Skip to content

NEWS: Council of Canadians counters Harper’s FQD lobbying in Europe

CBC reports, “The Canadian government isn’t alone in lobbying European governments about the European Commission’s proposed new fuel quality directive (FQD). A trio of stakeholder groups concerned about oilsands development were in London, England, Thursday, looking to counter the Harper government’s attempt at blocking the directive. Representatives from the Council of Canadians, Climate Action Network and the Assembly of First Nations met with members of the U.K. Liberal Democrats at their party headquarters near the British Parliament at Westminster. …The Liberal Democrats are the junior party in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s governing coalition.”

“(Last week natural resources minister Joe Oliver sent a letter) to the ministers of energy and environment of every EU-member nation…explaining why Ottawa considers the FQD unfair.” But, “‘This is not a discriminatory policy…in fact, it treats Canadian tar sands as it would treat any other tar sands,’ said Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians. He also said that Canada can threaten to take the EU to the World Trade Organization if it wants, but the WTO will probably refuse to hear the case because the market for Canadian oil in Europe is so small.”

“The group is in Europe for a week of meetings with politicians, policy analysts and bureaucrats in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. On Friday, members head to Berlin for the weekend, where they will meet Peter Boehm, the Canadian ambassador to Germany and various governing and opposition politicians.”

iPolitics adds, “The targets of the green group’s lobbying — France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany – were chosen because they abstained from endorsing the FQD during a EU meeting last month, said Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians. ‘They are the ones that have been heavily lobbied by Albertan and Canadian officials and who have basically adopted the Canadian position on the tarsands,’ said Trew, speaking on the phone from London.”

“So far the team, which includes representatives from the Climate Action Network Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network, as well as National Dene Chief Bill Erasmus, hasn’t been able to meet with politicians now in government, but has won audiences with high-level bureaucrats and opposition members. In Paris, team members met with representatives of the opposition Socialist party, whose national presidential candidate, Francois Hollande, is leading polls heading into next month’s election. In Amsterdam and London, the campaigners met with bureaucrats as well as policymakers in the British Liberal-Democratic Party, which forms part of the government coalition there.”

“The next legislative step for the FQD is a meeting of the EU Council of Ministers in mid-June to decide on whether or not to endorse the plan. If the FQD is approved, the ministers will then have to negotiate with members of the European Parliament to make it law for the entire continent. Individual member countries are then required to pass national regulations that fall in line with EU decision.”

Tour participants include Trew, Bill Erasmus, National Dene Chief and the Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief of the Northwest Territories, and Hannah McKinnon, Campaigns Director with Climate Action Network Canada, as well as Ben Powless of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Steven Guilbeault, Coordonnateur général adjoint, Équiterre who joined for the first stop of the tour. The team has been to Paris (March 19), The Hague (March 20-21), London (March 22) and now move on to Berlin (March 23-26).

An earlier blog noting Toronto Sun coverage of this tour can be read at To read Stuart’s first blog from Europe, please see

To see a 5-minute video interview of Trew, Erasmus, McKinnon in London, please go to