TransCanada hired world's largest PR firm to target Council of Canadians' Energy East campaign

Media Release
November 17, 2014

TransCanada meme

Ottawa — Today, Greenpeace released documents revealing that the Council of Canadians was one of the first groups targeted for U.S.-style opposition research by TransCanada’s public relations firm, Edelman. Edelman is the largest PR firm in the world with links to the Tea Party and Walmart.

The document says that Edelman will “prepare a research profile of key opposition groups by examining public records (including financial disclosures, legal databases and legislative records), traditional media sources and social media. All relevant findings will be compiled in a written, fully documented report, to include a summary of findings and assessment of strengths and weaknesses.... We will begin with the Council of Canadians.” (p. 7 of Energy East Campaign Organization)

Edelman’s Mike Krempasky is listed as the senior Counsel “responsible for the overall strategic direction and directly responsible for the success of the campaign.” Krempasky had to apologize for his Walmart campaign that used fake grassroots bloggers. Krempasky co-founded Redstate.com, has promoted online opportunities for Tea Party activists and has assisted right-wing blogs to adopt social media techniques boosting the Tea Party. Edelman has a history of recruiting third parties to smear its clients’ critics, including for the tobacco industry and the American Petroleum Institute.

“TransCanada likes to sell this as a nation-building project. This isn’t how you build a nation,” says Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians. “These Tea Party tactics are not welcome in Canada. We are open to a debate, and have nothing to hide. But we do not accept these smear tactics. We truly believe this export pipeline is all risk and little reward for Canadians.”

“They have hired the world’s largest PR firm because opposition to Energy East is growing,” says Andrea Harden, the Council of Canadians’ Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner. “From overflowing town halls to provincial reviews and increasingly critical municipal and First Nation leaders, TransCanada is losing public support despite their heavy-handed advertising and desperate tactics.”

“These tactics are as dirty as the oil the pipeline would transport,” concludes Mark Calzavara, Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut regional organizer with the Council of Canadians. “Filling Energy East would mean the climate pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars to our roads. It threatens over 1000 waterways along the route with a devastating diluted bitumen spill.”

The Council of Canadians has been clear on why its supporters oppose TransCanada’s Energy East export pipeline. Filling the pipeline would allow a close to 40 per cent increase in tar sands production, and produce more climate pollution then any single Atlantic province. It puts over 1000 waterways at risk of a diluted bitumen spill, including drinking water sources and fishing waters. It threatens Ontario and Quebec residents with increased natural gas costs. It would see an up to doubling of tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy, and require a new port in Cacouna, Quebec near a protected beluga whale habitat.

The Council has published research on the project, engaged in the Ontario Energy Board review and conducted town halls along the pipeline path in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.  

The leaked documents courtesy of Greenpeace are as follows:

For a more cost effective way to research the Council of Canadian’s Energy East campaign, visit: www.canadians.org/energyeast