Embedded in the 657-page report of the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns by commissioner Steve Allan is excellent advice for green activists. If they want to be seen as credible, if they want the public to believe they’re fully on the up-and-up, it’s best they be completely transparent about who is giving them money and pulling their strings.
As the Allan report makes evident , that standard wasn’t always met in the last 15 years during the campaign to prevent new pipelines from being built to ship Alberta oil and gas.
I say this even as Allan makes it clear that no laws were broken in the anti-oil campaign by any individual or group. “Indeed,” Allan wrote, “they have exercised their rights of free speech.”
Yes, activists had every right to speak their minds and protest. In fact, we need them to act as aggressive watchdogs. But there was still something smelly about the foreign-funding aspect of this campaign — and Allan could have been far more forceful in making this point himself — namely the secrecy around the passing of money from American donors to Canadian activists.