American Export To Canada: Left-Wing Advocacy

Canada's parliament on May 7, 2015 in Ottawa. AFP PHOTO MICHEL COMTE
Michel Comte/AFP/Getty Images

Left-wing American foundations are pouring money into like-minded Canadian political advocacy groups.  

The Ford, Tides, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have granted tens of millions of dollars to left-wing political agitation groups in Canada in recent years. The beneficiary groups vary in their focuses of public policy prescriptions. The ostensible objectives of these groups, as indicated by their self-descriptions, include advocacy for “clean energy transition,” “ecological and equitable choices,” “restor(ing) and preservin(ing) the environment,” “social, economic, and environmental justice” and “indigenous sovereignty.

Since 2003, American foundations have sent at least $168 million to Canadian organizations for “environment-related activities.” The preliminary information to follow is hardly exhaustive.

The Ford and Hewlett Foundations donated $2,605,000 (between 2005 and 2014) and $2,425,000 (between 2001 and 2006), respectively, to Action Canada for Population and Development. ACPD describes itself as a “progressive, pro-choice” organization, and advocates for “full implementation” of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action.  

The former programme makes forty-seven mentions of “indigenous,” including thirty-two mentions of “indigenous people.” The word “abortion” is mentioned ninety-four times, with a recurrent theme being the call for lawful access to abortion across the world without legal restrictions. The latter programme is similar, with the general theme being a call for the “advancement of women” (seventy-six mentions), including a call for global lawful access to abortion without legal restrictions.

The Pembina Institute and Foundation received a combined total of $2,257,777 between 2005 and 2014 from the Ford and Tides Foundations. The Pembina Institute describes itself as a think-tank engaging in research for energy solutions to reduce the use of fossil fuels.  

The Pembina Foundation is a sort of parent organization which coordinates “research” from think-tanks like the Pembina Institute. The Pembina Institute claims that about one tenth of its funding comes from foreign sources. Given the laundering of political money from American foundations to donor-advised Canadian spin-offs like Tides Canada, this number is difficult to verify. The Pembina Institute also came under fire in 2013 after securing a $340,000 contract with the city of Calgary to help the city reduce carbon emissions.

The Tides Foundation is the largest American foundation funder of left-wing political advocacy groups in Canada. The Dogwood Initiative, a left-wing group claiming that wants to ban oil tankers from Canada’s west coast and opposes the export of Canadian coal to American coal-fired power plants, received $1,292,955 since 2004 from the Tides Foundation.  

Environmental Defence Canada (EDC), currently appealing the federal government’s challenge to its charitable status due to its political activities, received $1,255,325.70 between 2009 and 2014. EDF helped organize a celebratory message in conjunction with Liberal provincial leader Kathleen Wynne and Al Gore to the province’s “coal-free” status in 2013. Equiterre, a nonprofit that claims to combat “climate change” and advance “social justice,” received $277,968 from Tides Foundation between 2009 and 2014. The Sierra Clubs (Canada, British Columbia, and the Prairie Chapter) received a combined $1,669,664.52 from the Tides and Hewlett Foundations since 2003. The Sierra group of organizations opposes the extraction and use of oil, coal, and natural gas. Greenpeace Canada received $989,926 from the Tides Foundation between 2009 and 2014.

Between 2000 and 2010, The David Suzuki Foundation received at least $10 million of its $81 million in revenues from American foundations. The source of the non-profit’s namesake, David Suzuki, is a well-known biologist and television broadcaster who self-identifies as an “environmentalist.” Notably, Suzuki called for the jailing of politicians determined to be “denying the science of climate change.”

Various ostensibly environmental nonprofit and charity organizations have come under scrutiny by Canada’s IRS counterpart: The Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA has audited several of these and similar groups, alleging their commission of prohibited political activities in accordance with the agency’s guidelines.


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