After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!
This Article is part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project special report See the full report

Harper strategists and big oil backing NPA, Mayor Gregor Robertson says

Photo of Mayor Gregor Robertson, city council candidate Niki Sharma and councill
Photo of Mayor Gregor Robertson, city council candidate Niki Sharma and councillor Andrea Reimer by Mychaylo Prystupa

"The NPA has one of the key players from the Harper administration doing their mastermind strategy. And we don't have any doubts that there's big oil behind their campaign. Basically on the right there's a very big conservative push to take power in Vancouver," Mayor Gregor Robertson told an audience at Science World last night.  

Robertson named Dimitri Pantazopoulos, an NPA strategist who comes from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaigns, as the "mastermind." 

Pantazopoulos helped manage successful campaigns for Premier Christy Clark and former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. 

Conservative "heavy gun" Erin Airton Chutter, a former campaign manager for Tory MP Stockwell Day, manages the NPA's messaging.  

The mayor spoke to the crowd previewing Directly Affected, a documentary on Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion.  

Responding to Robertson's statements later in the evening,  NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe told the Vancouver Observer, "It is fear-mongering by Gregor Robertson to suggest big oil is behind our campaign. It is wrong to suggest the campaign is run by Conservatives."

"My campaign manager is an experienced Liberal and he has assembled a team that embraces the political spectrum."

Pantazopoulos is the project manager of the Calgary-based Manning Centre's Municipal Governance Project. According to his bio, he "established early credentials in politics with the Reform Party" and served as partner with the Republican polling firm Market Strategies.

According to the list released by the NPA last week, two of the campaign's biggest donors are key players at the right-wing Fraser Institute, a think tank that receives substantial funding from U.S. oil billionaires David and Charles Koch and the Searle Freedom Trust. 

The Charles G. Koch Foundation, together with the Koch-owned Claude R. Lambe Foundation, donated a total of $765,000 to the Fraser Institute between 2007 and 2012, according to U.S. tax records.

The Searle Freedom Trust, a U.S. foundation known for fomenting climate change denial,  contributed $300,000 to the Fraser Institute between 2010 and 2012. 

More in News

Views from a refugee camp: Who gets into heaven?

I have just returned to Vancouver Island from Greek refugee camps where I met a Yazidi man named Jason who told me about his escape from ISIS in Iraq.   His story begins on a desert road where a...

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...
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.

Special reports

Athabasca tar sands, photographed by Andrew S. Wright

Tar Sands Reporting Project

Our award-winning team's crowd-funded series on the people, places and conflicts associated with Canada's tar sands.