Notable findings from Alberta’s survey of foreign-funded campaigns to undermine the energy industry


Besides estimating the amount of foreign money sent to environmental groups trying to block Alberta’s oil and gas, recent reports from a government-consigned study raise many other issues related to funding and transparency. I made it embossed.

The first recommendation of the report, written by Commissioner Steve Alan, is to improve transparency and accountability in the financial operations of foreign-funded environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs).

The report focuses on the “Exchange Fund” program run by the prominent U.S.-based Tides Foundation and its Canadian counterpart, the Tides Canada Foundation, and was used for donations from both sides of the border. The program states that it “had the effect of obscuring.” Funding source. “

The report also highlighted the exponential growth of federal funding for ENGOs since 2015 and the disparity between foreign and government funding sent to ENGOs and “conservative / market-oriented organizations.”

A hearing on Alberta’s anti-Alberta energy campaign, publicly announced on October 21, was conducted by Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government to investigate foreign currency financing activities for Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Mandatory.

Opaque money trail

Some critics said the survey did not find a significant amount of foreign funding dedicated to anti-Alberta energy campaigns, but the report found that the trajectory of funding was not always clear. bottom.

Between 2003 and 2019, Canada-based environmental initiatives received $ 1.28 billion in foreign funding and $ 54.1 million in what was interpreted as “anti-Alberta resource development activities,” according to the report. Has been assigned.

Oil pump jack
The oil pump jack pumps oil in the field near Calgary in the file photo. (Todd Koror / Reuters)

Although significant amounts of foreign funding have been granted to Canadian ENGOs in the form of grants, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) maintains the confidentiality of donor information. And if the grantor does not indicate the purpose of the grant in its submission, it is impossible to know how the funds will be used. Moreover, even if a grantor allocates funds for a particular purpose, that does not mean that the grantee will use them for that particular purpose.

This issue is highlighted throughout the report, stating that “transparency requirements need to be strengthened because the purpose and purpose of grants to nonprofits and charities need to be clearly stated.” ..

This is a common problem, but the report also identified certain mechanisms that make it difficult to track money.

The US-based Tides Foundation was identified in the Anti-Alberta Energy Campaign as one of two “re-grantings” (the other being the New Venture Fund). That is, it receives money from donors and re-submits it to other groups. .. Tides is known for providing anonymity to donors who demand anonymity while at the same time directing funds to selected purposes.

Allan has determined that the Tides Foundation has “provided 125 grants in excess of $ 10 million to various organizations aimed at delaying or disrupting the development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources.” Did.

The Tides Foundation ran the “Exchange Fund” program with the Tides Canada Foundation / Tides Canada Initiative Society from 2001 to 2016. This allowed Canadian or US donors to make donations in other countries without crossing national borders. You will receive a receipt for your charity donation.

“The exchange fund has undoubtedly expanded its donation network, but it seems that the ultimate recipient of the funds was receiving funds from a Canadian donor, even though it may actually have been initiated by a foreigner. It also had the effect of obscuring the source of funding. Donors, “said the report.

Allan reinstates four grants from the Tides Foundation to the Tides Canada Foundation in 2013 from $ 15,000 to $ 35,000 ($ 15,449 to $ 36,047) with the explicit purpose of opposition to the oil industry. I confirmed that it was granted. In western Canada.

Requests to stakeholders for comments on the exchange fund remained unanswered.

Tides Canada Distance from US Counter

Tides Canada Foundation Name MakeWay in June 2020Citing “years of false information,” he claims to have been “chosen” by Alberta’s Prime Minister Jason Kenny, who allegedly played a role in opposition to Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

“The Smear Campaign on Tides Canada has repeatedly misunderstood the purpose of Tides Canada’s international charitable funding and is confused with the US-based Tides Foundation,” the organization said in a statement announcing the name change. “Tides Canada was originally named after the Tides Foundation in the United States, but over time the organization diverged and no longer held legal, financial, or governance relationships.”

NS Tides Canada Foundation 2001 Annual Report The Tides Foundation is a “sister organization” and the statement above states that the two organizations are no longer “no longer” related, but a MakeWay spokeswoman said, “Tides US and Tides Canada are always separate and independent organizations. bottom. “

MakeWay Communications Director Alison Henning said in an email that the organization had been funded by Tides US for many years, but is always open to the public, with Tides Canada’s total international funding from 2009 to 2019 being 1. I said it was just%.

The CRA audited Tides Canada and other NGOs in 2014 to determine if it complies with political advocacy guidelines. MakeWay’s website shows that CRA completed the audit in 2016 “Check its status As a charity in good condition. “

Federally funded sky rocket under Trudeau

As part of the Allan Inquiry, accounting firm Deloitte Forensic was instructed to determine the over time increase in federal funding for the ENGO.

Epoch Times Photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued his national statement as part of the World Rally of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021. (IanForsyth / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

The survey found that 26 ENGOs received a total of $ 41.4 million between 2004 and 2014. Then, from 2015 to 2019, during the first term of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the amount exceeded $ 372.5 million.

Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, has criticized huge federal funding for ENGOs in the face of rising Canadian debt.

“During this time, the federal government was running a big deficit. [2015–2019] I’m worried that taxpayers will see these costs increase this way because they couldn’t balance their budgets as promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Terrazzano told The Epoch Times. ..

ENGO funding diminishes that of the parent industry group

ENGOs point out that the money they receive is not comparable to the strength of the oil and gas industry and the lobby. The energy industry claims that the ENGO has perpetuated the story of “David and Goliath” while being funded by left-wing millionaires. “Big Green, Inc... According to the Energy Research Institute.

Allan Inquiry investigated these competing explanations and said that some ENGO submissions criticized not investigating foreign funding of pro-Alberta energy organizations.

Alain wrote that investigating this angle was not within his mission, but Deloitte examined allegations that these organizations received “significant foreign funding.”

Deloitte is a charity that identifies 11 of the largest conservative or market-oriented organizations with total revenues in excess of $ 10 million during the study period from January 1, 2000 to October 31, 2020. Discovered that it is receiving $ 26.7 in foreign funding. Government funding of $ 1 million and $ 39.3 million during this period.

Comparing environmental groups over the same period, based on the same threshold of revenues above $ 10 million, the 31 largest ENGOs received $ 897.5 million in foreign funding and $ 2.1 billion in government funding. rice field.

Noe Chartier

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Noé Chartier is a Montreal-based Epoch Times reporter.

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