PR Giant Launches Alberta Astroturf Group

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Hill and Knowlton, one of the five largest public relations firms in the world, has launched a new Astroturf group to fight against increased oil royalties in Canada’s largest oil-producing region.

GetItRightAlberta.ca advertises itself as a coalition of “concerned Albertans, including private citizens, small oil and gas companies and members of the investment community.” But Dave Cournoyer at DaveBerta.ca, has turned up the true origin of this fake grassroots organization. (Nice one, Dave.)

As Dave has also reported, Alberta’s Conservative Premier has been fending off criticism (from the Auditor General, among others) that his government is undercharging oil companies at a time when fossil fuel profits have never been higher. And now a damning new Alberta Royalty Review Panel Report has come down hard, saying, “Albertans do not receive their fair share from energy development.”

The panel recommends a significant increase in the royalty rate and an improvement in how Alberta collects its due. And suddenly, “concerned Albertans” are rising up to defend the wealthiest industry in the world. Dave’s opening question becomes cogent: “Who’s behind GettingItRightAlberta.” We can only imagine which “concerned Albertans” care enough, and can afford H&K‘s fee structure, to pretend a grassroots organization is up in arms.

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