Photo: Council of Canadians energy & climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue speaks against TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline at the recent Defend our Climate day of action in Ottawa, May 10.
The Canadian Press reports, “The ‘Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities’ campaign, run by a coalition of groups including Leadnow, Greenpeace, Equiterre and the Council of Canadians, helps advertise and organize protests and events across Canada. …Now a variety of Canadian sectors are taking a page from those same environmentalist groups, coming together behind a public relations strategy meant to mobilize the public in a way the feds haven’t been able to.”
The newspaper report notes, “The latest high-level campaign hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, called the Partnership for Resource Trade, includes among its advisory members major oil and gas, mining, forestry, agrifood and transportation associations, as well as academics. The message, being purveyed through Facebook, Twitter and emails, is not just that the various players want better support for infrastructure such as roads and pipelines, but that they’re also committed to the environment and job creation. …The mobilization part of the campaign is key — so that MPs will know that they have a cushion of public support for the policy decisions they make. An online petition by the partnership gets sent to political leaders with one click.”
A visit to their website – powerofcanada.ca – shows that their advisory council includes: David Emerson, Chair; Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Roxanna Benoit, Enbridge; Michael Bourque, Railway Association of Canada; David Collyer, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; John Dillon, Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Russ Girling, TransCanada; Pierre Gratton, Mining Association of Canada; Heather Kennedy, Suncor Energy; Bob Klager, Shell Canada; Peter Kruselnicki, TransCanada; John Manley, Canadian Council of Chief Executives; James Millar, TransCanada; Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada; Al Monaco, Enbridge; William B P Robson, CD Howe Institute; and Rodney Thomas, Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.
Their Speak Up action page asks people to send a message to federal, provincial and municipal representatives that notes, “Natural resources are what our country was founded on and they are our future. Canada’s forest products, minerals, energy and food can help write the next chapter of our economic success story, if our government and political leaders lend a supporting hand. Without support for continued resource development and access to export markets Canada risks falling behind the rest of the world.”
Council of Canadians supporters and the broader public across this country understand the difference between grassroots community mobilizations to defend the environment and the public interest versus self-serving astroturf corporate public relations efforts like the Partnership for Resource Trade.