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Organizing for Change
- Organizing for Change is a project of Tides Canada, a registered charity. One of the activities of this project has been to urge people to temporarily join the Liberal Party to be able to participate in the vote that will determine the next Premier of B.C. on Feb. 26, 2011.
- Organizing for Change has been funded by the Wilburforce Foundation, based in Seattle. U.S. tax returns show that since 2000, Wilburforce has paid a total of $917,000 for Organizing for Change, and several related projects. Of that, at least $334,000 was specifically for Organizing for Change and the project that came before it, the Environmental Resource Centre. The amount that was specifically for 2010 was at least $145,000. How much, if any, was for Organizing for Change's membership drive, is unclear.
- Shortly after questions were raised about the Wilburforce Foundation in an op-ed published in the National Post (Who is Organizing for Change?), the Wilburforce Foundation quietly removed detailed information from its web-site, about its grants for Organizing for Change, the Dogwood Initiative, and other grants.
- The Wilburforce Foundation is funded by James and Rosanna Letwin. Since 1999, the Letwins have given $80 Million to Wilburforce, including nearly $54 Million in Microsoft shares.
- In 2009, Wilburforce made grants for $9.6 million. Of that, $1.7 million was paid directly to Canadian organizations. That included $25,000 paid to the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation for "legal strategies to protect the Great Bear Rainforest from oil supertankers," and a nice, even $100,000 paid to the David Suzuki Foundation.
Wilburforce support goes far beyond its grants for specific projects. For example, Wilburforce has paid for laptops for environmental organizations and individual activists, monetary leadership awards for specific individuals ($5,000 - $10,000) and $7.6 Million since 2000 for Training Resources for the Environmental Community.
- The web-site for Organizing for Change, was developed and is currently supported by a Seattle-based organization called Groundwire. Organizing for Change says that Groundwire has provided "strategic advice, coaching and tools." Groundwire helped Organizing for Change to contact 28,000 households in 2009.
- One of the e-mails sent out by Organizing for Change says, "If you received this message, you live in a provincial riding with very few Liberal Party members, probably less than 400." How would they know that? In 2010, Wilburforce paid Tides USA $60,000 for "mapping of conservation values in British Columbia.” One wonders what they mapped.
- The Grantee Guidelines of the Wilburforce Foundation state that it does not support youth education and yet, in 2005, Wilburforce granted funds specifically for a "youth voting initiative." The U.S. tax return for the Wilburforce Foundation state that this initiative would "give B.C. environmental groups access to a segment of the population that they are otherwise not usually exposed to.”
- Since 2000, Tides Canada has had expenditures of nearly $150 million. Since 2003, Tides Canada and its counter-part, the Endswell Foundation, have paid $51 Million in staff salaries and consultants.
- Tides Canada's projects for on-line mobilization can have a substantial influence. An example of this is Open Media, a Tides Canada project which recently mobilized more than 400,000 people to oppose a CRTC decision on user-based internet billing.
- One of the largest funders of Tides Canada is the Endswell Foundation. Serious, unanswered questions have been raised about why and how the Endswell Foundation spent $11.4 Million in over-head-like expenses while it was simply making 99 percent of its grants to Tides Canada.
- Tides Canada has been paid at least $56 million by U.S. foundations, since 2000, according to U.S. tax returns and on-line records.
U.S. Funding to Tackle Alberta Oil
The member organizations of Organizing for Change, and Tides Canada, are paid well over $1 million per year from five U.S. foundations: Wilburforce, Brainerd, Bullitt, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. All five foundations fund projects that would block Canadian oil exports to Asia and give the U.S. a virtual monopoly on Canadian oil exports. For example:
- Since 2004, the Hewlett foundation has paid $12 million for projects to tackle the Alberta oil industry.
- The Brainerd Foundation, based in Seattle, paid the Dogwood Initiative "To help grow public opposition to counter the Enbridge pipelin construction."
- The Bullitt Foundation, also based in Seattle, paid $30,000 to Tides USA "to mobilize urban voters for a federal ban on coastal tankers" but shortly after I testified about this to a House of Commons Committee, they simply re-wrote this grant.
- Paid for by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Canada produced a Greenpeace web-site that disparages Alberta tourism because of a beef against the oil companies, most of which are American. Whatever the grievances against the oil industry, it doesn't make sense to pick on Alberta tourism. The $50,000 for this project went from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc. to Tides Canada, yet the web-site appears with the Greenpeace logo, and the names of Tides Canada and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc., are no where to be seen. This is an example of the behind-the-scenes role that Tides Canada has been playing.
The Dogwood Initiative
- One of the members of Organizing for Change is the Dogwood Initiative. As part of its "No Tankers" campaign, Groundwire helped Dogwood to send thousands of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of B.C., and the Chinese Ambassador to Canada.
- The Dogwood Initiative is funded, amongst other sources, by four U.S. foundations that have a clear agenda to block oil tanker traffic on the B.C. coast. Not only this would preclude the risk of an oil spill, this would block exports of Canadian oil to Asia.
- Through Tides USA, the Wilburforce Foundation paid the Dogwood Initiative “To develop a conservation-based legal and policy framework to devolve control of land in B.C.’s central coast to First Nations and communities in the interest of long-term habitat protection.”
- As shown below in the map from the Wilburforce Foundation, the only part of the entire coast of North America where the Wilburforce Foundation is funding a coastal conservation initiative is the north coast of British Columbia - right smack where oil tankers would need to travel to facilitate Canadian oil exports to Asia.
Of all the pipelines in North America, why is it that the only pipeline against which U.S. foundations are funding a multi-million dollar campaign is the Northern Gateway Enbridge pipeline which would make possible the export of Canadian oil to Asia?
- U.S. Foundations Against The Oil Sands, The Financial Post, October 15, 2010.
- Demarketing Alberta, The Financial Post, December 15, 2010.