June 26, 2019

Foreign money and Canada's democracy

Foreign money and Canada's democracy

For anyone who paid attention to policy debates over energy and resource development in the last 15 years, the name Vivian Krause is synonymous with investigative journalism.

Krause noticed a pattern most journalists didn’t: American money, from wealthy individuals and U.S. foundations, was flowing into policy and political efforts to stymie Canada’s resources sector, especially Alberta’s energy and cross-country pipeline development. Foreign money was even trying to influence Canadian elections.

To her credit, Krause discovered the size of U.S. foundation endowments, and annual donor budgets to Canada, is substantial, especially for progressive environmental priorities.

Let’s quickly review what Krause has found over the years. In the mid-2000s, some anti-resource groups in Canada began to seek and receive money from American foundations and wealthy individuals to attack Canada’s energy sector. One group, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, gave $200-million to activist groups in British Columbia alone between 2003 and 2018.