1. Environmental Campaigns Miss The Mark
The biggest problem with the "environmental" campaigns funded by Tides Canada and its U.S. funders is that these campaigns consume considerable public attention and hundreds of millions of dollars but they miss the real, priority environmental problems. Take forests and wild salmon, for example.
U.S foundations have spent more than $150 million on the Great Bear Rainforest and the Boreal Forest Initiative but in the hundreds of grants that I've seen for more than $300 million, I've only found one grants for $25,000 to address the pine beetle epidemic that has devastated B.C. forests.
Wild salmon are extinct or severely endangered in 34 rivers in the Bay of Fundy, on the east coast of Canada but the place where Tides Canada and its American funders are spending tens of millions of dollars is on the west coast - where last year the returns of Fraser sockeye were the highest in 100 years.
When it comes to both forests and salmon, I don't see how Tides Canada's U.S.-funded campaigns would address the real, priority environmental problems but I do see how these campaigns would protect American economic, market and trade interests - all in the name of protecting the environment. Scaring consumers away from farmed salmon helps to prop up the market for wild salmon, most of which is Alaskan. Whether intentional or not, the campaign against oil tanker traffic on the north coast of B.C., Canada's strategic, northern gateway, would block oil trade with Asia. No oil tanker traffic means no oil export to Asia and that the U.S. gets to keep its monopoly on Canadian oil exports.
For more about this, click here.
2. Big Influence
Tides Canada is behind Open Media, the group that recently mobilized more than 400,000 people to oppose a CRTC decision on user-based internet billing. This is an example of how influential Tides Canada can be. After questions were raised about Tides Canada's involvement with Open Media, several relevant web-pages were quietly removed or re-written.
3. Foreign-Funded Political Involvement, especially in B.C.
Tides Canada is behind Organizing for Change. One of the activities of this U.S.-funded project was to get people to temporarily join the B.C. Liberal party in order to be able to vote on February 26, 2011, to determine who would become the next Premier of British Columbia after the resignation of Gordon Campbell. The Wilburforce foundation, created one of the founders of Microsoft, has paid at least $917,000 towards this project that influences B.C. politics. See: Americans Are Meddling in B.C. Politics, published in The Vancouver Sun.
4. Big Bucks
Since 2000, Tides Canada has gone through $200 million. That's a lot of cash and it raises a fair question: Where did all that money come from, and what has Tides Canada accomplished with it? Since 2003, Tides Canada has spent $56 million on staff and consultants. The head count has sky-rocketed from 37 to 251 employees (from 2006 to 2010) and Tides Canada's payroll has tripled from $3.2 million to over $10 million.
$60 Million from American Foundations
U.S. tax returns and on-line records show that since 2000, Tides Canada has been paid nearly $60 Million by American foundations. Simultaneously, these U.S. foundations are funding multi-million dollar campaigns that would thwart Canadian industries while benefitting American interests - all in the name of protecting the environment. For example, with all the bad press over farmed salmon - generated by Tides Canada-funded organizations - people have been swayed to "wild" salmon, most of which is Alaskan. The ex-vessel value of Alaskan salmon has more than quadrupled from $125 million to $533 million tripled. See: Packard's Push Against B.C. Salmon. The campaign against oil tanker traffic on the north coast of B.C. would block Canadian oil exports to Asia. No oil tankers means no oil exports to Asia.
In 2008, Tides Canada paid $27.3 Million to two small First Nations on the B.C coast, U.S. tax returns show. One of the biggest projects of Tides Canada has been the creation of the Coast Conservation Endowment Fund Foundation (CCEFF), a federally registered charity in both the U.S. and Canada. What this means is that through CCEFF, U.S. foundations can now channel funds directly to B.C. First Nations - but only to "eligible" First Nations which includes only those on the strategic, north coast of B.C. According to the Conservation Investments and Incentives Agreement which Tides Canada signed along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, B.C. First Nations and three other billion-dollar U.S. foundations (Hewlett, Packard & Moore), certain First Nations will get $60 million as part of this agreement, as stipulated in the excerpt from this agreement, shown to the right.
6. The Strategic Plan
Back in 2004, Tides Canada was paid $70,000 to develop "a strategic plan to address oil and gas development in British Columbia." Since then, the same foundation has granted $25 million for projects to tackle the Canadian energy sector. That's a lot of money and it raises a fair question: What's the plan? So far, Tides Canada won't say.
7. Campaigns That Would Thwart Canadian Oil Exports to Asia
As of 2009, Tides Canada was funding 20 organizations that are involved in various campaigns that would block Canadian oil exports to Asia - all in the name of preventing an oil spill on the strategic, north coast of B.C. In 2009, fully half of Tides Canada's grant-making went towards projects on the B.C. north coast. This would mean that the U.S. would continue to have a virtual monopoly on Canadian oil exports - all in the name of preventing an oil spill on the north coast of B.C. Over the course of 2009 and 2010, the U.S. Tides Foundation, the parent organization of Tides Canada, paid $10 million to 43 organizations involved in a "Tar Sands Campaign" against Canadian oil. See: U.S. Cash vs. Oil Sands.
8. The $11.4 Million Dollar Question
According to my analysis of Canadian tax returns, the biggest so-called "Canadian" funder of Tides Canada is the Endswell Foundation. Since 2003, fully 99 percent of Endswell's grants went to Tides Canada, a total of $8.7 Million. In essence, Endswell's grant-making consisted solely of tranferring money to Tides Canada. The senior people are Tides Canada and at Endswell are the same (Joel Solomon, Drummond Pike, and James Morrisey) so when they make grants from one charity to another, it seems to me that, in essence, they are just transferring money from one pocket to another. I don't have a problem with them doing that but I wonder why they needed to spend $11.4 Million in the process. This is what I have referred to as the $11.4 Million Dollar Question.
Why did office and staff costs sky-rocket at Endswell? Why did Endswell even need an office when its grant-making was simply a matter of transferring money to Tides Canada? And why did Endswell, a charity, pay $2.3 Million to staff at Renewal Partners, an "investment firm?" During all those years when Endswell didn't make one single grant to any organization except Tides Canada, what were Endswell's staff doing? Why did salaries double or even triple over the span of a few years? How come Joel Solomon, one of the supposed "founders" of Endswell, has been paid $929,527 - not including payments to "JSCO"? What kind of "millionaire philanthropist" pays himself a million bucks out of his charity?
9. Interdependent Investments Ltd.
Since 1999, Endswell has paid $1.4 Million to an "investment" company called Interdependent Investments Ltd. Until April 13, 2011, the officers of this company were Joel Solomon and Martha Burton, company records show. Interdependent Investments Ltd. contributed at least $6,000 to Vision Vancouver. Did that money originate from Endswell, in other words, did Vision Vancouver accept campaign donations indirectly, from a charity? Where did the rest of the money go? If there's nothing to hide, why don't Joel Solomon and Martha Burton answer the question? Interestingly enough, the involvement of Martha Burton, the treasurer of Vision Vancouver, was quietly discontinued on April 13, 2011 - one week after a letter was sent to Mayor Gregor Robertson to inquire about Interdependent Investments Ltd.
10. Behind-The-Scenes Influence
Some of Tides Canada's activities aren't exactly out in the open. For example, a Greenpeace web-site against Alberta tourism, was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc., through Tides Canada. The names of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Tides Canada are nowhere to be seen on the web-site that bears the Greenpeace name. See:
- Environmental Activists Hide Behind A Screen Of Big Money, Kevin Libin, National Post
For more reasons about why I believe that its fair to inquire about the influence of the U.S. Tides Foundation, in Canada, and Tides Canada, please click here.
- For my letters to Tides Canada since 2007, click here.
- For Tides Canada Foundation, click here.
- For Tides Canada Initiatives Society, click here. (This link was active until 15 October 2010).
- For The U.S. Tides Foundation, click here.
- For The Endswell Foundation and Renewal Partners, click here.
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Updated November 12, 2011