by Michelle Stirling © 2020

In Don Braid’s recent op-ed attacking the Canadian Energy Centre, commonly known as the ‘War Room’ he seems willfully blind to the Tar Sands Campaign against Alberta and the damage that has been done to our international reputation and economy. It also seems that he does not care, as he calls for the War Room to be closed for its bumbling entrée into the world and some sloppy accounting practices that the Auditor General says were bad, but rectified.

Don seems miffed that no one can FOIP the Canadian Energy Centre. He does not seem to mind that you cannot FOIP TIDES/MakeWay, which has consumed way more taxpayers’ money as a federally registered charity than the Canadian Energy Centre. Through the TIDES network of cooperative fundee and friends, billions of dollars in investment in Alberta and infrastructure in Canada has been blocked through its role in the Tar Sands Campaign.

Based on public records from 2000 to 2018, TIDES/MakeWay received revenues that were more than the combined revenues of Canada’s two largest federal political parties, the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada.

Environmental Defence, one of the loudest detractors of the Alberta oil sands, received some $9,348,308 from the US Joyce Foundation. In fact, from 2000-2018 the top 40 ENGOs (most of which are tax subsidized charities) received some $11.8 billion in revenues, lots of that from foreign entities.

Alberta trying to fight back with facts and a miniscule budget is facing an uphill battle. Certainly, it did not help that the War Room tripped itself up with many amateurish faux pas – but the fledgling agency did not have the benefit of Tar Sands Campaign strategists connected to one of the world’s largest ad agencies or their direct connections to major international media, or billions of dollars. And how ironic that Canada’s federally funded mainstream media reporters, berated the Canadian Energy Centre staff as not being ‘reporters’ because they are paid by the government of Alberta. Did they ever lift a finger to objectively report on Alberta and fact check the claims of the Tar Sands Campaign ENGOs? No. Because most of them are climate crazed Stockholm Syndrome mental hostages to the Tar Sands Campaign psyop.

How ironic that the Toronto Star reported that the Canadian Association of Journalists protested the use of the word ‘reporter’ by the War Room, when the Toronto Star partnered with TIDES/Make Way for six months of Orwellian pro-Paris and anti-oil sands reporting in the lead up to the COP21 confab which resulted in the Paris Agreement. Also laughable as most Canadian journalists are government funded. Claims that renewables will replace oil, natural gas and coal are examples of poor journalism, especially since you can’t make any renewables without fossil fuels.

Alberta’s oil sands have been used as a wedge issue in US politics for over 2 decades with green billionaires financing all kinds of antics from protests to ad campaigns. Greenpeace and WWF have been funded to mobilize their people to attack politicians, banks, and insurance companies for any oil sands engagement. Greenpeace and WWF activists have also been lead authors of IPCC climate change reports BTW.

Back at home, for many years, blind to the strategized Tar Sands Campaign, Alberta naively tried stakeholder sessions, putting radicals like Tzeporah Berman (who Chatelaine labelled “The oil industry’s number one enemy” March 15, 2019) on the board of industry-ENGO-citizen groups, trying to make peace and create a rational dialogue on climate and energy policies. Until the work of Vivian Krause reached the public, Albertans never realizing there was a multi-billion-dollar effort and hundreds of international groups behind the Tar Sands Campaign.

The main goal of several of the green crony capitalist backers of the Tar Sands Campaign, it seems, was commercial. Several are associated with the ClimateWorks “Design to Win” plan, through which the green philanthrocapitalists wanted to establish a price on carbon, global cap and trade legislation and to put renewables (wind and solar) on the grid worldwide (as these generate the tradeable carbon credits). They funded local ENGOs to advocate for policies they wanted, creating the illusion of grassroots demand and avoiding issues of provincial or national sovereignty on policy. Demonizing fossil fuels became easy once the oil sands was targeted. The open pit mines are a perfect ‘dirty’ visual to contrast with ‘clean, green’ power, which turns out to be fairly useless, unreliable, and expensive. Perception is reality. On that score, no matter the FACTS on Alberta’s stellar environmental and industrial record, Alberta lost.

The Tar Sands Campaign falsely claims that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are harmful and are causing a dangerous rise in global temperatures. This is based on climate models [computer simulations], which exaggerate the climate sensitivity (warming effect) of CO2 by a factor of two compared to temperature data. Roger Pielke, Jr. revealed that the same green billionaires who hate the oil sands and Keystone XL, propagated “Risky Business” – a report that uses the most extreme and unrealistic climate model known as RCP 8.5, to paint a frightening climate science fiction picture.

In reality, the economic analysis shows that benefits of CO2 emissions to agriculture (by warming and CO2 fertilization) are likely about 80 times greater than the predicted combined damages of CO2, of an increase in storms, hurricanes, and sea level rise. To date, there is no evidence of an increase of extreme weather events or acceleration in sea level rise.

Who knew that a Canadian would form the Strathmere Group so that the top 14 ENGOs could meet and strategize their next coordinated move… against Alberta? FOIP that, Don. Meanwhile Alberta Environment’s communication department (where I once worked as an information coordinator for public inquiries) naively continued to issue explanatory brochures, websites, and information pamphlets on the facts about the oil sands.

No one wants facts. Not even Don! The highly mobilized climate change ENGO groupies want to be Superheroes like Catherine McKenna in her green cape and mask, or defiant know-it-all rebels like high school dropout Greta Thunberg.

Curiously, Greta’s security detail for her visit to Montreal last year was financed by the David Suzuki Foundation, via the Trottier Foundation. And curiously, Greta is backed by a group of carbon offset promoters. How is that charitable activity? In fact, ‘climate change’ as a cause does not even meet the Canada Revenue Agency mandate of ‘local, tangible, measurable’.

Don. No questions??

Certainly, when one looks at Calgary’s gutted downtown and Alberta’s unemployment figures, none of the activity of the Tar Sands ENGO Campaigners has met the CRA’s ‘charitable’ test of providing a net public benefit.

The “benefit” aspect of the test concerns whether the charitable purpose under consideration is directed towards achieving a universal good that is not harmful to the public—a socially useful endeavour.

So, Don thinks Alberta should give up without a fight, just because the War Room bumbled around in its first year out.

The lives of hundreds of thousands of Albertans have been ruined by the Tar Sands Campaign. I am a Calgarian. I will keep fighting back, even if Don Braid will not.


Note: As this was being posted, the Canadian Energy Centre issued a new report: “$672 billion: The energy sector’s revenues to Canadian governments 2000–2018 – Canada’s oil and gas sector alone contributed $493 billion to federal, provincial and municipal governments”. Not worth a couple of million bucks to find out who is destroying this industry and blocking access to world markets, Don?

Michelle Stirling

Michelle Stirling is the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society, a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, and AAAS.


Friends of Science Society is a volunteer-run non-profit society, funded by member/subscribers. Average donations are less than $500. We do not represent any industry and have no government contracts or funding. We have no relationship with Vivian Krause. Other than the single reference to one of her news reports in this post, we gathered the data for our reports on ENGO funding and assets independently through our own research from public records.