Canadians assail political intrusions funded by US groups

Justifiably steaming over US inaction on the Keystone XL pipeline, members of Canada’s Conservative Party are counterattacking what they see as sovereignty incursions from the south.

Sen. Nicole C. Eaton of Ontario last month began an inquiry into money flowing from US activist groups into Canadian political activities, many opposing oil sands work.

Her move followed a Jan. 9 broadside by Joe Oliver, federal minister of natural resources, against groups threatening “to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda (OGJ, Jan. 16, 2012, p. 13).”

Oliver’s remarks addressed filings by more than 4,000 US-funded activists to comment on plans for a pipeline outlet for heavy oil to the Canadian West Coast.

While oil sands projects are bright targets for Yankee obstructionism, Eaton told the Senate, “These organizations have their sights set on other sectors of Canada’s domestic affairs. There are the boreal forests, the seal hunt, salmon farming, gas fracturing, and the general management of our land and natural resources.”

She said US foundations have invested at least $300 million in environmental activism in Canada since 2000.

Canadian recipients of this political lubrication have obtained Canada Revenue Agency charitable status. How much that helps them financially is unclear. To Eaton, the problem is how the “charity” label masks political intent.

“This inquiry is about how billionaire foreign foundations have quietly moved into Canada and, under the guise of charitable deeds, are trying to define our domestic policies,” she said.

On Mar. 7, Conservative Sen. Larry W. Smith of Quebec sharpened the trade edge of this sovereignty stiletto.

“Think this just about the environment, honorable senators?” he asked. “Think again. This is about business. It is about promoting American business while Canadian workers and communities suffer.”

Canadians understand that US President Barack Obama was bowing to environmentalist pressure when he sandbagged Keystone XL. Americans content to believe their neighbors harbor no resentment over that rebuff should, to borrow the honorable senator’s rhetoric, think again.

(Online Mar. 16, 2012; author's e-mail:

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