Americans Worried about Russian Interference
According to a CNN poll in 2018, nearly 3/4 of Americans are worried about foreign (Russian) interference in United States elections. Ironic, then, that powerful American interests are meddling in Canadian affairs!
Yikes We’ve got Americans!
Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, recently visited Canada’s eastern province of Ontario, and spoke out on behalf of the Liberal Premier’s ‘Cap and Trade’ system: “I don’t want to interfere in your politics but I have to speak out when I see all of the candidates in the other party proposing to go backwards…” (Ontario’s Liberal Government was defeated in a provincial election on June 7th.)
Mr. Gore has also expressed his displeasure with the KM (Kinder Morgan) Transmountain pipeline, which is a Canadian expansion project (from Alberta to the British Columbia coast) that, after a 29-month review, was approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Government (November 29, 2016). (Protests and lawsuits continue to delay the construction).
Fossil fuels are subsidized 38x more than renewables globally. Now the Canadian government wants to spend billions more of taxpayer dollars to increase its country’s contribution to the climate crisis. This is not in the public interest. We must keep fighting to #StopKM.
– Al Gore, May 29, on Twitter –
This project has been just one of the American targets in an effort to stop expansion of the Canadian oil industry, reduce demand for Canadian oil sands crude and stop or stall pipeline and port construction. An initiative called the Tar Sands Campaign was launched in 2008 by a number of American interests, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Tides Foundation.
Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Extremely Small
According to Mr. Gore, the justification for shutting down the Oil Sands is it will curb Canada’s “contribution to the climate crisis”. He doesn’t mention, though, that Canada emits only 1.6% of global Greenhouse Gas emissions. The Oil and Gas Sector of our economy contributes .5% of global emissions. The Alberta Oil Sands (according to Environment and Climate Change Canada 2018 and World Resources Institute 2017) contributes about 0.14 % of global GHG emissions.
Other Groups are also Interfering
Greenpeace Canada is also involved with this campaign. They are a branch of Greenpeace International which is headquartered in Amsterdam. The development and coordination of global strategies is the task of Greenpeace International, who also provide funding to some of the Canadian campaigns.
Another American group, CorpEthics funds activists for campaigns in British Columbia and Alberta. They state, on their website, that “in 2008 two major U.S. foundations asked CorpEthics to recruit the groups, develop the strategy, create a coordinated campaign, and act as a re-granting agency for the North American Tar Sands Campaign.” They also claim they influence Canadian elections and they “also played a role in helping to unseat the Conservative Party in Alberta and nationally.”
The anti-pipeline group Leadnow has received some funding from Tides Foundation USA, and claims to influence Canadian elections.
In the 2015 annual report of the California-based Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) where Ben Brandzel, one of Leadnow’s founders, currently works, he said: “We ended the year with . . . a Canadian campaign that moved the needle during the national election, contributing greatly to the ousting of the conservative Harper government.”
– Calgary Herald, New Report Alleges Outside Influence –
Dogwood BC is yet another activist group that receives grants and contracts from American sources, including Tides Foundation USA. Their activities include ‘fending off the Kinder Morgan expansion’. Next up: they “want to help young people organize to lower the voting age from 18 to 16”.
Canadian Liberal Party is Slow to React
What is Canada doing about this? The Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs stated, on June 8, 2017, that “our current law does not sufficiently protect Canadian elections from being influenced by foreign entities, whether through direct interference or by providing funding to third parties”. Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould’s says that new rules are in the works to “strengthen and clarify” rules governing foreign actors’ financing Canadian political advocacy. Senator Linda Frum introduced Bill S-239, the ‘Eliminating Foreign Funding in Canadian Elections Act’, which is in Second Reading Stage.
Whether anything new is in place for the 2019 Federal Election (or upcoming Provincial elections) remains to be seen. The parties that are now in power (in British Columbia, Alberta and Canada) might have the least reason to curb foreign influence.
It took us 40 years of scandal (and) sweat to come to a regime where we had the best in the world for control of money in politics. Now we are back in the jungle.
– Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former Chief Electoral Officer, Canadian Press 2015 –
If you are a Canadian who is concerned about this issue, contact your Member of Parliament.