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NEWS: Energy industry has unrivalled access to Harper government

The Globe and Mail reports, “In just one year to this September, senior industry officials held 791 separate meetings with ministers, members of Parliament and officials even as the federal government was pursuing major regulatory changes that critics claim amount to a gutting of environmental protection, according to a study of the lobbyist registry by the Polaris Institute. Over the course of that one year, some 52 of those sessions were with members of cabinet, including Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, Environment Minister Peter Kent, Foreign Minister John Baird and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. The most frequent visitors to the government were from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), TransCanada Corp., Imperial Oil Ltd.; the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association (CEPA), Suncor Energy Corp. and Enbridge Inc.”
“The oil industry met with the current government’s officials to craft a strategy aimed at defeating proposed European fuel-quality standards that would have singled out Canada’s oil sands as the most harmful in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, previously released documents have revealed. TransCanada has worked with Natural Resources and Foreign Affairs to win support for the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States. And the companies and associations have regular closed-door sessions with officials and ministers on changes to environmental legislation that were included in two major budget bills this year.”

“‘To us, this shows a fundamental shift in our democracy from government working for the people to government working for private interests such as industry,’ said Richard Girard, the institute’s researcher co-ordinator and a co-author of the report. He said the industry has clearly succeeded in its lobbying effort given the policy actions of the government.”

The full article is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/face-time-on-the-hill-the-energy-lobbys-pipeline-to-ottawa/article5945447/. The Polaris Institute report can be read at http://www.polarisinstitute.org/bigoilsoilygrasp.