Manufacturing dissent against Canada’s energy economy – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – December 3, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

U.S. foundations continue to fund activists in Canada, giving impression of broad support that may not exist

If you start an activist organization and nobody provides financial backing, would the protest movement exist? Maybe, but likely not. Without funding there is no way to build support, pay activists, hire consultants and disseminate information. And so when high-profile anti-Keystone and anti-oil sands campaigners need cash, they go where the money is–the big U.S. charitable foundations that have become ATMs for scores of groups and organizations that now earn a living fighting Canada’s oil industry.

Take, for example, the fresh cash flowing north through the U.S. Tides Foundation to Calgary’s Pembina Institute. Documents obtained by Vancouver researcher Vivian Krause, and detailed this weekend on the FP Comment Web site, show that on August 9 Pembina received $225,000 through Tides. The purpose was “to advance policy improvements, the narrative that oil sands expansion is problematic, land use decisions that slow expansion, and improved climate policy.”

Earlier in the year, Pembina was also paid $55,000 “for further raising awareness of the negative impacts of the tar sands on the economy, for participating in conversation with Province of Alberta about water, land and air regulatory reform, technical support to tar sands campaign partner, and for participation in the Shell JRPs and preparation for the Tech Frontier JRP.”

A “JRP” is a federal government joint review panel under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the “Shell JRP” is likely the 100,000-barrel expansion of the Shell Jackpine oil sands mine project. It was approved by the JRP panel in July, but not before Pembina contributed its opposition with funding from the Tides payment.

In all, Ms Krause has uncovered $3.2-million in new money distributed by Tides USA in recent months, tax-free dollars delivered to groups and organizations with specific objectives aimed at disrupting and fomenting opposition to Canadian energy development, including pipelines east and west. The recipients include the usual suspects—Sierra Club, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth (the list with details can be found at FP Comment’s Web site).

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