How Tax-subsidized, Foreign-funded ENGOs Impact the Canadian Economy
“Big Oil’s problem isn’t international philanthropy – it’s a changing market in the face of climate change.” Jessica Clogg, WCEL
“We celebrated a great victory this year when our clients overturned the federal approval for the Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project…”
Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law
Foreign philanthropies have dumped millions of dollars into environmental groups which in turn have had exceptional influence on Canada’s climate and energy policies.
Read “Manufacturing a Climate Crisis”
West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) – one of the foreign funded environmental groups – says it is ‘fighting back’ with a blog post by WCEL Executive Director and Senior Counsel, Jessica Clogg, claiming that it’s just ‘fear-mongering’ to say that foreign cross-border funding to ENGOs had any impact on Canada’s economy or pipeline construction.
In Ms. Clogg’s blog, she claims that it’s okay for ENGOs to be foreign-funded because the oil and gas business has foreign investment, too.
That’s faulty logic-a false equivalency. The foreign investment in oil, gas, mineral resource or forestry drives the economy. Jobs are created, taxes are paid, arts groups and social charities receive support, employee teams often volunteer to fill the coffers of good causes like the United Way. The company pays money for services, the company and its people pay taxes – in return the economy thrives.
According to Bloomberg as quoted in the Financial Post, the total stock of accumulated foreign investment in Canada at the end of 2017, including debt, was $704 billion. However, the total stock in the oil and gas industry was $120 billion, having fallen by $16.6 billion, or 12.2 %, in 2017, the largest decrease in 17 years.
The National Energy Board publishes annual data on total investment (i.e. domestic and foreign) in the upstream oil industry. Annual investment in 2017 was $40.9 billion, up from $34.9 billion in 2016. Investment in oil sands was $13.6 billion, down 60% from the peak level of annual investment of $33.4 billion in 2014.
On Jan. 20, 2019, CBC’s Wendy Mesley finally aired a story on foreign-funding of Environmental Nongovernmental Organizations (ENGOs). In response to this and a flurry of related media coverage, Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel of West Coast Environmental Law posted a blog in which she said:
“It’s no secret that funders from outside of Canada are contributing to the work of Canadian environmental organizations. The real question is – so what?” – Jessica Clogg, WCEL blog post Jan. 30, 2019
With three major approved pipeline projects blocked by foreign-funded ENGOs thousands of unemployed, taxpaying Canadians want answers. This report “Manufacturing a Climate Crisis” asks more questions and fills in some blanks in response to Ms. Clogg’s “…so what?”