Vivian Krause signs off

Her quest for fairness and compassion for rural communities isn't putting food on the table

I was introduced to Vivian Krause just about two years ago. It was in June 2010 that City Caucus published this story about how Krause made the mistake of trying to chat with David Suzuki at a small occasion they both attended. He told her to fuck off.

For the following year Vivian Krause's writing was featured up to ten times at City Caucus and we were proud to give her a platform on the west coast as her fame grew across Canada. In her columns she asked fair questions about the sources of funding behind the environmental movement and Vision Vancouver, and urged openness at every step of the way. The predicament faced by the David Suzuki Foundation and Tides Canada Foundation today is purely the result of their arrogance. They considered Krause to be a crank, and calculated they could ignore her calls for transparency.

Now if someone was trying to get between me and my paycheque, I admit I might have the same visceral reaction Suzuki had in 2010. It's the economic threat Krause represents to these charitable organizations that best explains the antagonism expressed toward her by people like activist Tzeporah Berman. Berman likes to throw down smack like this regularly on Twitter without a stitch of evidence to back it up:

Painting Vivian Krause as a right winger is the latest tactic to marshall the anger of the public against her. The Tides Canada network of cronies including Berman accuse Krause of being a "paid shill" for big corporations. Not for a minute did it cross their minds that it was Krause's principles that motivated her work, and that she didn't receive a penny from any third party to produce her research (she’s been up front about her sources of income – see here). After Krause announced that she was wrapping up the Fair Questions blog, Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason tweeted that Krause "should be commended for all the work she did, unpaid". But Mason didn't stop there, taking direct aim at Krause's accusers like Berman, Allen Garr and Joel Solomon's sister.

Her research may have impacted public policy at a national level, but the whole enterprise has come at a huge personal sacrifice. Therefore it is understandable why she is hanging up her blogger's gloves. Krause is not intending to disappear, as her fiesty Wednesday column in the Financial Post indicates. 

In tax filings, Tides USA has reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that Tides Canada and the Endswell Foundation are related. Indeed, for many years, all three organizations had Drummond Pike and Joel Solomon at the helm. Pike is the founder of Tides USA and was CEO for 34 years, until he stepped down in 2010. Pike has been on the board of Tides Canada since 2000 and is its “founding chair.” Joel Solomon is the former chair of Tides USA and is the vice-chair of Tides Canada. Pike and Solomon are also Endswell’s long-time chair and president, respectively.

During the 1990s, Endswell was the largest funder of environmental groups in B.C. Between 2003 and 2009, Endswell made grants for a total of $8.7-million. Of that, 99% went to Tides Canada, tax returns show. Given that the senior leadership at Tides Canada and Endswell is the same, these organizations are, in essence, two pockets in the same pair of pants and have been simply transferring money from one pocket to the other.

As a result of Krause's accusations, a war of words is happening online with Tides Canada going on the attack. With the help of public relations experts, Tides launched a "charm offensive" using an odd video which depicts a woman lawyer after she's had a roll in the hay with a hippie. The video dubbed "Strange Bedfellows" implies that business and environmentalists can find common ground by screwing each other. The charity also took the "unprecedented" step of releasing many sources of its funding. Krause reacted by saying the organization had cherry-picked the data.

Just last month Krause momentarily rocked Vancouver politics with this Province newspaper story by Sam Cooper:

Using U.S. tax records, Krause has pointed to about $60-million donated to Tides Canada from American foundations. She noted Tides Canada and another green charity with common directorship, Endswell Foundation, contributed funds to a group of five public relations and investment companies. Using civic election records, Krause showed these companies — Interdependent Investments Ltd, Renewal Partners, Strategic Communications, Convergence Communications and Communicopia — were top funders for Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson in 2008.

Krause suspects the CRA is questioning whether the five companies were used to indirectly pass money from charities to Vision Vancouver.

“I think Tides Canada are skirting the spirit of the law that charities should not contribute to political parties, within the income tax act,” Krause alleged.

Tides Canada CEO Ross McMillan

Meanwhile, Krause tweeted a link to a detailed 32-page open letter titled "Fair Questions to Tides Canada". It covers virtually every unanswered question about the Tides Canada charity, its funding sources, and its political activity. It should be required reading of both veteran and novice journalists alike.

We here at City Caucus also wish to thank Ms. Krause for her sacrifices and her passion. She may be closing an important chapter of her life, but I'm sure we've not heard the last from Vivian Krause.

– post by Mike

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  • Vivian MUST hook up with a top shelf literary agent and get working on a book at the very least. As I said in other comments to other stories, she should be able to option her personal story to TV and movies and turn this stumbling block into a stepping stone.

    The TV show or movie need not be a documentary style, but fictionalized so that the good guys and the bad guys and the issues are presented as drama – but made crystal clear. So many of our Canadian newspeople simply refuse to fill in the blanks in their reporting no matter how much raw data and documentary evidence Krause produces.

    I’m now leaning toward Camille Sullivan as Vivian Krause and Hiro Kanagawa as David Suzuki and Treat Williams as Gregor Robertson. Please people, chime in with other characters for the drama and casting choices.

    I’m feeling motivated to write up a treatment and email it to Vivian so she can pitch it properly.

    • James McGowan as Ross McMillian.
      Kim Hawthorne as Tzeporah Berman

      I’ve got a good ending paraphrasing Vivian’s blog, “Nothing would have happened had David Suzuki answered my first letter.”

    • Richard Unger

      Dear karla,

      So I guess from your words that you are pretty close with Vivian?
      Secondly, BTW, how do you know she’s interested when she never commented on this subject (that I read of here at City Caucus), not here not anywhere?
      And thirdly what makes you think you have the… skill to do that?
      Fair questions! 🙂

      Dr Richard Unger MD (Ret)

      • Not close at all, but you don’t have to be close to appreciate the work and her general kindness and generosity with all her research. Note she constantly gives wiggle room for her targets to take the high road should they choose. Her opponents never take the opportunity and have at least so far always taken the low road. I admire her grit. She’s as skookum as it gets. I suppose I just feel close, but I know that is an illusion.

        I do not know if she’s interested. She says she’s interested in getting a job and earning a living. I do think her story is marketable and all I have done is encourage her to associate with a top-level literary agent to help and guide her whatever she decides to do. It seems like she’s well-suited to write her own story and has all kinds of talent, so why not get paid or option her work to TV & movies.

        And do I have the skill? I’d sure have to prove that with some tangible written work product. Maybe not. I have an idea to weave it all from start to “finish” in a narrative, story type form. To sell a fictional drama, you need the full beginning middle and ending and a cast of characters, a conflict, an issue, a complete story. Since there are many doubters here that the story is sufficiently dramatic, the best way to demonstrate what I mean is to put pen to paper and see what I can come up with.

        It’s a story. She starts a journey and it ends up taking her places she didn’t expect. She encountered powerful people who most thought were doing good works, but discovered a dark secret. Her attempts to sound the alarm are ignored but she perseveres and discovers a larger and larger story with bigger and bigger players and Midas sums of money corrupting people. She’s attacked relentlessly and it is the attacks that finally get the story proper attention.

        It’s not so much the tale as the telling. That’s why I wanted someone like Chris Haddock to write a script in the style of “Da Vinci’s Inquest/City Hall” and “Intelligence” and “The Life”. I want to flesh out the three stages of truth that Vivian experienced. Truth is first ridiculed, then violently opposed, then accepted as self-evident.

        We’ve got such a good cast of characters locally and so many important issues to ponder and discuss. I certainly do not have the skill to nuance a script in the style of Chris Haddock. Who does? The raw material is good. We have so much creative talent in Canada I am confident this can be developed properly.

        Vivian is calling for a discussion. A fictional drama will really get that going far more than the unprofessional and generally crappy “View from Nowhere” journalism that passes around here.

    • Natalie

      Sorry Karla but Vivian story is a bit boring… It is a great documentary, yes, but not a movie, TV series, really?
      When I see some of the Enviro money laundering people indicted and put under lock maybe…

      • Karla Sofen

        The people that believe this haven’t read Vivian’s stuff or they are involved in what she uncovered. Which one are you? I’m sure a lot of people told Erin Brokovich the same thing.

        If you’re not interested, don’t bother watching. But you can be absolutely certain that a book is coming out of this. If there is no movie or TV I’d be very surprised. All the little Tides people can’t wiggle out of it so easily.

        They aren’t gettting very good legal advice or they are not telling the truth to their own lawyers.

        This is going to be epic. The lights are coming on and the cockroaches are scattering just because the IDEA of a movie or TV show of the story is out there.

  • gman

    Groucho Marx as David Suzuki.

    • Groucho said he would not join a club that would have him as a member.

  • Higgins

    Tzeporah Berman, Joel Solomon, Claire Newell, Drummond Pike, Gregor Robertson, David Suzuki… all with a long track record of sucking up to US “foundations” in non-profits/ advocacy (as if anyone need theirs), propagandists at best of their own interests. Look at their affiliations, follow the laundered money and it’s clear like during the day-light. Vivian put a few nails in their racket, the Government of Canada investigation against these leeches needs take them off market for good.
    Let them do a day of honest work for once!
    That thought would put them into irreversible mental distress for sure!
    Way to go Vivian!
    To the Tzepo gang, If I never hear of you ever again it would be too soon!

  • John Cassini as Joel Solomon
    Kristi Angus as Claire Newell
    Nigel Bennett as Drummond Pike

  • Vivian just tweeted a link detailing all her correspondance with Tides Canada. Just look at this all you doubters:

    Really, it’s far beyond the point past beating your head into a wall. Just get on with the book or the movie or the TV mini-series.

    In the larger picture, her effort proves the unimaginable hubris of Tides Canada and the apathy of our local news organizations. Is there even any crackerjack CRA agent that could do all this for so long?

    Vivian is one hell of an impressive lady. Remember that when the flunkeys are criticizing her personally or the newspapers are ridiculing her or the politicians are telling us not to believe our lying eyes.

    Are we allowed expletives here?