Click here for Brent Bambury's interview with Tzeporah Berman, David Suzuki & me (Vivian).
Click here for Brent Bambury's interview with Tzeporah Berman, David Suzuki & me (Vivian).
Published in The Financial Post:
More than any other initiative in the 2012 federal budget, the one that struck a chord with Canadians is $8-million for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to require greater transparency from non-profits with regard to their political activity and foreign funding. An Angus Reid poll found that 80% of Canadians support this move.
Environmentalists, however, feel that they’re being picked on.
David Suzuki has dismissed the focus on U.S. funding as “twisted logic” and “a conspiracy theory.” Further, in an open letter sent last week, Mr. Suzuki, Canada’s foremost environmentalist, suggested that his foundation is being “bullied.” He also announced that he has stepped off the board of his foundation. “I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political,” he wrote.
It stands to reason that David Suzuki would defend his funding. After all, he built his foundation with millions of U.S. dollars. Back in 2000, more than half of the Suzuki foundation’s budget was covered by U.S. foundations. The U.S. share has dropped dramatically since, from 52% in 2000 to 5% in 2010. Still, according to my calculations, over the past decade U.S. foundations accounted for at least 17% of the revenue of the David Suzuki Foundation. In correspondence for this article, the foundation did not dispute these numbers."
To continue reading, click here.
Also, there are some pretty strong opinions about this here.
Back in November of 2010, the Oak Foundation granted $97,131 to the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation to enact a legislative tanker ban on the north coast of B.C. The grant was for two years in duration, to be completed in October of 2012. At some point between April 3 and April 17 of 2012, after the project had already been underway for at least a year, the Oak Foundation re-wrote this grant.
The re-written version omits the loaded sentence which states, “The desired result would be a permanent legislative tanker ban and cancellation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.” Also, in the re-written version, the Oak Foundation removed words stating that West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation “will intensify its government education and outreach activities….”
In the original version, the Oak Foundation stated “(a) opposition parties holding a Parliamentary majority work together to enact a legislative tanker ban under a minority government and/or (b) opposition parties promise a legislative tanker ban so committing themselves to act following an election that produces a majority government.”
The re-written version specifies that the purpose of this $97,131 is to get First Nations to declare their own bans on transportation of tar sands crude oil through their territories and waters. The original version specifies pipelines and tankers. The re-written version does not specify pipelines and tankers.
Back in 2006, West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation was also paid $100,000 by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund "To prevent the development of a pipeline and tanker port that endangers the Great Bear Rainforest protected area."
Since 2005, the Oak Foundation has granted at least $16 million to environmental groups operating in Canada, particularly against Alberta oil.
Another Oak grant for $424,373 to Greenpeace aimed to get Norway's Statoil, Britian's BP and the Government of France to disengage from investing in the Canadian oil industry.
Since 2005, the Oak Foundation has granted at least $16 million for environmental campaigns affectecting Canada. The Oak Foundation has made at least eight grants specifically to tackle the Alberta oil industry, the Northern Gateway pipeline and the Canadian energy sector as a whole. The Oak Foundation has also made at least four grants for $900,000 to Tides Canada and has granted at least $6 million for the Global Climate Action Campaign, based here in Canada.
In one instance, the Oak Foundation funded the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation to enact a legislative ban on tanker traffic on the north coast of B.C. The original grant stated “The desired result would be a permanent legislative tanker ban and cancellation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.” Another Oak grant for $424,373 to Greenpeace aimed to get Norway's Statoil, Britian's BP and the Government of France to disengage from investing in the Canadian oil industry. The same grant was also for developing the wind industry in Alberta.
For the database of the Oak Foundation, click here.
Since 2005, the U.S.-based Oak Foundation has made at least eight grants for $3 million for projects that are clearly intended to tackle the Canadian oil industry and/or stop the development of the Northern Gateway project. Four of these grants went to Tides Canada, two went to Greenpeace, one went to Forest Ethics and one went to West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation.
1) In 2010, Oak paid $US 97,131 to West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation "to constrain development of Alberta's tar sands by establishing a legislative ban on crude oil tankers on British Columbia's north coast." Oak specified, "Such a ban would necessitate the cancelation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline" and Oak states, "The desired result would be a permanent legislative tanker ban and cancellation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline." Oak also specified how WCELRF would bring this about. Oak states, "WCEL will intensify its government education and outreach activities to establish the conditions under which (a) opposition parties holding a Parliamentary majority work together to enact a legislative tanker ban under a minority government and/or (b) opposition parties promise a legislative tanker ban so committing themselves to act following an election that produces a majority government; and (c) First Nations declare their own bans on transportation of tar sands crude oil by pipeline or tanker through their territories and waters, adding pressure on federal parties to act."
2) In 2010, Oak paid $US 299,879 to Forest Ethics for a project titled, "Tar Sands Campaign." The stated purpose of this project is "To minimise Tar Sands impacts by 1) creating a perception of economic risk, whereby Tar Sands imports become less attractive to US corporations and, the Canadian government questions its unbridled support for expanded and unregulated development; 2) placing a hard cap on Tar Sands emissions to slow expansion and clean up operations; and 3) addressing the environmental impacts of Tar Sands to limit toxic pollution of water and air and respect Aboriginal Treaty Rights. ForestEthics will work with at least 10 Fortune 500 companies to publicly disavow Tar Sands fuel and to purchase fuel from less polluting sources; work with at least one of these companies to exert influence within the US Government to support regulations that will disadvantage Tar Sands fuel; and stop Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline which would carry Tar Sands oil from Alberta through BC's pristine wilderness to an oil tanker port on the coast for shipment to Asia."
3) In 2007, Oak paid $US 436,675 to Greenpeace Canada for a project titled, "Phase Out Tar Sands Campaign." The stated purpose of the project was "To initiate three distinct but interrelated efforts concerning tar sands in Alberta: (1) enhancing the ability of Greenpeace Canada to more effectively launch and deliver its "Phase Out Tar Sands Campaign"; (2) leveraging the growing interest of ranchers/landowners in limiting unbridled oil and gas exploration and production in southern Alberta; and (3) conducting specialised opinion research and media work to identify messaging for these and other efforts that will generate maximum impact among Albertans."
4) In 2010, Oak paid $US 424,373 to Greenpeace Canada for a project titled, "Stop the Tar Sands Campaign,"Oak stipulated that with its funds, Greenpeace Canada "will employ its unique strengths as a direct advocacy organisation to create controversy around the tar sands both within and outside of Canada." Oak states that the result of this project will be "the withdrawal of two institutional investors from the tar sands by 2012; the disengagement of Norway's Statoil and Britian's BP from the tar sands project;the end of tar sands subsidies from the Government of France. Oak stipulated that this project will "create enough financial, regulatory, and political uncertainty that prominent financial analysts will publicly state their concern about investments in the tar sands; to generate enough information and attention that the media, opinion leaders, and Members of Parliament will express concerns publically about the lack of government regulation of the tar sands industry."
The Oak Foundation also made four grants to Tides Canada. For those, click here.
Since 2005, the Oak Foundation has made four grants to Tides Canada for nearly $US900,000. The Oak Foundation has offices in Europe, Africa and the U.S. The foundation files U.S. tax returns.
The Oak Foundation specifically funded Tides Canada to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The Oak Foundation also funded Tides Canada "to launch a public and media relations campaign to persuade the Government of Canada to halt planned policies" with regards to climate change. Oak also funded Tides Canada to create a "Canadian Energy Fund," similar to the Energy Foundation, with a budget of up to USD 30 million sourced from 100 to 200 high-net worth Canadian and international donors. The Energy Foundation's explicit purpose is to shift the U.S. economy away from so-called "yesterday's fossil fuels," and to create a market for renewable energy technology, worth $65 billion over 15 years.
In at least one instance, the funds for Tides Canada were granted by the Oak Foundation, through the U.S. Tides Foundation.
Details of Oak Grants to Tides Canada:
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During 2009 and 2010, the Oak Foundation granted $6 million for the Global Campaign for Climate Action, based here in Canada. Who ultimately got the money? And how was it spent?
By its own admission, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been using Tides Canada as a vehicle through which to receive charitable donations because PETA itself doesn't qualify for charitable status.
"Head up, Canadian!" wrote PETA at its web-site, adding, "For your retirement account, and donations and bequests to PETA in general, you may want to consider giving through the Tides Canada Foundation-PETA Fund. Tides Canada. Tides Canada is a registered charity, but PETA is not because of our advocacy work. The RRSP beneficiary paperwork is just as easy, so if Canadian tax credits are important, you can only get those benefits by making the beneficiary of your retirement accounts the Tides Canada-PETA Fund rather than specifying PETA."
Elsewhere at its web-site PETA says, "Are you interested in receiving a Canadian tax credit for your bequest or donation? Contact us to learn more about the Tides Canada PETA Fund. Like many advocacy and campaigning organizations in Canada, PETA is not recognized as a charity under Canadian law, so donations made directly to PETA are not tax-creditable against Canadian income. However, donations and bequests made to the PETA Fund at the Tides Canada Foundation, a qualified Canadian charity, may be eligible for a Canadian tax credit...."
To read this web-page at PETA's web-site as it reads today, click here. To read this web-page as it reads in Internet archives from , click here. For a .pdf click here. For information about the Tides Canada-Peta Fund, click here.
Living Oceans Society
Another organization, also funded by Tides Canada, that has admitted in writing that it was keeping its political activity quiet, is Living Oceans Society (LOS). Over the past decade, Living Oceans Society has been granted at least $10 million by U.S. foundations, U.S. tax returns show.
In a 2001 report prepared by LOS, contained in the U.S. tax returns of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, LOS says, "Living Oceans Society is currently applying for charitable tax status. We have been advised to refrain from posting action items on our web-page until this application has been approved as it could be interpreted as 'political.' In the meantime, we have met with a web-page designer and we are prepared to add this to our web page when the timing is more appropriate." This excerpt is shown below.
How is Living Oceans Society funded today? At its web-site, Living Oceans says that it is funded through Tides Canada. "Contributions donated to the Oceans Fund (at Tides Canada) are granted to various charitable organizations that we collaborate with to support work that advances our mission of research and education .... Donations to support this charitable work are eligible for a charitable tax receipt issued by Tides Canada Foundation," says Living Oceans Society at its web-site.
Pipe Up Against Enbridge
Other information about politically-active organizations funded by Tides Canada has also been taken off-line since this blog began to raise quesitons about this political activity - which does not appear to be related to any charitable purpose. For example, the web-site of Rainforest Solutions, one of the largest projects of Tides Canada, no longer promotes the Pipe Up Against Enbridge campaign, as it did during the summer of 2011 (as shown above).
In 2009, Tides Canada granted $848,966 to Rainforest Solutions, in a single grant, U.S. tax returns show. How much Tides Canada has since granted for this project is unclear because Tides Canada's U.S. tax returns for 2010 are much less transparent than they were in 2008 and 2009.
Information about donations to Open Media, made through Tides Canada, has also been quietly removed and re-written. For more about that, click here.
Living Oceans Society, based in the small, remote B.C. town of Sointula, has been paid more than $US10 million since 2000 by American charitable foundations, according to my analysis of U.S. tax returns and the on-line databases of these foundations. U.S. grants to LOS increased from $8,000 in 1999 to a high of $2.9 million in 2008.
By far, most of this U.S. money has gone towards Living Ocean's campaign against salmon farming. Living Oceans was also granted U.S. funds for a campaign "to retain the current prohibition on offshore oil and gas development in British Columbia." That was a grant from the Seattle-based Bullitt-foundation for $20,000 in 2005.
Living Oceans Society is a federally registered charity in the U.S. but as far as I can tell, it is not federally registered in Canada. According to information provided by staff at the Canada Revenue Agency, Living Oceans began the process of becoming a federally registered Canadian charity but did not complete it. In a 2001 report contained in the U.S. tax returns of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, LOS says, "Living Oceans Society is currently applying for charitable tax status. We have been advised to refrain from posting action items on our web-page until this application has been approved as it could be interpreted as 'political.' In the meantime, we have met with a web-page designer and we are prepared to add this to our web page when the timing is more appropriate." This excerpt from Living Ocean's own report, is shown below.
Of the $10 million, $6.5 million was from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, $2.3 million was from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation,$789,698 was from the Oak Foundation and $260,000 was from the Marisla Foundation.
Living Oceans Society was contacted by phone and by e-mail and asked to confirm these numbers. No reply was received. (For my previous letter to Living Oceans Society, sent in March of 2010, click here).
Grants from the Marisla Foundation and several of the grants from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation were made through the Redmond, Washington-based Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI). The $260,000 from the Marisla foundation includes a grant for $130,000 which may not have been passed on to the Living Oceans Society in its entirety. Other grants from Marisla to MCBI may have been passed on in whole or in part to LOS but are not included in the list below as the stated purpose of the grant did not specifically mention LOS.
Below, here are links to the grants from American foundations to Living Oceans Society, for a total of $10 million.
Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation: $6,508,141
David & Lucile Packard Foundation: $2,358,000
Directly to the Living Oceans Society:
Through the Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI), Redmond WA:
Bullitt Foundation: $178,000
This included three grants that specifically refer to the offshore moratorium on oil and gas development in B.C.:
Over the years, the stated purposes of grants made by the Bullitt Foundation to Living Oceans Society became more vague. In 2010, the stated purpose of the grant is simply "For general support."
Marisla Foundation: $260,000
Oak Foundation: $789,698
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