Globe and Mail Editorial: Feds Should Quit Smearing Pipeline Opponents


Read this editorial from the Globe and Mail, which argues that the Harper Government should stop its campaign of smearing environmental groups who oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and alleging criminal activity on their part, such as “money laundering”. (May 7, 2012)

Environment Minister Peter Kent’s unsupported accusations of “money laundering” involving foreign and Canadian environmental charities are part of an apparent campaign of the Conservative government to smear and intimidate groups opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Mr. Kent’s accusation in Parliament and media interviews, and the pattern they are a part of, suggest the government is improperly taking sides between the environment and business – trying to discredit those who raise environmental concerns in a public-hearing process mandated under federal law.

This pipeline may well prove a financial boon to Canada, but there are legitimate environmental concerns that need to be heard, including the danger of oil spills in environmentally sensitive waters. The pipeline will take bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., before it is loaded on ships bound for Asia. Business and the environment do not exist on two separate planes, where one matters and the other doesn’t.

The Environment Minister has accused unnamed environmental charities of criminal activity, and yet provides no specifics, except to point to the work of Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton. “There is political manipulation,” she said. “There is influence peddling. There are millions of dollars crossing borders masquerading as charitable foundations into bank accounts of sometimes phantom charities that do nothing more than act as a fiscal clearing house.” There is paranoia, there is partisanship, there are wild allegations. But evidence? No.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.