Greenpeace protester Benjamin Zielinski sits chained to fence at Trans Mountain pipeline's Burnaby oil terminal

Greenpeace protester Benjamin Zielinski sits chained to fence at Trans Mountain pipeline's Burnaby oil terminal

Green machine gathers in B.C.

'It's an industry now, and as with our automotive industry, Canada is a branch plant of the U.S.'

VICTORIA – Canada’s sleek, imported green propaganda machine rolled into the capital last week for a couple of days of meetings.

You wouldn’t have heard about it, because they didn’t stage any protests or press conferences. Instead they met quietly with selected reporters as well as politicians from both sides of the aisle. They didn’t invite me for some reason, but from what I can gather, it was a friendly networking session.

When I speak of our U.S.-directed environmental movement, many people still don’t know what I mean. They see the sign-waving on TV and assume it’s all spontaneous, driven by passionate volunteers. Nuke the Whales for Jesus, as we used to joke in the 1970s.

It’s an industry now, and as with our automotive industry, Canada is a branch plant of the U.S.

The Victoria event was an annual conference called Organizing for Change, sponsored by Tides Canada. Thanks mainly to the work of B.C. researcher Vivian Krause, this offshoot of the U.S. Tides Foundation now at least identifies itself while it pulls B.C.’s political strings.

Organizing for Change currently includes Ecojustice, Greenpeace, Sierra Club B.C., ForestEthics Advocacy, ForestEthics Solutions, Georgia Strait Alliance, Dogwood Initiative, Pembina Institute, West Coast Environmental Law, Wildsight and Seattle-based Conservation Northwest.

Tides is itself a front for wealthy charitable foundations based mostly in Seattle and California, funded by billionaires who see “saving” B.C. as their personal eco-project.

Their hired activists met with Environment Minister Mary Polak to discuss her just-introduced Water Sustainability Act. This was to demand heavy fees and choking regulations on water used for “fracking,” that nefarious gas drilling technology so demonized in fake documentaries and celebrity protests.

Tides no longer attempts to hide its strategy of targeting energy development in B.C. and Alberta. Its tactics are well known, too. Environmentalists need high-profile wins, and the economic pain is best inflicted outside of the U.S., the biggest polluter in world history.

Organizing for Change’s stated priorities for the year are the “last stand of the Great Bear Rainforest,” the “Sacred Headwaters” and the Water Sustainability Act.

Professional protesters are mainly just taking credit for the 2012 buy-back of Shell’s coalbed gas licences around the headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers. Tahltan Central Council declared that territory theirs in 1910, and having pros roll in with slogans and graphics wasn’t exactly crucial to the outcome.

Their greatest marketing success so far is the Great Bear Rainforest, which is continually portrayed as being in peril from hunting, logging and of course, oil and gas development.

One of the documents Krause unearthed is a 2008 plan entitled “Tar Sands Campaign Strategy 2.1” that has proven remarkably prophetic. As Greenpeace, Sierra and ForestEthics were negotiating the 2007 Great Bear land use plan, other network members were preparing to “raise the negatives” and market Alberta as a unique threat to planetary integrity.

I’ve written before about the distortions and evasions required to present such a fossil fuel fairy tale. Suffice it to say that while we have busloads of protesters in B.C., you don’t see them in those benevolent petro-states Angola, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Kuwait or Algeria. They’re not saving the whole planet, just the safe and lucrative parts.

And as I mentioned after the protester-staged Neil Young concert tour, it’s amazing how American oil and gas interests and Alaska oil tankers remain invisible to this sophisticated network.

NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert met with the green machine too. He wants all of B.C.’s groundwater mapped and measured deep into the Earth’s crust. That should take a while.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press.

Follow me on Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A deer pokes through the gardens at Beacon Hill Park. The Royal BC Museum. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Esquimalt mayor repeats call for regional approach to urban deer management

Province waiting on Oak Bay results, Desjardins says cost of duplicating process ‘considerable’

A seabin is able to intercept and collect floating debris in calm bodies of water. This is one of two installed in the North Saanich Marina by a group of local businesses thanks to the proceeds from Blue Friday sales in 2019. (Provided by Maya Bellay)
Blue Friday to support more trash skimmers in Greater Victoria waters

Seabins can collect up to one-and-a-half tons of floating debris per year

Vehicles involved crashes in Oak Bay from 2019. (ICBC Screenshot)
A crash on Foul Bay Road near Carnarvon Street in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Foul Bay Road a corridor of crashes in 2019

Last year, 63 crashes in Oak Bay involved vehicles

Canadians paid more for various categories of groceries including lettuce and meat in October. (USDA/Submitted)
Canadians paid more for food and housing in October as inflation rose

Lettuce prices rose more than 25 per cent in October thanks to bad weather and disease

An economic recovery plan in progress since April offers various recommendations for the region to overcome the impacts of COVID-19. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Greater Victoria economic ‘reboot’ plan tackles impacts of COVID-19

Newly-formed task force looks at various sectors, industries

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Randy Bell. (File photo)
Former northern B.C. mayoral candidate arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in Smithers

James Corden on the Late Late Show talking about BC Ferries on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Screenshot)
‘You’ll see it when you see it’: BC Ferries mask graphic gains James Corden’s attention

Turns out, James Corden fans were just as quick as B.C. social media users to pick up on the dual imagery

Andrew Wilkinson addresses a BC Liberal Forestry Rally in Campbell River on Oct. 17, 2020.
Andrew Wilkinson quits as BC Liberal Leader, party to choose interim replacement

Wilkinson had previously said he would stay in his role till a new leader were to be selected

Most Read