CONFIRMED: Foreign Interests spent billions to wage war against Alberta’s oil industry

A report from Deloitte Canada just confirmed that well-funded foreign interests have spent billions of dollars to fund environmental groups and charities that spread misinformation or propaganda with the goal of landlocking Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

The report reveals that many registered Canadian charities received roughly $14.9 billion collectively in foreign funding between 2010 and 2018 to orchestrate divestment in the oil industry, much of which has come from US Foundations, resulting in a roughly $8 trillion loss via divestments.

As per the report, “After years of targeting oil and gas infrastructure projects, and the financial and insurance companies which backed them, beginning in 2012 proponents claim it has achieved more than 1,000 divestments representing $8 trillion.”

“This includes seven campaigns specifically targeting divestment in the Alberta oil sands. For example, the SumOfUs campaign targeted the Trans Mountain Pipeline, Keystone XL, and the Teck Frontier Mine.”

Moreover, the assets and revenues of ‘Canadian’ charities have skyrocketed in recent years, with collective assets growing from approximately $273.2 billion in 2010 to roughly $465.2 billion in 2018 and revenues totalling roughly $2.2 trillion.

“The Canadian charity sector is not nearly as large as that of the United States,” the report reads. “The Canadian charity sector is largely funded by Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments. However, the information and documentation collected by Deloitte appears to show that Canadian charities also receive significant Foreign Funding which totalled approximately $2.5 billion in 2018 [alone].”

Foreign investments into “Canadian-based” environmental initiatives are likewise substantial and noteworthy, with such initiatives receiving $1.28 billion between 2003 and 2019. However, the report’s Commissioner notes that these figures are likely “significantly understated” as there are many charitable organizations and not-for-profits that receive foreign funding, but the report only focuses on the most significant 31 Environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs).

Additionally, Canadian ENGOs regularly re-grant funds from foreign sources or maintain them as donor-advised funds.

“When these funds are re-granted,” explains the Deloitte report, “they are not accounted for by the recipient entity as foreign funds received. These funds have essentially “lost their character” as foreign funds, which means the total foreign funding to Canadian ENGOs is likely more widespread than is reflected in either US or Canadian open-sourced materials.”

The Commissioner also notes a “broader campaign” where it appears that networks of ENGOs collude to advance a common agenda, functioning “like an industry” and attracting “various sources of funding and employing large personnel and capital to promote their objectives.”

The Commissioner has identified several attempts by ENGOs to influence decision-makers — including government officials and politicians federally and provincially — in a way that “could constitute an attempt to directly or indirectly delay or frustrate the development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources.”

As an example, the Commissioner notes LeadNow’s 2015 Vote Together campaign, which “connects people who want change with the tools and information they need to select and support the best local candidates to defeat the Harper conservatives.”

The following year, the Corporate Ethics website stated, “This strategy is successful to this day. All the proposed pipelines in Canada have effectively been blocked, as have the proposed in the US… The Tar Sands Campaign… also played a role in helping to unseat the Conservative Party in Alberta and nationally.”

The report also details several of the tactics used by organizations to advance overall anti-oil-and-gas campaigns, specifical regarding the Tar Sands Campaign, including using grassroots campaigns, the development of documentaries and research papers, divestment campaigns, direct action and citizen engagement, land conservation initiatives, litigation and political activism, and achieving legal precedents based on the rights of First Nations people.

“I considered these types of tactics, as well as a number of other tactics that could be used to directly or indirectly delay or frustrate the development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources…” writes the Commissioner.

For example, Rethink Alberta is a “comprehensive designed to discourage tourists from visiting Alberta until the expansion of the “tar sands” was restricted and Alberta committed to clean up and phase out existing operations.”

Additionally, under the guise of land conservation initiatives, most of which were made in the last two decades, were ostensibly about protecting forests and the ocean but were really tools that ENGOs could leverage to block oil and gas infrastructure development.

Similar tactics have also been employed when utilizing the unique legal rights of First Nations people.

“ENGOs and many Indigenous leverage these special rights of First Nations to oppose pipelines and oil and gas development while other First Nations leaders decry the opportunities threatened or lost by the failure of infrastructure projects to proceed,” the Commissioner explains.

“This creates serious divisions between various First Nations communities and within communities, and to further compound the problem, the multi-media campaigns often lead to the incorrect impression by many Canadians that First Nations communities are universally opposed to oil and gas development and pipelines.”

Direct action and citizen engagement is perhaps one of the most effective tactics, as it promotes civil disobedience, which implicates citizens in anarchistic activity, which not only brings up legal problems but can also physically stop oil and gas development 

“Civil disobedience is a tactic that has been used in anti-Alberta energy campaigns and continues to be employed by opponents of the transportation of Alberta oil and gas,” writes the Commissioner. “Perhaps the most notorious civil disobedience campaign against the fossil fuel industry was the national rail blockade that occurred in February 2020, but frequently demonstrations aimed at stopping the Trans Mountain Pipeline continue to occur on a regular basis.”

Overall, the Commissioner has identified three categories participating in anti-Alberta energy campaigns: participants — those determined to have participated in anti-Alberta energy campaigns designed to delay or frustrate the oil industry; funders — those who fund the participants and others to delay or hinder the development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources; and re-granters — those who provide funds through re-granting or intermediary organization.

Specifically, the Commissioner has identified 21 participants, 13 funders, and two re-granters, including the following organizations:


  • US Participants: Corporate Ethics International; National Resources Defence Council; ForestEthics;; and Oil Change International

  • Canadian ENGOs: Pembina (Pembina Foundation and Pembina Institute); The David Suzuki Foundation; Greenpeace Canada; Equiterre; Western Canada Wilderness Committee; Sierra Club Canada Foundation; Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation; Raincoast Conservation Foundation; International Institute for Sustainable Development; World Wildlife Fund Canada; Makeway, formerly Tides Canada; West Coast Environmental Law and Research Foundation; Environmental Defence Canada; EcoJustice Canada Society; Dogwood Initiative; and LeadNow

  • Funders: Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Pew Charitable Trusts; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; David and Lucille Packard Foundation; Oak Foundation; Wilburforce Foundation; Global Greengrants Fund Inc.; Sea Change Foundation; and Energy Foundation

  • Re-granters: New Venture Fund; and Tides US Foundation

Support our work

Share this story

Donate now to keep us on the front lines:

Help Keep your News Free

It's crucial we stay in touch

Big Tech wants to censor us, that’s why you need to stay in touch.

[wpp limit=6 order_by='views']


Trending News

Canada’s most recent COVID update shows that 80% of Canadians have yet to receive a COVID vaccine in the last six months.

Mike Campbell

November 25, 2022

Trending News

On the final day of the Public Order Emergency Commission, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unironically said he invoked the Emergencies Act to prevent a grandmother from being run over by a truck — apparently forgetting that mounted police acting under powers granted by the act trampled an elderly lady. 

TCS Wire

November 25, 2022

Trending News

Organizers of the trucker convoy’s GoFundMe have updated the fundraiser, stating the protest is to be absolutely peaceful and adding cautionary rules for protesters to take, so that bad state actors don’t dupe them.

TCS Wire

January 28, 2022

Trending News

In response to the media and Trudeau’s disparaging comments suggesting anyone in favour of the trucker convoy and against vaccine mandates are somehow racist or a “fringe minority,” several non-white Canadians have come out with a message for the Prime Minister.

TCS Wire

January 28, 2022

Trending News

An internal document acquired by The Counter Signal reveals emergency protest procedures to be taken as the convoy arrives in Ottawa, including what to do if anti-mandate protesters were to storm parliament and occupy the government.

TCS Wire

January 28, 2022

Trending News

After weeks of near-total silence, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is finally throwing his support behind truckers and other Canadians fighting for their rights and freedoms. Better late than never.

TCS Wire

January 27, 2022

Want to join the conversation?

Sign up now to be able to like, comment and reply to other members. A full membership to our site includes:

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.