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How long Jason Kenney's War Room can survive its penchant for humiliating own-goals is the question of the day. It might be a matter of hours.

On Wednesday morning, the Canadian Energy Centre's Twitter account responded to an in-depth New York Times report on oilsands divestment with a series of juvenile insults and a gratuitous accusation of anti-Semitism. All of which were deleted and walked back shortly thereafter.

But the real question should be this: where is the $30 million a year really going?

Spread over four years, $120 million is a hell of a lot of money.

Yet in December, Tom Olsen, the Canadian Energy Centre's managing director, unveiled a strangely spartan office and minimalist team to Global News.

The Canadian Energy Centre office. Screencap from Global News story

The centre shows no sign of being the communications powerhouse capable of transforming Alberta's image around the world. With bargain-basement identity and branding; a bland, off-the-rack website; and a calamitous social media presence, the Canadian Energy Centre looks more like it's funded by bake sales and bingo nights.

At 1,500 square feet, apparently unrenovated and furnished with no-frills bare essentials, the office is small. Annual rent couldn't amount to much more than $30,000, if that. Apart from Olsen and his executive assistant, the website boasts a staff of four.

And the content is not exactly riveting.

The Canadian Energy Centre website's "Top Stories" page.

It's hard to see a budget that even touches five per cent of the $30-million allocation. Where's the rest of the money going?

There's got to be more to this picture — much more.

Is there another, "real" war room somewhere? Is there a major PR and marketing operation planned that we haven't seen yet, with expensive ad production and media buys on major networks who are covering energy from their news divisions? Will there be sponsored content produced for, let's say, Postmedia outlets?

Is there a finely targeted social media strategy that nobody's seen yet?

Or will tax dollars end up being used for partisan advantage or rewarding friends of the government?

Of course, none of this information is available through conventional freedom-of-information channels, as the operations of the centre are purposely insulated from routine disclosure. Given the austere contours of the Canadian Energy Centre's public profile, it's mysterious why so much trouble was taken to obscure its financial operations and material communications.

This is not adding up.

Perhaps it's time for ministers Sonya Savage, Doug Schweitzer and Jason Nixon, all energy centre board directors, to come clean about what's going on inside that operation.

Given the price tag for the Canadian Energy Centre and total transparency blackout about what it actually does and how it does it, maybe this would be a good subject for further examination by Alberta’s Office of the Auditor General. What are Alberta taxpayers getting for the privilege of throwing away $30 million, besides national and international embarrassment? Or, as the article questions, is there something else happening that goes unstated? It’s very difficult to reconcile the amount of taxpayer money with what we can actually see or have been told. Beyond that, there is something fundamentally wrong with a shuttered operation like this established by a provincial government, with built-in protections from public scrutiny by virtue of incorporation. More sleight-of-hand from Jason Kenney’s UCP. The fact that the organization has been stood up in this fashion seems to signal that Albertans in general would not approve of what the Centre is actually doing, nor who the Centre might actually be associating with and relying on for information in accomplishing their stated goals.

As with the "National Citizen's Coalition" and the "Canadian Taxpayer's Federation", the money goes into the pockets of the next generation of Conservative operatives. It's an old shell game: manufacturing outrage; collecting cheques from hard-pressed pensioners; training a hand-picked collection of grifters for a future in Canadian politics.