth" about Alberta's oil patch and its contribution to the threat of climate change.
"In June 2019, Kenney followed through on a campaign promise to create an “energy war room” to counter what the government claims is a conspiracy by foreign-funded interests to attack the province’s energy industry," the post reads.
However, the post explained that critics have since debunked this "conspiracy" theory.
It appears that even Amnesty International is not pleased. They have deep concerns about the war room and the effect it may have on human rights.
The post also accused the Alberta government of keeping the internal operations of the Canadian Energy Centre secret from the public.
The post said that Alberta has only been identified as the winner for the provincial category; the federal recipient of the Code Of Silence award will be revealed on April 30.
Looks like someone else will be joining Alberta's ranks very soon.