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NOTE: This post was originally posted on 28 June 2010, at Fish Farm Fuss.
Recently, Mike Klassen at CityCaucus.com reported that Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Chief of Staff, Mike Magee, visited the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on a short trip to New York, in April of this year. I can't help but wonder... why - at taxpayers' expense - would Vancouver's Mayor need to visit an American environmental organization in New York?
I wondered if maybe the reason that Mayor Robertson went to the NRDC was because of Mike Magee's contacts so I checked into the tax returns of the NRDC. I didn't find Mike Magee's name but I did find that since 2000, the NRDC has paid a whopping total of $US 49.9 Million to "professional consultants" and I also can't help but wonder.... who are NRDC's consultants? As shown in the figure below, fees paid to NRDC's consultants have doubled from about $US 4.3 Million in 2003, to about $US 10 Million in 2007.
Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has a long history of funding the environmental movement in B.C., including the David Suzuki Foundation. For some time now, I've been trying to inquire about how much U.S. funding the Rockefeller Brothers paid David Suzuki's foundation, and why. According to its annual reports, the Rockefeller Brothers paid David Suzuki's foundation at least $US 425,000 for its "scientific, legal, and media work" and "for organizing First Nations' work" along the B.C. coast.
As I've tried to ask before, why would an American foundation pay the David Suzuki Foundation to organize First Nations in British Columbia? Of all the places in the world, why would the Rockefeller Brothers pay to get aboriginal people organized in Canada? Do First Nations in B.C. know that the David Suzuki Foundation was paid to "organize" their work? What about aboriginal people in the U.S.? Does the Rockefeller Brothers Fund pay environmental organizations to organize them too?
U.S. tax returns show that in 2008, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund paid $700,000 to the Tides Foundation. That included $US 75,000 for its Center for Small Businesses and the Environment (sustainable fruit juices, maybe?), and $50,000 to the Sage Foundation (a project of Tides Canada Foundation) for a web-site about "Oil Sands Tourism."
In 2007, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund granted $640,000 to the Tides Center and the Tides Foundation, including $25,000 for "the Hollywood Foreign Policy Roundtable." Hollywood foreign policy paid for by the Rockefeller Brothers? Sounds juicy!
According to his itinerary, Mayor Robertson's breakfast with the Rockefeller Brothers was followed by an interview with the Globe & Mail and then a meeting with New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On the same trip, Mayor Robertson was also interviewed by Bloomberg News and Time Magazine. I can't help but wonder.... who instigated those U.S. media contacts... and why?
Does the Rockefeller Brothers Fund continue to fund the David Suzuki Foundation for its "scientific, legal, and media work" - through the Tides Canada Foundation, perhaps? And why did Mayor Gregor Robertson need breakfast with the Rockefeller Brothers?
Grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 2000 and 2001:
For larger versions of the tables below, click on the table itself.
ROCKEFELLER BROTHERS FUND GRANTS FOR 2008:
ROCKEFELLER BROTHERS FUND GRANTS FOR 2007: