Harper concerned about 'hijacked' Northern Gateway hearings

Echoing criticism from pro-oilsands EthicalOil.org, Harper claims foreign funding to enviro groups could compromise public hearings about Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline.

Photo by Ewa Chruscicka.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's heard growing concerns about hearings over the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline being "hijacked" by foreign interests, the Canadian Press reports.

According to CP, Harper said that the Canadian hearings must reach decisions in a reasonable amount of time, and expressed "growing fears" about foreign money funding participation in the public consultation process.

His comments align with harsh criticism from pro-oilsands groups like EthicalOil.org, who recently launched an aggressive smear campaign against environmental organizations accepting donations from American funders. Although EthicalOil.org claims to be non-partisan and emphasizes the fact that they don't accept funds from government bodies, Harper's comments appear to reinforce suspicions that the Conservative government has ties to these campaigns. 

Environmental advocates from the Pembina Institute and Environmental Defence responded to allegations, saying arguments over foreign funding were "spurious and disengenuous". Both Pembina and Environmental Defence also noted that foreign money constitutes just 10 per cent of their overall funding.

More than 4,000 groups and individuals have signed up to speak at the hearings, which begin on January 10th in Kitimat, BC.

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