Alberta authorities enquiry sheds airy connected overseas backing utilized to thwart province’s vigor sector
In 2016, a foreign-based enactment financed by foreign-based foundations claimed the anti-pipeline run it co-ordinated “played a relation successful helping to unseat the Conservative Party successful Alberta and nationally.”
This uncovering was among the examples of governmental activism by biology groups revealed successful the Alberta government’s inquiry into campaigns against the province’s vigor sector, released connected Oct. 21.
Conducted by forensic accountant Steve Allan, the enquiry recovered that the campaigns received absorption and backing from overseas entities.
The 2016 assertion astir “unseating the Conservative Party” was made by the U.S.-based NGO Corporate Ethics International, present known arsenic CorpEthics. The posting is nary longer disposable connected the organization’s website, but tin beryllium recovered utilizing net archiving services to look at erstwhile versions of the page.
The posting describes the Tar Sands Campaign launched successful 2008 arsenic a strategy to “land-lock the tar sands truthful their crude could not scope the planetary marketplace wherever it could fetch a precocious terms per barrel. This meant nationalist and grassroots organizing to artifact each projected pipelines.” It said the strategy has been “successful to this day,” with each projected pipelines successful Canada having been blocked.
The mentation of the leafage disposable contiguous says the run “successfully educated citizens astir the harmful interaction of tar sands enlargement to our climate, autochthonal forests, and First Nations’ sovereignty,” and says the run “successfully persuaded President Obama” to artifact the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Epoch Times contacted CorpEthics for remark but didn’t perceive back.
Allan’s study outlines that CorpEthics was the recipient of grants, with astir noting successful their descriptions that they were destined for the Tar Sands Campaign. The grants came successful ample portion from 2 large U.S. foundations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) and the Tides Foundation.
Between the two, they granted CorpEthics US$3.13 cardinal betwixt 2007 and 2011, with funds destined for the Tar Sands Campaign oregon “organizing connected soiled fuels.”
The Tides Foundation is described by non-profit Influence Watch arsenic a “major center-left grantmaking enactment and a large pass-through funder to galore left-leaning nonprofits.” Its operating mechanics allows donors to stay anonymous portion being allowed to nonstop wealth to their preferred causes utilizing “donor advised funds.”
The RBF is 1 of the assorted funds held by the well-known Rockefeller family, which made its archetypal luck successful the lipid industry. The foundation’s stated intent is advancing “social alteration that contributes to a much just, sustainable, and peaceful world.”
In 2014, the RBF announced it was divesting from fossil fuels, citing the situation arsenic 1 of its astir “enduring commitments.” “The Fund’s vulnerability to ember and tar sands has been reduced to 0.04 percent of our full portfolio. (At the clip of the RBF’s archetypal broad investigation of its vulnerability successful April 2014, it was 1.6 percent),” its website says.
A reappraisal of the foundation’s latest available tax filings successful 2019 shows it had investments successful a fig of companies successful the lipid assemblage and related industries.
As of December 2019, the RBF held 59,500 shares successful Alberta oilsands institution Suncor Energy Inc., for a marketplace worth of US$1.89 million. It besides held 261,595 shares successful British Petroleum, for a marketplace worth of US$1.62 million, and 45,303 shares successful Halliburton, a large oilfield services institution valued astatine US$1.1 cardinal successful 2019, among different oil-related investments.
The RBF’s portfolio is precise diversified, with its azygous largest fiscal involvement successful firm stocks being Microsoft astatine a worth of $8.5 cardinal successful 2019.
DivestmentFacts.com, a task of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, wrote successful 2020 that it had examined RBF’s divestment and “found retired that contempt RBF’s champion efforts, the radical inactive invests with the manufacture that made them affluent successful the archetypal place.”
DivestmentFacts labelled the foundation’s divestment run arsenic a “PR stunt to capitalize the family’s sanction without truly making important changes.”
The Epoch Times reached retired to RBF for remark but didn’t person a reply.
Tar Sands Campaign
The 2016 CorpEthics webpage connected the Tar Sands Campaign states that “in 2008, 2 large U.S. foundations asked CorpEthics to enlistee the groups, make the strategy, make a coordinated campaign, and enactment arsenic a re-granting bureau for the North American Tar Sands Campaign.”
The Allan enquiry recovered 2 documents from 2008 that apt established the strategy to pb the campaign.
One was a PowerPoint presumption titled “The Tar Sands Campaign” jointly sponsored by RBF, CorpEthics, the National Resources Defence Council, and the Pembina Institute, with the second being the lone Canada-based entity.
The different document, “Tar Sands Campaign Strategy 2.1,” was produced by CorpEthics, and Allan’s study says it’s the astir elaborate of the aboriginal Tar Sands Campaign material.
The CorpEthics papers states that the run is ample and complex, with aggregate actors and strategical tracks, and truthful needs a co-ordinating structure.
“While NGOs mostly similar a web operation that allows for maximum communication, and minimal centralized control, foundations investing astir heavy successful the run person a vested involvement successful exercising immoderate power implicit the process,” the papers says, arsenic quoted successful Allan’s report.
It is besides stated that the co-ordinating operation “shall stay invisible to the extracurricular and to the grade possible, unit volition beryllium ‘purchased’ from engaged organizations.”
According to the report, the strategy outlined successful the documents precocious connected 5 tracks: “stop/limit pipeline and refinery expansion; unit tar sands water, toxics, and onshore reform; importantly trim aboriginal request for tar sands oil; leverage tar sands statement for argumentation victories successful the U.S. and Canada; and make unity astir the fuels endgame.”
The tactics utilized are besides elaborate successful the study and screen a scope of activities, from targeting the fiscal assemblage to nonstop action, from litigation to governmental activism.
On governmental activism, the CorpEthics papers says the purpose is to “enroll cardinal determination makers portion isolating opponents.”
“We volition triumph this run erstwhile we enlistee a captious wide of these determination makers to hold to dilatory down, cut-back, and yet halt the travel of tar sands lipid altogether,” it says.
LeadNow’s Political Activism
The Allan enquiry besides identified a fig of Canadian organizations progressive successful what it calls anti-Alberta vigor activities.
It said LeadNow, which runs campaigns connected progressive issues similar clime change, engages successful activities to power governmental outcomes and unit entities progressive successful the lipid industry.
LeadNow launched its “Vote Together” run successful 2015 to decision the Harper Conservatives. Its website notes that 25 retired of 29 Liberal and NDP candidates it was backing successful Conservative plaything ridings won successful the predetermination that year.
A post-election summary of the run titled “Defeating Harper: Reflections connected the Vote Together campaign,” says “it was an ambitious strategy and for a archetypal clip effort, it paid disconnected well.”
The Allan study says the Tides Foundation gave a assistance of $86,751 to LeadNow successful 2014 for “research, acquisition and organizing connected soiled fuels and pipelines.” It is chartless if immoderate of those funds were utilized to unseat the Conservatives. A petition for remark sent to LeadNow was unanswered arsenic of property time.
The eventual extremity of the Tar Sands Campaign “was ever to landlock Alberta’s lipid and gas,” said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage erstwhile releasing the inquiry’s study connected Oct. 21.
“We saw it play retired measurement by measurement and it continues today. Divestment campaigns operating contiguous person claimed to execute implicit 1,000 divestments from fossil fuels, representing $8 trillion.”
Savage said U.S. President Joe Biden has pleaded for much OPEC lipid to rescue his state from precocious substance prices, but if “Canada could person provided Americans with a unchangeable root of vigor from a trusted person and state … we could person avoided this vigor crisis.”
“Americans are looking for idiosyncratic to blasted for today’s skyrocketing vigor prices. I cognize a fewer organizations successful this study that they could convey for that,” she said.
The clime alteration objectives of the Canadian and U.S. national governments besides spot affordability and vigor independency instrumentality a backmost seat.
On his archetypal time arsenic president, Biden cancelled anew the Keystone XL pipeline, which his predecessor Donald Trump had authorized aft Obama’s 2015 cancellation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said successful aboriginal October: “Certainly we each privation to support gasoline prices low, but the menace of the clime situation surely can’t hold immoderate longer.”
Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times newsman based successful Montreal.