Evidence of meeting #25 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was pipeline.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Okay.

Mr. Reid, do you have any comments about who has the final say on first nations reserve land in terms of access?

9:55 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

I would agree with Mr. Caron's characterization. In our case, Imperial Oil, on behalf of the pipeline owners, negotiated access and benefits agreements with each of the aboriginal groups. Three of the four are completed. The fourth is still outstanding.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

I bring it up because—

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Mr. Stewart, you're out of time.

We'll go now to Mr. Jean for up to five minutes.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses attending today.

I do believe, Ms. Krause, that these radical foreign interest groups that you speak of threaten our economy and our national sovereignty. There's no question that I firmly believe that Canadians want an independent Canadian decision by Canadians in the best interests of Canadians. These groups' interference in our national agenda does not help anything.

I will say I am from the oil sands. I am from northern Alberta. I'm a registered trapper. I also have a science degree. My big thought in life was that I was going to be an environmental lawyer. I was a lawyer but I returned to the oil sands and practised there for many years. I have a trapline within three miles of an oil sands plant. I have a trapline cabin three miles away from Nexen, which operates up there. I can assure you, based on what I've seen, the environmental integrity of the oil sands is much superior to that found in the United States, especially in California, Venezuela, Africa, and just about any other place I've seen pictures of and visited first-hand. They are doing a great job up there.

And they are doing a great job employing Canadians. Many Canadians from right across the country work up there. When I moved there in 1967, there were 1,500 people there. Today there are over 150,000. People from the Nickel Belt, in fact.... Maybe that's why Mr. Gravelle is so angry, because a lot of people from his riding have moved up there temporarily or part-time. Indeed, these people make $150,000 per year and take the money back. In fact 5,000 Quebeckers and many others live in my riding.

I do have some questions in relation to these charities. I had a chance to meet with Tides Canada last week. They told me in no uncertain terms that they do not have anything to do with Tides USA and they did not receive money from them. I talked to CRA last week as well. They told me that on the website they have in Canada they do list the salaries of the ten highest-paid people, but not the people in particular, and they don't list contractors, which I suggested they should do.

How do they get the money into Canada? I don't know who they do it to; I'm not a forensic accountant. But I'd like to know who they get the money to, whether it's other charities, as you mentioned, or whether it's bands or chiefs or lobbyists, and how they get it into Canada. Certainly I would like to look at legislation to stop these people from bringing in the money, doing so either through disclosure or otherwise stopping them from interfering in Canadian interests.

9:55 a.m.

As an Individual

Vivian Krause

I can show you—in fact, it's posted on my blog—the excerpts of U.S. tax returns showing that the U.S. Tides Foundation has paid Tides Canada over $4 million. You can also go to the website of Bullitt Foundation and you can see for yourself that the Bullitt Foundation has paid Tides U.S. over half a million dollars for projects of Tides Canada.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Okay. Does Tides Canada get directly involved in opposing these applications, for instance the Northern Gateway in particular? Right now we sell our oil for $12 per barrel less than what we should get for international pricing. As we have no other route to sell this oil to, we sell it to the United States. So we sell it at a $12 discount, and that has to stop.

9:55 a.m.

As an Individual

Vivian Krause

The second question you asked me was how does the money get into Canada.

What I see happening is that some Canadian charities, including Tides Canada, have equivalency status in the U.S., so essentially they're like American charities. What happens is, the American foundations make grants to Tides Canada to its U.S. side. They take money in on the U.S. side. Now, in Canada, Tides Canada has two entities. It actually has three, but two of them are active. One is the Tides Canada Initiatives Society and the other is Tides Canada Foundation. So the Tides Canada Foundation takes money in from the U.S. and then transfers it over to the Tides Canada Initiatives Society. Now, that doesn't report back to the U.S., so the activities of Tides Canada Initiatives Society, as I understand it, are not reported to the U.S., which raises another whole set of questions.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

So how do they disburse the money to interfere in our interests?

9:55 a.m.

As an Individual

Vivian Krause

I see two things happening.

One, the vice-president of Tides Canada did an interview with CBC As it Happens a couple of weeks ago, and she said that Tides Canada does not have a position against the Alberta oil sands. I regret to say that doesn't ring true for me, because I look at the projects that Tides Canada is funding, and I also look at the places it accepted donations from. For example, Tides Canada has accepted, if I'm not mistaken, almost $1 million, at least five grants going back at least five years, from the Oak Foundation.

Now, the Oak Foundation, just to give you one example, has funded ForestEthics to get at least ten Fortune 500 companies to disavow Alberta oil and to put pressure on American regulators to create disincentives for the Canadian oil industry. Tides Canada has received money from many American foundations that are funding the tar sands campaign, the campaign against Canadian oil. I don't see how they can say they have no position against our energy industry, yet they're accepting funding from the foundations that obviously do.

Secondly, they have funded the groups that are running the campaign. For example, just one grant to ForestEthics was for over $700,000. Now, ForestEthics, the CEO of Tides Canada said a couple of weeks ago, is a project of Tides Canada. Another three groups are funded under the name of the Rainforest Solutions Project. Tides Canada funds Greenpeace under the Rainforest Solutions Project.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you, Mr. Jean.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

I know my time is up, Mr. Chair. On a point of order, though, I'm just wondering, if the witnesses have any solutions on what legislation to propose to stop this type of funding or disclosure, if they could provide that to the chair and it could be circulated to the members.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Certainly. The witness is free to do that at any time.

Madam Day, up to five minutes. Go ahead, please.

February 9th, 2012 / 10 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

I want to thank the witnesses for being here today. It is a pleasure to have you.

Like many Quebeckers and Canadians, I obviously support protecting the environment, creating jobs and ensuring sustainable economic development for future generations. I will direct my questions to Mr. Reid.

Internal documents, obtained in January under the Access to Information Act, show that the Harper government has explicitly identified environmental and aboriginal groups as adversaries to the increase in Canada's tar sands exports. What is your take on the information in those documents?

10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

I'm not familiar with those documents. I just would like to point out that the Mackenzie Valley pipeline is a natural gas pipeline and not related in any way to the Canadian oil sands.