Senate inquiry hears "why are US billionaires so keen to 'save' Canada?"
It's an idea that wouldn't be out of place in a university textbook on international relations, or better yet, a spy novel. Are environmentalists who love Canada and who love the green Earth unwitting agents in service of American national interests?
It's not a question I pose, rather it has been asked by a member of Canada's Senate. Currently an inquiry led by Ontario Senator Nicole Eaton is underway to look into the "Involvement of Foreign Foundations in Canada's Domestic Affairs." It was during this inquiry that Conservative Senator Mike Duffy proposed the idea that the real goal of environmental protests against the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan expansion is to strengthen Canada's dependency on US trade routes.
In the past couple of years we've heard Canada's top spy, CSIS director Richard Fadden talk about how there were (are) BC municipal politicians acting as "unwitting agents of influence" for a foreign country. It's an extraordinary claim from public servant who is otherwise predisposed to keeping silent. Is BC's coastline the front line for a much larger struggle than our national debate on shipping petroleum to Asia?
It pays to be skeptical sometimes, which seems to be the approach Postmedia's Ottawa reporter Peter O'Neil took on this subject. O'Neil interviewed Vivian Krause after one of her Parliamentary committee testimonials last February, and decides to "leave it to readers to decide if her theories that have drawn so much attention have any plausibility." Krause is on the record suggesting that alternative "green" energy interests benefit from an oil sands blockade, recognizing that this also conforms with green principles.
Here is a link to the full transcript of Eaton's inquiry last week, and the remarks of Senator Duffy excerpted below:
Hon. Michael Duffy: Honourable senators, I rise to take the adjournment of this debate today, but having listened to my eloquent friend I have to throw in a few words.
I want to pay tribute, first, to the important work being done by Vivian Krause, the independent Vancouver researcher, who has done the nation a great service by bringing the facts to the attention of the general public. As a reporter, I found the most important question in a story was: Why? In this case, why are the Rockefeller brothers and their American billionaire friends spending hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to help — and I put the word "help" in inverted commas — why are they so keen to save Canada? Could it be they have their own commercial agenda?
Financial experts tell us the amount that U.S. oil companies pay for Canadian oil. Rockefellers, oil; does it connect? Canadians are receiving between $20 and $30 less a barrel for Canadian oil going into the United States than we would receive if we had an alternative market in which to sell that oil, and we were able to sell it at a competitive price. Senator Moore, that would mean millions — billions, in fact — of extra tax dollars for Canada. Those dollars could be used for worthwhile purposes like social programs, senior citizens, medicare, food banks and all of those things. We would have money for that, but we are selling Americans oil at a huge discount. Why do the Rockefeller brothers not want us to have an alternative market for our oil? Could it be that it would drive up the price and allow us to receive the world price of oil?
Is that the real agenda here? Do they really want to keep Canada dependent on the U.S. market, where they get to dictate the price? Are these American billionaires using well-intentioned Canadians in pursuit of an agenda that has nothing to do with Canada's interests but has everything to do with the interests of big business in the United States?
Despite their protestations of innocence, we are learning more every day about how some of these groups are abusing the Canadian tax system. This is not only an abuse of the Canadian taxpayer, it unfairly casts a shadow over the vast majority of charities that do great work and that follow the rules. I salute Senator Segal for pointing that out; but these few who choose to flout the law are putting a cloud over the many who do important work every day.
We must bring these foreign-funded abuses to an end before further damage is done to the honest, hard-working, good, Canadian charitable sector.
On that note, I move the adjournment in my name.
- post by Mike