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Posing as Canadian

How Big Foreign Oil captures
Canadian energy and climate policy 

Amidst a growing climate crisis, wealthy foreign-owned oil corporations have been using their power to block climate action in Canada. 

In a new report by researcher Gordon Laxer, we discovered that Big Foreign Oil has been working through CAPP (the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to shape climate and energy policy in Canada and stall meaningful action.
While CAPP claims to advance Canadians’ interests, most of the corporations on its board are either fully or majority foreign-owned. Together, these corporations were responsible for 97% of all oil production in Canada – and they fund the overwhelming majority of CAPP’s budget.

Canadians have consistently ranked the climate crisis as their top issue of concern. But CAPP’s lobbyists have used their power to entrench us further into extraction, to expand their profits.

It’s time for our elected leaders to put climate action before the profits of Big Foreign Oil.

The Playbook

How Big Foreign Oil influences climate policy in Canada

Falsely paint your opponents as un-Canadian.

Accuse Canadian environmentalists of using foreign funding to shut down the Canadian oil and gas industry – by calling for inquiries like the recent one conducted by the Alberta government.  

Mobilize an army of ‘grassroots’ supporters

Fund front groups like Canada’s Energy Citizens and Canada Action to advocate for continued oil and gas extraction.

Get out the ‘Energy Vote’

Influence voters in provincial and federal elections through third-party advertising, and make sizeable financial contributions to friendly politicians.

Lobby and influence governments to push for deregulation

Maintain perpetual contact with politicians and high-ranking bureaucrats in the federal and Alberta governments.

Instead of listening to Big Foreign Oil executives, our elected officials and decision-makers must invest in people and communities and tackle the climate crisis.  

Let’s put our country on a path to a just transition away from fossil fuels – and strengthen democracy while we’re at it. 

To curb the power of foreign oil giants, our leaders must immediately:

Prohibit foreign-influenced corporations from intervening in Canadian elections as third party advertisers and in all other ways.

Prohibit foreign-influenced corporations from funding corporate fossil fuel advocacy groups, such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Gas Association, and the Petroleum Services Association. 

Immediately end all direct and indirect subsidies to oil, gas, and other fossil fuel corporations. Close all loopholes and end all backdoor deals and attempts to greenwash the oil and gas sector. 

Enact just transition legislation that reduces emissions by at least 60 per cent below the 2005 level by 2030, winds down the fossil fuel industry and related infrastructure, and provides generous supports for all impacted workers and communities.

Chip-in to support community-led action for a Just Transition from fossil fuels.

Read the report

Dr. Gordon LaxerGordon Laxer is a political economist, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, and the founding Director of Parkland Institute. He is the author of two award-winning books (After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians, and Open for Business: The Roots of Foreign Ownership in Canada) and the editor of several others. He has published over 40 journal articles, refereed book chapters, and research reports. His op-eds have been published widely in Canadian outlets and he has also been a regular guest on current affairs radio and television programs.

Posing as Canadian: How Big Foreign Oil captures Canadian energy and climate policy, December 2021

This report was co-published by the Council of Canadians, CCPA BC, and CCPA Saskatchewan

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News and Analysis

On September 15, 2022 we hosted a webinar in collaboration with the environmental advocacy organization Stand.Earth.
Webinar with Gordon Laxer, February 3, 2022. If you would like to host another webinar for your local group, please let us know here.

Interview with Gordon Laxer on the influence of Big Foreign Oil, Alberta Primetime Politics, CTV, January 25, 2022