Vivian Krause’s testimony on the tanker moratorium

Krause will be speaking at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show June 5

OttawaVivian Krause has worked for many years to expose the foreign money being spent in Canada to fight the oilsands and pipelines. She testified before the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee on May 7, in Ottawa, as it was looking into Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. That committee, on May 15, voted against the bill, but it still remains to be voted on by the Senate as a whole.

Krause’s work has been one of the fundamental elements in the fight against the “Tarsands Campaign.”

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She will be speaking at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in Weyburn on June 5.

Here is the opening statement in her testimony to the Senate committee, verbatim. The entire transcript can be found on the Senate’s website here.


Good morning. Thank you, Chair and to everyone on the committee for the invitation to appear before you today. Some of what I’m going to say may sound familiar to my testimony with regard to Bill C-69.

By way of background, I’m here as an individual citizen. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve been following the funding behind environmental activism. I’ve traced $600 million that has come into Canada from American foundations, most for what are called large-scale conservation initiatives: The Great Bear Rainforest, the Canadian Boreal Initiative and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. In all three cases, one of the original goals of the American funders was to restrict the development and export of oil and natural gas from Canada. This is according to the tax returns of these foundations.

Part of the effort to shackle the Canadian oil industry is activism for a legislated ban on tanker traffic on the north coast of B.C. More than 50 grants specifically mention a tanker ban or tanker traffic. These grants average $40,000 each for a total of $2 million.

I am providing to the clerk an 80-page document that has a page of a tax return showing each of those 50 grants that specifically refers to a tanker ban or tanker traffic.

To begin, I would like to refer to the federal government’s announcement made on November 26, 2016, which laid the groundwork for Bill C-48. That announcement approved Trans Mountain and Line 3, rejected Northern Gateway and announced a moratorium on tankers carrying crude and persistent oil. The government also promised legislation to implement the tanker ban which brings us to Bill C-48.

In its November 2016 announcement, the federal government said that it rejected Northern Gateway because the pipeline went through a sensitive ecosystem known as the Great Bear Rainforest. I believe it is therefore important for your committee to know the history of the Great Bear Rainforest.

As far back as 1999, the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest has been heavily funded by the Rockefellers — the famous family that founded the American oil industry. In more recent years, it has been the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, based in San Francisco, that has become the big funder of environmental activism in the name of protecting the Great Bear Rainforest.

Since 2003 the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has granted $267 million to Canadian organizations, 90 per cent of that for activism. The top recipient of these funds, Tides Canada, the central proponent of the Great Bear Rainforest, has received $83 million.

At least $60 million of that $267 million, 73 payments averaging $835,000 was specifically for protecting the so-called Great Bear Rainforest. The second biggest recipient of funds was Coastal First Nations, who I believe will also be testifying to your committee. Coastal First Nations has received $25 million from the Moore Foundation, 25 payments of almost $1 million each.

In the annual report of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for 1999 there is a map showing the area that, at the time the Rockefellers wanted to protect. This map called for setting aside what was called at the time the “Big Bear Protected Area.” This area truly is the natural habitat of the Kermode bear, and to me it makes sense to protect this particular area.

The Kermode bear is blonde. It’s actually a black bear — what they call a phase of a black bear. Black bears come in a range of colours. There are cinnamon bears, which are a lighter brown, and also a blue or glacier bear. The natural habitat of the blue bear is in Alaska. The blue bear is beautiful, but you can get a hunting licence to shoot the blue bear. There is no multi-million dollar campaign for the cinnamon bear or the blue bear.

The originally proposed Big Bear Protected Area was only a tiny part of the B.C. coast, but now, in the name of protecting the Kermode bear, environmental and First Nations groups say that along the entire B.C. coast, from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the southern border of Alaska, there can be no tankers anywhere.

I will show you this on a map. Here we have the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the south of Alaska, and this tiny area was originally going to be the Big Bear Protected Area, which to me makes sense. If we look at that on a map of B.C., it doesn’t get near the Haida Gwaii and nowhere near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, it’s just this little area. But now the area that’s called the Great Bear Rainforest is this and, as you can see, the original area is only a tiny part of this entire area now called the Great Bear Rainforest and also the Great Bear Sea. So you can see that what began as a good idea has morphed.

Now we have the Great Bear Rainforest and Great Bear Sea, but in most of this area there are no great bears. There is no park for the cinnamon bear, as I said, and no park for the blue bear. The only bear for which there is a park is the one bear that isn’t being shot at, and there is $100 million conservation area for that bear.

Obviously, the reason that American foundations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over 20 years to create this conservation is not to protect a bear that doesn’t even live in most of the area. Something is being protected here at great expense and cost, but obviously not the bear. What is being protected is the American monopoly on access to exports of Canadian oil. The Great Bear Rainforest has become the great trade barrier, keeping our country out of global energy markets.

All, or nearly all, of the main organizations that campaigned for Bill C-48 are funded as part of an initiative called the Tar Sands Campaign. It’s a decade-long international effort to sabotage the Canadian oil and gas industry by keeping Canada out of global markets.

In January, Wendy Mesley at CBC reported on the Tar Sands Campaign. If you go today to the website of CorpEthics, the organization that coordinates this campaign you’ll find a description of the campaign, but the current description bears almost no resemblance to what CBC reported in January. That’s because after CBC reported it, the organization coordinating the campaign, CorpEthics, rewrote the entire description of it. According to the original description, the goal of this campaign from the very beginning was to land-lock Canadian oil so that it could not reach international markets where it could fetch higher prices per barrel.

The wording used in some of the grants and other documents is revealing. For example, a grant for $97,000 to West Coast Environmental Law states that the purpose of the funds was:

. . . to constrain development of Alberta’s tar sands by establishing a legislative ban on crude oil tankers on British Columbia’s north coast.

Note that the funds are not to bring about a ban in order to protect the coast, but rather to get a legislative tanker ban as a way to thwart the Canadian oil industry.

Another document, a proposal submitted to a U.S. funder, states that its intended outcome was “. . . public pressure directed at the Canadian government encouraging a legislated ban on oil tankers in B.C. inshore waters.” That proposal goes on to say in the very next sentence, “Simply put, if tankers are banned, no pipeline will ever be built.”

This is not a sound reason for a tanker ban. For years, politicians have ignored, tolerated and acquiesced to this falsely premised activism. It is time that this comes to an end. It is time that this committee brings this scam to an end by rejecting Bill C-48. As Peter Tertzakian told this committee a few weeks ago, we need to get it together. Anybody looking at our country from the outside is laughing.

As I conclude, I acknowledge that legitimate concerns raised by activist organizations need to be addressed no matter who funds them. But part of the basic premise of Bill C-48 is a scam. The Kermode bear merits protection, but there’s no point in putting off limits the entire B.C. coast in order to protect a bear that doesn’t live there.

Finally, if a tanker ban is legislated, it should not be warranted on a false front for stopping pipeline projects that are crucial pieces of infrastructure for getting full value from Canadian energy exports on overseas markets.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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