Standing Up for Alberta, Fighting the Foreign-Funded Special Interests

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“Relentless misinformation attacks against our oil and gas industry have cost us thousands of jobs, impacting families from every region of our province. For far too long, the NDP has turned a blind eye to those who bully our energy industry. The cost to our province in terms of investment and jobs in incalculable. A United Conservative government will stand up for Alberta against the foreign influences seeking to undermine our province.”

  • The intrepid reporting of journalist Vivian Krause, among others, has shown that foreign actors have provided at least $75 million to thwart the development and export of Canadian oil.
  • Since 2009, the American-based Tides Foundation and its Canadian affiliate Tides Canada gave at least 400 payments and $25 million to Canadian, American, and European organizations to oppose pipelines in Canada.
  • The NDP has appointment people who have been engaged in a campaign of sabotage against Alberta jobs to regulate our oil and gas industry, such as positions on the Alberta Energy Regulator, and appointed an anti-Alberta extremist to be Rachel Notley’s top oilsands advisor.
  • Albertans rightly deserve their government to take initiative and stand up for Alberta’s interests.
  • A United Conservative government would take immediate take steps to stand up to the foreign influences working to land lock Alberta oil and undermine our energy sector (Please see below).

To stand up to foreign influences, a UCP government will:

1) Establish an ‘Energy War Room’ to:

Respond in real time to the lies and myths told about Alberta’s energy industry through paid, eared, and social media.

Establish a presence in key media markets in Canada and around the world.

The Energy War Room will be a part of the Public Affairs Bureau, with a $30 million budget ($20 million new, $10 million re-profiled from the existing government advertising budget).

2) Use the persuasive power of the Premier’s bully pulpit to tell the truth in both official languages across Canada and around the world about how Albertans produce energy at the highest environmental, human rights, and labour standards.

3) Create a $10 million litigation fund to support pro-development First Nations in defending their right to be consulted on major energy projects.

4) Ask the energy industry to significantly increase its advocacy efforts.

5) Seek and support Alberta energy companies that are willing to challenge the campaign of defamation by anti-Alberta special interests, similar to Resolute Forest Products’ efforts to sue Greenpeace for $300 million in damages.

6) When multinationals like HSBC boycott Alberta products, the Government of Alberta will boycott them. In addition, the government will work with like-minded allies to challenge to wide campaign seeking to have institutional investors boycott Alberta oil. The investment community needs to be made aware that foreign dictator oil regimes have terrible record when it comes to environmental, human rights, labour standards, the treatment of women, and political stability.

7) Challenge the charitable status of charitable foundations that are funneling foreign money into anti-Alberta campaigns. Challenges submitted to the CRA will be based on Canadian charities law, and if necessary will proceed to the Federal Court.

8) End any and all provincial government funding for groups involved in the “Tarsands” campaign.

9) Launch a public enquiry under the Enquiries Act into the foreign sources of funds into the anti-Alberta energy campaign. The enquiry will have the power to compel witness testimony, and have a $2.5 million budget. The enquiry may follow up on investigations done in other jurisdictions, including:

A 2017 Office of the Director of National Intelligence report that contained, “clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.”

A 2018 House Science Committee report, which states, “the Kremlin manipulated various groups in an attempt to carry out its geopolitical agenda, particularly with respect to domestic energy policy.”

10) Approve a law banning foreign money from interfering in Alberta politics, making it illegal for foreign entities to finance third party advertisers (also known as political action committees).

11) Actively support and seek adoption of Senator Linda Frum’s Bill S-239, which would ban foreign money in federal Canadian politics.

12) Fire Ed Whittingham from his position at the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Albertans expect our government to stand up against anyone who threatens our way of life, our prosperity, or the quality public services funded by our resource economy. They want to know that government is on their side. They want defending Alberta’s interests to be the overriding priority in every choice that government makes.

Thank to the intrepid reporting of journalist Vivian Krause, among others, we now have proof that Alberta’s interests are being challenged and thwarted by well-funded foreign actors who have been waging a decade-long campaign to land lock Alberta’s oil using partisan campaigns and outright misinformation.

Krause found that, “For more than a decade, there has been a complex international effort to stymie the oil industry in Canada. It’s called the Tar Sands Campaign and the main sources of funding for this campaign are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Sea Change Foundation, the Tides Foundation and other charitable foundations, most of which are based in California. By my calculations, these foundations have provided at least $75-million for campaigns and land use planning initiatives that thwart the development and export of Canadian oil.”1

Krause also found that Since 2009, two other organizations, the American-based Tides Foundation and its Canadian affiliate Tides Canada gave at least 400 payments and $25 million to Canadian, American and European organizations specifically to oppose pipelines in Canada.2

One key player in all of this the Pembina Institute. Recently the former executive director of Pembina, Ed Whittingham, was appointed a director of the Alberta Energy Regulator. According to Krause’s reporting, “During his years at The Pembina Institute, the institute and its sister organization, The Pembina Foundation for Environmental Research and Education, received at least $8 million from the U.S. funders of The Tar Sands Campaign and other activism against the Canadian oil and natural gas industry.”3

The many tentacles of the Tar Sands campaign are just one example of the foreign money flowing into Canada to influence elections and kill jobs.

In 2017, Calgary based journalist Licia Corbella outlined how Lead Now, funded by the Tides Foundation, took an active role in the 2015 federal election, specifically targeting Conservative candidates.4 Leadnow staff members flew around the country, as Facebook postings and photographs show, to distribute flyers and put up signs. Organizers posted their results online to take credit for their ability to influence the election:

More about that here:

This was far from the first election influenced by Tides and Tides-funded organizations. Yet, despite the fact that Tides openly advertises to recruit employees for electoral activism, the Canada Revenue Agency has not taken a serious look at revoking Tides Canada’s status as a registered charity.5

Albertans believe in democracy, and we expect that the decisions about our economy and the development of our natural resources will rest with the people of our province.

To read the News Release, please click here

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