Opinion | Report Shows Big Green Is a Real Thing

Vindication, for Kenney and Krause.

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Michael Binnion is the Executive Director of the Modern Miracle Network, whose mission it is to encourage Canadians to have reasoned conversations about energy issues.

Alberta released the long-awaited Allan Report today, the province’s commission investigating foreign funding of anti-Canadian oil and gas campaigns. The results are clear, $1.28 billion in foreign funding – much more than most observers expected. They vindicate the work of Vivian Krause and others who have been exposing foreign interference in the politics of the Canadian resource sector for years, as well as Kenney who ordered the report amidst much national criticism.

While the commission found $1.28 billion in foreign spending smoke, and a lot of misleading sizzle from certain ENGOs, it took great pains to say they found no fire in the form of actual proof of illegal activities. That might be because there are few laws against dark money, foreign interference, and collusion by activists. I always understood the mandate of the commission was to investigate if foreign money was playing a big role in resource politics in Canada. From there, Canadians need to decide if that’s the kind of politics they want.

It makes me realize we Canadians are amateurs at this foreign influence probe business. While Alberta’s findings have some undertones of the Mueller Report’s investigation into Russian interference in US elections, there are some stark differences.  Mueller spent US$32 million and found social media advertising by Russians, that in total was less than the entire cost of the Allan report. Robert Mueller is a former prosecutor who had the experience, ability, power and willingness to send people to jail. Russians spending less than $3 million on social media ads influencing the US election, was in his expert opinion illegal, and so he indicted 25 of them.  

What about Commissioner Allan?

Allan, a mild-mannered accountant and respected member of the Calgary business community, chose not to use any of his powers to subpoena witnesses. Commissioner Allan stated he simply did not have the capacity to seriously investigate how the big money flowing in circuitous ways from international sources to Canadian ENGOs, was used. The Alberta Energy Minister did point out one example of donations with the stated purpose to promote marine protection in BC had the actual effect of blocking Alberta pipelines.

Allan only spent $3 million to uncover $1.28 billion of foreign spending. That’s an expenditure of 0.2% of what he found compared to Mueller who needed 10x what he exposed. However, we do have to give the clear edge to Mueller on total indictments.

The report lauds the Canadian Energy News Network (CENN) among others. CENN’s research demonstrates that total revenues for Canadian ENGO’s with anti-oil and gas campaigns far exceeds their declared foreign funding. The average ENGO in the CENN research, received over $15 million per year. In today’s dollars over the period covered by the Allan report that represents $300 million each. For comparison, they receive far more money as a group than all political parties combined. 

Big Green is a real thing – and it is changing Canadian politics. For example, in the last election there was virtually no discussion of the third choice on climate, in the form of carbon-tech for capture, recycling, and storage of carbon emissions.

This report lays bare that there are trans-national groups who are prepared to invest real money in Canada to achieve their agenda. Now Canadians need to decide if that trans-national agenda is good for them.

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