Environmentalists paid Canadian Indian chief to oppose oil drilling

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Who ever said opposing oil development doesn’t pay? Environmentalists have been caught wiring money to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Canada to oppose drilling for oil sands.

The Toronto Sun reports that the Tides Foundation paid $55,000 Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam to oppose the development of oil sands in Canada. The San Francisco-based Tides Foundation is a grant-giving organization that provides “fiscal sponsorship for over 230 groups across the country” operates and supports environmental groups and grants “millions each year to charitable organizations across the globe.”

According to journalist Ezra Levant, this is a huge problem because Chief Adam is an elected official of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, meaning that Tides gave money to a public official for opposing oil sands development.

“Tides could have hired an actual actor, like maybe Lorne Cardinal, who played the Aboriginal policeman in the comedy series Corner Gas,” Levant wrote. “But they didn’t hire an actor. They hired an elected public official. That’s the problem.”

The Tides Foundation buried the transaction in their tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service, according to journalist Ezra Levant. Tides gave $55,000 to a numbered company called 50450 Alberta Ltd., which is actually owned by the company Acden Group Ltd. Chief Adam and other native politicians were “directors and shareholders” for the company.

Chief Adam appeared on stage with singer-songwriter Neil Young, a noted environmental activist, to oppose drilling for more Canadian oil.

He was not the only anti-oil sands activist to get U.S. environmentalist dollars. The Tides Foundation made 25 different payments totaling more than $1 million to anti-oil sands groups in Canada in a single year.

“If a foreign oil company — say, ExxonMobil — was depositing secret payments in the bank accounts of MPs, it would be a scandal,” Levant added. “Those MPs would face an RCMP investigation, Exxon would likely be charged with bribery, and the media on both sides of the border would have a field day. Yet none of those things will likely happen with Adam.”

Canadian oil sands development became became a target for environmentalists in the U.S. after the pipeline company TransCanada proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring more than 800,000 barrels of oils sands from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

U.S. and Canadian environmentalists have heavily opposed the pipeline, arguing it would harm the environment and contribute to global warming. But a review last year from the State Department found that Keystone would do little to no environmental harm and have no significant impact on global warming.

The Keystone pipeline has been awaiting approval from the Obama administration for more than five years. Pipeline supporters are urging the president to act quickly and approve the pipeline to create jobs and American energy independence.

“The time for Keystone is now. I’ll go further — the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it’s not the right one. We can’t continue in this state of limbo,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week.

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