Ms. Krause Goes to Ottawa


Vivian Krause was invited to speak at today’s Standing Committee on Natural Resources

Most of us Canadians will go about our entire lives and never be called up by someone in the nation’s capital and be asked to speak to a Parliamentary Committee. But when you’ve attracted a little national attention for your efforts as North Vancouver mom Vivian Krause has, it comes less as a surprise.

Last week Krause was invited to speak at a Standing Committee on Natural Resources. The topic was energy security, and it was prompted by a non-binding motion by NDP opposition MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) to be voted on today to ban all oil tankers from BC’s north coast. The vote passed (143-138) with all Liberal, NDP & Bloc MPs voting in support.

The aim of the motion was ostensibly to protect the shores of our west coast. But it’s real objective was to ratchet up the well-funded fight against the export of Alberta oil to Pacific Rim countries. That includes a coordinated campaign to garner the support of First Nations in affected communities (helped by large multi-million dollar grants) which has resulted in growing opposition to a proposed pipeline across British Columbia to Kitimat.

The research of Vivian Krause and her associate Rob Scagel is the best resource in the country to understand how millions move across the 49th parallel and through the Tides Canada Foundation, and into the hands of ENGOs here in BC & Alberta. Krause’s words have been published across the country, and while complicated, the story is raising enough eyebrows that she’s being contacted by some highly influential members of the media and of governments.

Krause is also attracting the interest of Tides Canada Foundation lawyers, who have now submitted two letters to her in recent days requesting alterations of her documentation. Krause tried for three years to get someone at Tides to respond to any of her questions about their funding, and never heard a peep back. She submitted letters respectfully requesting that Tides refute or confirm her findings, and got silence in return.

Instead of speaking directly in response to Krause’s fair questions which involve charities and matters of public interest, she gets a letter from Tides lawyers instead.

On Tuesday morning Krause sat down in front of the microphone before the Parliamentary Committee, and while quite clearly nervous at the start, spoke with conviction. It was a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment, albeit without Jimmy Stewart’s swaggering delivery. Then after that Krause, who speaks five languages with confidence, ably responded en français to the questions of a Bloc Québécois member of the committee.

I spoke with Vivian later in the day. Like most of us would be, she was highly self-critical of her performance. She complained that the crappy hotel shampoo and bitter Ottawa cold left her hair looking a mess.

She lamented the decision by majority of the Members of Parliament today to support Cullen’s motion. "If this was simply about marine conservation I’d be all for it," said Krause. "But it’s not about that at all. Why else are US charities so interested in our coastline, and in particular the coast where the export of oil would take place? Why aren’t they banning oil shipments off the coast of California or the east coast instead?"

This is a fascinating story, kicked up a notch by the legal lumber Tides feels that it needs to lay down too protect its reputation from a tenacious single parent renting a basement apartment. It’s also interesting to note how the ENGOs like the Dogwood Initiative are capitalizing on the NDP member’s work. This is an email the environmental group sent out to supporters on Monday evening:

On Tuesday evening the House of Commons will vote on a motion to protect the north coast of British Columbia from crude oil tanker traffic.

This motion is symbolic, but is an important step towards one day achieving a legislated tanker ban. And more importantly, it’s a test to see if Canada’s opposition parties will work together to protect our coastlines from oil spills.

But, we need your help to push MPs to take a stand on this issue.  Please donate today. You’ll help keep the pressure on key federal politicians in all parties to take action to keep oil tankers and spills off our north coast.

We need all the Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebcois MPs to support this issue – both on Tuesday and into 2011. We need your help to make this happen. Please make a donation of $10, $25 or $75 today.

Your donation will help build the broad public support we need for this issue to resonate with MPs across the country. And, it will ensure we have the staff-power to mobilize citizens to take action.

This is the time for us to go all out and connect with politicians across the country and push for permanent protection of our coastlines. With your support we’ll work towards the tabling of legislation to ban oil tankers; we’ll continue to highlight the issue in Ottawa, help citizens like you show their support for a ban, and broaden our relationships with MPs across Canada.

Of course, Dogwood and their allies have already had a considerable bump from the work of Mayor Gregor Robertson to make this into a local issue, even garnering a front page of The Province some weeks back.

As Krause says in her concluding remarks, "Environmental activism isn’t what it used to be, the new factor is money…as long as environmental groups are paid to run multi-million dollar campaigns, I think it’s unreasonable to hope that they won’t."

– post by Mike

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  • Fred

    Vivian is amazing.
    We now know she has made some body blows to the skanky Tides Canada organization . . . if they had responded with their PR flak instead of breaking out their Legal bats, the would at least look innocent.
    A Parliament Inquiry into TC is needed . . . how much money has been spent, which Aboriginal groups have accepted money, have any Aboriginal leaders accepted money, which “Grassroots” organizations have been co-opted by Tides.
    Time to shed some light, lots of cleansing, sanitizing light on Tides Canada and all its operators and operations. Canadians have a right to know what TC is doing in our political playpen.
    Go Vivian go . . . . you are on to a very big story.

  • Ben

    Its time to get an assesment of how many Canadian Families have been harmed by Solomon and Newells funding of junk science and bogus protests to fill their narrow minded anti-social Americanista agenda.

  • Sandra Chamberlain-Snider

    Thank you for staying with this story. It is so necessary to understand how private organizations, whether business, union or Tides Canada can, and do, have influence on our governments. I think more important is that Ms Krause represents the idea that individual Canadians still have influence with our elected leaders.
    Ms. Krause’s work, and the attention it garnered, ensures that my vote, and my passion for Canada’s future, counts.

  • Max

    This is from Ms. Krause’s first article:
    ‘U.S. tax returns for 2008 show that Tides Canada paid two coastal First Nations US$27.3-million in a single grant. This mega-grant was “to fund conservation planning projects and conservation initiatives” and was earmarked for the Nuxalk and the Lax Kw’alaams.’

  • John

    Bang on Fred. Not only do we need a Parliamentary inquiry into Tides but also a Revenue Canada one and both need to have sharp teeth!

  • Steven Forth

    “But it’s real objective was to ratchet up the well-funded fight against the export of Alberta oil to Pacific Rim countries.” Do you have any evidence for this claim? Are you suggesting that it is really the American government that is behind this as it is in their interest to have the oil consumed in the US? The environmental risks of tanker traffic on one of the most dangerous coasts in the world are real. The energy industry is upset to come up against people that can even the playing field when it comes to lobbying and communication. Too bad. I for one an glad to see more balance in this area and am tired of seeing the energy industry dictate Canadian policy. Everything you are printing here was public knowledge and it is only turning me into a supporter of Tides and Vision, where I was neutral before. And I would like to see you apply your investigative skills to Ms. Krause and to disclose your own backing and financial interests. Canadians have a right to know who is dictating government policy, and it is the CPC that forms the government.

  • Max

    Interesting Steven:
    People cry foul when foreign influence is suggested if it is China or Korea or so – after all, they have been on a resouce buying spree and Canada is mineral rich.
    But when it is the US and a supposed American based ‘Charity’ funded by persons who came into money, but didn’t work for it and have not hidden they have an agenda – then we should shrug it off?
    Influence regardless of where it comes from is a threat.
    They have zero business dicatating to us how Canada should manage itself.
    So please – go support Vision and Tides – they seem more up your alley.
    Someone check Wikileaks – maybe there is a ‘memo’ somewhere.

  • John

    Steven,
    To your point about Ms. Krause’s backing and financial interests, you should do a little investigative homework yourself and you will find that there are none! She has been very public about this.

  • West End Gal

    Look at how these Hollyhock ‘charities’ are conducting business and then stop wandering why people have stopped giving in this province.
    Real good people running honest charities are hurting because of these TIDES Inc. crooks. Of course they now sent in the lawyers (excuse my language) the question to be asked is WHO BENEFITS? And if you get the right answer you’ll be the witness of the biggest swindler’ stampede in the history of BC, and maybe Canada.

  • “They have zero business dicatating to us how Canada should manage itself.”
    Canada has no problem telling other countries how to manage themselves, and there are numerous charities and NGOs based in Canada that spend money overseas to promote their aims.
    If we decry charities from other countries having input into Canadian politics we might also have to consider stepping away from our own efforts at social engineering in faraway places.

  • Coco

    John,
    Thank you for saying that so I don’t have to.
    Steven,
    Did you watch the video? Ms. Krause specifically states that she is not funded by any special interest groups. (As she has also said elsewhere).
    Chris,
    I do object to social engineering in far away places so can I object to it in my country now too?

  • Larry in the Lounge

    “‘U.S. tax returns for 2008 show that Tides Canada paid two coastal First Nations US$27.3-million in a single grant.”
    Great . . so I would assume this First Nation reported this income to Ottawa and had their annual $handout from the generous taxpayers of Canada reduced by an equal amount.
    Or maybe not. When you

  • John

    There are 2 critical elements here we have to consider, the first being our sovereignty. The second is how these campaigns are being funded i.e., without disclosure to who the actual funder is and what their ulterior motive is.

  • Jason

    Steven,
    Miss Krausse is doing this on her own dime, and originally got started on the whole thing out of concerns about US interests in the industry she happened to be working in, fish farming. Why don’t you write her directly…unlike Tides, I’m sure she’d answer any question you sent her way.
    You can be against tanker traffic off our coast AND concerned about US influences affecting our energy policy. The two are not mutually exclusive.
    The point is that you do not want well funded US interests hiding behind charities in order to fund politicians and campaigns that have a nefarious purpose.
    I don’t want our politicians beholden to US backers (we’ve seen how well that works IN the U.S.) and I don’t want misinformation campaigns being financed by U.S. interests that have a stake in the outcome.
    For instance, the enbridge pipeline may be a bad idea…so may tankers running oil off our coast. But I want to determine that based on environmental studies, financial impact, etc. etc…I don’t want U.S. oil interests pumping millions of dollars through Canadian charities because they don’t want our oil going overseas because it limits their control/influence over our energy resources.
    The ends does not justify the means.

  • Bob

    @Steven Forth
    “Everything you are printing here was public knowledge and it is only turning me into a supporter of Tides and Vision, where I was neutral before.”
    Really Steven, there’s no need to be so disingenuous. A little googling would reveal you’d be highly likely to be a Vision supporter to begin with. Better to dispense with the fiction that anything you read here pushed you into that decision.

  • rf

    This really has little to do with influence (in my opinion).
    This is about TAX FRAUD.
    If a conservative minded millionaire was able to get a tax receipt for donating money to the (let’s call it) “Oil Sands Development Foundation”, and the foundation then donated money to a politician in Kitimat (or Indian chief) to lobby for development of pipelines into Douglas channel, the left would be up in arms calling for arrests.
    Eco-socialist millionaires, like the Nature’s Path hypo-clear-cutters, get a tax receipt for donating to Tides and Endswell, who then turn around and donate it to Vision and Gregor Robertson.
    There is really no difference.
    It is TAX FRAUD and obviously funneling of charity to politicians.
    If Tides and co. is going to contribute to political campaigns then the donation tax deductions should be disallowed. They can’t have it both ways. The only reason they think they can have it both ways is because they believe they are ‘more moral’ then opposing ideologies.

  • nurleymon

    “…(American charities) real objective was to ratchet up the well-funded fight against the export of Alberta oil to Pacific Rim countries” Mike Klassen, article. What?…So Americans can consume more of the tar sand oil for themselves? This doesn’t make sense. Isn’t Washington looking at banning Alberta tar sand oil for domestic consumption due to its high carbon footprint? And isn’t the advent of a carbon tax more about ‘when’ not ‘if’? To suggest this is all just a ploy by wealthy American charities to keep tar sand oil for Americans is a bit disingenuous (I suppose Warren Buffet and Bill Gates also have some nefarious American agenda for donating their billions, too?)
    Wikileaks was right: Some (paranoid?) Canadians do have an inferiority complex when it comes to the US.