Vivian Krause tells Gregor Robertson that she's not part of a campaign to besmirch Tides Canada

A North Vancouver researcher has written a letter to Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson saying she is not part of a campaign to "besmirch" the Tides Canada Foundation.

Vivian Krause also declared in the November 26 letter that she has "no affiliation whatsoever with the fish farming industry nor with any other industry".

"I am writing to you as a member of the public," Krause wrote. "My main concern is what appears to me to be the influx of large amounts of foreign funding—and the influence that goes along with that. I'm concerned that this hasn't exactly been out in the open."

Robertson, a former director of the Tides Canada Foundation, told the Straight yesterday (November 25) that there are "ideological witch hunts" underway to demonize people trying to improve the world.

The mayor said that he has asked "tough questions" about subsidies to the oil-and-gas industry and about oil-tanker traffic risks in Vancouver and along the B.C. coast.

"There may be concerns from the industry side about that," he added.

For months, Krause has been raising questions on her website about how millions of dollars have moved between U.S.-based charitable foundations to the U.S.-based Tides Foundation, the Endswell Foundation, and Tides Canada Foundation, which funds environmental organizations.

It's illegal for registered charities to be involved in partisan political activities.

In her letter, which is one of several that she has written to Robertson and his closest associates, Krause raised questions about money raised for Robertson's successful NDP provincial campaign in Vancouver-Fairview in 2005.

She stated that the Endswell Foundation has spent $11.4 million since 2003, including $1.9 million to an investment company called Renewal Partners. It is an investor in Happy Planet, which is the juice company created by Robertson and his business partner, Randal Ius.

Renewal Partners is headed by the mayor's close associate and financial backer, Joel Solomon.

Krause noted that Renewal Partners and Strategic Communications, which identifies itself as a "partner" of Renewal Partners on its website, contributed $153,783 to Vision Vancouver in 2008.

In addition, Krause wrote in her letter, Strategic Communications—which is run by pollster Bob Penner—donated $28,529 to Robertson's NDP campaign in Vancouver-Fairview.

Another $20,641 flowed into Robertson's NDP campaign from Convergence Communications, which was headed by the mayor's chief of staff, Mike Magee. It billed the Tides Canada Foundation $204,036 in 2003 and 2005, according to Krause's letter.

Robertson was a director of Tides Canada from 2002 to 2005. Magee was senior adviser to Tides Canada from 2002 to 2007.

Krause's letter to Robertson noted that in 2004, the Tides Canada Foundation received $70,000 from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation to develop a strategic plan to address oil and gas development in B.C.

Since then, Krause stated, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation has contributed another $9.2 million to Tides Canada Foundation and the U.S.-based Tides Foundation to address the oil and gas industry.

Krause's letter to the mayor asks five questions in connection with the Tides Canada Foundation's strategic plan:

Ӣ What did Tides Canada's "strategic plan" involve, back in 2004?

”¢ Did that "strategic plan" involve thwarting oil exports to Asia by blocking oil tanker traffic on the B.C. coast—all in the name of marine conservation?

”¢ Did that U.S.-funded plan involve Tides Canada/Tides USA funding a large number of organizations—as reported recently in the Financial Post and Vancouver Sun—to campaign against Alberta oil?

Ӣ Did that "strategic plan" involve making HUGE payments to First Nations, such as the $27.3 million that Tides Canada quietly paid to two small First Nations in 2008?

Ӣ Did that "strategic plan" involve supporting a particular political party, or a particular politician?

For his part, Robertson told the Straight that it's "unfortunate" to see this story getting traction in the national media.

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Nov 26, 2010 at 6:35pm


Lets get real girl.

You are a concerned citizen with your nose out of joint because the poor folk in the oil patch are being mistreated by Joel, Gregor and their rich American friends?

Really now?

First why dont you disclose your short stint as a conservative staffer.

Second, why dont you disclose who is behind the information you are spinning.

Third, please take your considerable sleuthing abilities and investigate the players in the oil patch who are fleecing Canadians as we barrel towards becoming a third world petro state.

That would be the investigative journalism of concerned citizen and not the devious efforts of a shill for the greediest, most devious corporations on earth.

At least Joel and Gregor and company are bringing in millions of American dollars into Canada.

Your guys sucking billions out.


Nov 26, 2010 at 6:53pm

Come to think of it you and Ezra Levant should be both forced to live in Chip and drink the water everyday and eat the fish.


Nov 26, 2010 at 7:38pm

Geez, the Straight used to have some journalistic credibility. Now it seems content to unquestioningly report the antics of fascist clowns like George Galloway, the incoherent ramblings of 9/11 Troofers and now the right wing conspiracy theories of fish farm and tar sands supporter Vivian Krause. Is there no journalism left in this city? Oh yeah, the Tyee -- but it gets support from Tides. Maybe that's why the Straight is on this kick.

Mike Klassen

Nov 26, 2010 at 8:27pm

Attack the messenger, eh Kevin? Equate Vivian with Tory baddies, Levant, oil industry types, then blame her for the rape of the land. You must work for the Mayor's office. Here's Vivian's bio for those who are interested

"At least Joel and Gregor and company are bringing in millions of American dollars into Canada."

Yeah, and so are the UN gang. And your point is?

Charlie Smith

Nov 26, 2010 at 8:47pm

Hi Gajeez,

It has only been three online pieces so far on this topic. Nothing has appeared in the print edition, yet. I'll explain why I find this story intriguing.

Question: Which foreign country benefits from thwarting tar-sands oil exports to Asia through Kitimat or through Vancouver?

Answer: The United States, which draws about 18 percent of its imported oil from Canada. Canada is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States.

Question: Where is the money coming from to help thwart tar-sands oil exports to Asia?

Answer: The United States.

Question: What's one of the best books on the geopolitics of oil?

Answer: Michael Klare's Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy.

I suggest you read Klare's book if you haven't done so already. Like Klare, I'm personally interested anytime I see big money and oil show up together, given the geopolitical race for this diminishing resource. I'm not saying that we should necessarily be exporting tar-sands oil to China, Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries. I am saying that this shouldn't be a taboo topic for discussion.

I also think we should have a serious discussion about why Canada doesn't have a state-owned oil company, unlike most other huge petroleum producers. It was sheer folly for the federal government to sell its stake in Petrocan.


Nov 26, 2010 at 10:44pm

One point worth considering is that over 90% of all funds received by large Canadian environmental organizations comes from American sources. Why? Because Canadians don't have that kind of money or just don't give in those quantities, which is the same either way. To verify this fact, just call up your choice of environmental lawyers.

This whole discussion is a red herring. Americans have more money to spend than we do and we will all take that money when offered. Whether it be for enviro orgs. or for tar sands projects. Just because it's American does not make it right or wrong.

Vision & Robertson are progressives and the NPA & Klassen are conservatives. We all know why Klassen and the conservatives are pissed, they don't have as much money as Vision. Good thing too, from where I'm standing.


Nov 27, 2010 at 1:03am

Hi Charlie,

You forgot India.

There are serious issues at play here which is why my first comment asked broad opened ended questions.

I like that you tackle the radical roots of the issue and make the obvious point that there is more at play here than a few guys trying to do some good in the world.

This is serious far reaching business for Vancouverites, British Columbians, Americans and countries around the world, however discussing nationalizing petroleum companies or reinventing petro canada is more of a red herring than what others here claim this conversation to be.

Probably best to stick to finding out why such huge players are teamed up under a local green feel good banner before we call in Hugo.

And yes it deserves ink and hell of a lot of it.

glen p robbins

Nov 27, 2010 at 9:41am

Holy Crow - my polling company predicted the race for leader of Vision Vancouver within basis points for each candidate--and similarly the race for Vancouver mayor --(and the mayor before that). We also predicted Obama when Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in.

Where do true independents line up for the loot?


Nov 27, 2010 at 9:50am

How ridiculous is it that the Visionista brigade is attacking anyone who questions Gregor and Joel as being a "tar sands supporter", while Gregor and Joel accept money from the ROCKEFELLERS?

BTW, the NPA aren't conservatives, they're just another brand of "progressive" globalists. Voting in Vancouver consists of choosing between 5 groups of dogmatic micro-managing nanny-state-loving corporate control-freaks.

Mike Klassen

Nov 27, 2010 at 10:25am

@nachum. You say:

"Vision & Robertson are progressives and the NPA & Klassen are conservatives. We all know why Klassen and the conservatives are pissed, they don't have as much money as Vision. Good thing too, from where I'm standing."

Your generalizations about what I or the NPA stand for are understandable possibly because those are the easy labels people are fed. However, if you have a closer look at both the Vision & NPA records it becomes much harder to distinguish who is the more "progressive" organization.

In the case of the NPA, the political association whose candidates have ruled for the majority of Vancouver's history, they've been responsible for implementing progressive development fee levies to help pay for park upgrades and community amenities. During their governance the NPA established the city's social housing policy, build hundreds of kilometres of bike routes, the seawall, and the Four Pillars mental health & drug policy to protect our most vulnerable. They have also managed the Property Endowment Fund (started by TEAM mayor Art Phillips) to help the city finance more social housing while keeping property taxes affordable, especially for seniors on fixed incomes. Under the NPA the City created "Clouds of Change," the first sustainability policy and opened a sustainability office to develop a policy to put pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users ahead of single occupancy vehicles. Finally, during the NPA's last term of government they secured a promise from the Provincial government to commit to over 3800 units of social and supportive housing, much of it brand new facilities built upon city-owned land. I should also mention that not one City employee was laid off during the last NPA term either.

From where I'm standing that's pretty progressive politics.

Whereas Vision Vancouver have been aggressively cutting back staff and services. Under their term they've laid off several employees and are not filling open positions. Vision have also decided to charge ahead without public consultation, and have recently forced the manager of the Freedom of Information office to quit in protest from Vision's oppressive tactics.

From where I stand that sounds like the actions of a more conservative style of government.

So stick to your labels if you think they work, but a more accurate view of history indicates that really "progressive" politics also comes from the NPA. And this is why I support them.