Tory-linked "Ethical Oil" website slams Canadian enviros over "foreign funding"

Directors from Pembina Institute and Environmental Defence say most of their money comes from Canadian foundations, companies and individuals and that the "Ethical Oil" website is distorting the facts.

Ethical Oil's new website claims foreign funders are "sabotaging" Canada's economy. Screen capture from

Ethical Oil, a well-known pro-oil sands group supported by the industry and linked to the Conservative government, has introduced a new campaign claiming that foreign funding to environmental organizations compromises Canadian oil pipeline opposition.

The site, called, lists several major Canadian environmental groups and the donations they’ve received from American funding bodies. Describing these donors as “foreign billionaires” intent on “sabotaging the Canada’s national interest”, Ethical Oil says groups like the Pembina Foundation, West Coast Environmental Law, Ecojustice and Environmental Defence do not speak for Canadians and are manipulated by outside interests.

Pembina Institute's executive director, Ed Whittingham, said this attempt to smear the environmental community constitutes a “spurious and disingenuous argument”.

“It’s an interesting coupling of the ultra-right-wing movement and the anti-globalization movement,” he said of the “splashy” online campaign, which was launched alongside corresponding radio and print ads.  

Ethical Oil says the intention was to inform British Columbians ahead of the long-awaited public hearings over Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat. They have even activated a new Twitter handle, @ForeignPuppets, to directly mock and confront organizations speaking out against the project.

The pro-oil sands forum,, was originally created to promote the ideas in Sun News commentator Ezra Levant’s book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s oil sands. Until recently, it was operated by Alykhan Velshi – former staffer to Conservative Minister Jason Kenney and now director of planning for the Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Alykhan Velshi and Minister Jason Kenney. Photo from

Now, Ethical Oil’s major spokesperson is Kathryn Marshall, a political commentator and columnist for 24 Hours Vancouver whose husband, pollster Hamish Marshall was previously manager of strategic planning for the Prime Minister’s office.

Kathryn Marshall debates Elizabeth May during the 2011 Durban climate conference. Screen capture from video.

More in Environment

Canada’s first land raised Atlantic salmon achieves top eco-ranking

Canada's first land-raised Atlantic salmon has achieved the top sustainability ranking issued by the world's leading independent eco-ranking program. KUTERRA Land Raised Atlantic salmon has received...

Coastal GasLink pipeline project granted environmental assessment approval

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman and Environment Minister Mary Polak issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate to Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline...
Ian McAllister tidal wolf photo - Great Bear Wild - used with permission

Great Bear Rainforest photographer urges a halt on tar sands oil

Spotting a pair of hungry wolves return to the same tidal spot on B.C.'s rainforest coast he's seen them come to for years, photographer Ian McAllister whipped into action: zipping up his dry suit,...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.