This would be simply pathetic if this line of kooky thinking hadn’t been picked up by our prime minister and his top ministers.
Seriously, almost four years after first being elected, the most Robertson has done to “control the flow of Canada’s natural resources and trade to Asia” has been to wave an ineffectual hand at the prospect of more, bigger tankers moving through Vancouver harbour. He has zero jurisdiction on the matter, and his council passed the motion to draw attention to the risks of a tanker accident in a city that brands itself as “Super Natural”, not “Super Oily.” The city has at least 1,000 times (maybe 10,000 times) as many jobs dependent on tourism as it does on expanded crude oil transportation. Robertson has been accused of being slow off the mark, but even an oil-slicked turtle can catch up to that math without a boost from American foundations.
Let’s look at the funding for Tides Canada, singled out by Krause, the oil “ethicists” and the federal cabinet, and now being audited (again) thanks to a recent $8.5 million federal budget boost.
It gets 30% of its funding from international sources. The biggest amount it ever got, $27 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, was mostly spent on a joint provincial-federal-First Nations-industry-NGO planning process for the central coast region, now known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Yes, a federal partnership, with the feds themselves matching with $30 million and holding hands with Tides Canada.
Today, after $20 billion in new foreign funding in the oilsands (close to $13 billion from Chinese investors alone), Canada’s economic priorities have officially shifted to oil, gas and mining. The $400 million spent by First Nations, government and industry over a decade to achieve agreement on a diverse regional economy for B.C.’s central coast, including forestry, fishing, aquaculture, tourism, renewable energy and the transport and export of liquefied natural gas, has been undermined to promote a ridiculously risky bitumen pipeline and a reef-strewn crude oil tanker route to China.
The federal government’s own Department of Fisheries and Oceans pegged the economic contribution of B.C. seafood and tidal recreational fishing industries at $2.5 billion a year – proven, sustainable forever, risk-free. That’s all been deemed expendable as the federal government paves the way to foreign-funded riches (for some) with innuendo and CRA raids. It has also pulled its funding from a tri-lateral plan to manage and protect B.C.’s marine resources (because the Moore Foundation was a partner?). It has put its top people into the B.C. premier’s office. Federal scientists who monitor pollution have been fired. Emergency response resources to deal with marine catastrophes have been cut. Opponents of the bitumen export agenda, including resident First Nations, have been vilified as money-laundering agents of American interests.
Vivian Krause’s flimsy speculations about Gregor Robertson are, unbelievably, held up as evidence that all this makes sense. •