Collaboration Amongst the US and Canadian Eco-Warriors
The second in this series dealt with the role Marlo Raynolds of the Pembina Institute played in the formation of the Strathmere Group. It also outlined his ascent to power under the Justin Trudeau led Federal government despite his drubbing when seeking to win a seat as a Liberal MP in 2015. His ascent was to the Chief of Staff position to Trudeau’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. Raynolds continues in that role under current Minister Jonathon Wilkinson. So thanks to Rob Scagel I am able to point to some of what Marlo Raynolds has been up to since he was handpicked by Justin Trudeau for his current position.
The chart represents some of the companies and charities who have been busy lobbying Raynolds since his assent to Chief of Staff of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Interestingly enough six of the Strathmere Group members, which he formed, have knocked on his door 103 times since his appointment in late 2015. Included in those six are the charity (Pembina Institute) he was a key player at from February 2004 until August 2012.
In reviewing Federal contracts awarded to the six eco-warrior it is also interesting to note Pembina Institute received ten (10) contracts since Raynold’s appointment and they averaged $24,857.00 each putting them under the limit requiring competitive bids. Surely just a coincidence! The only other contract awarded was one to Environmental Defence for $24,999.99. The bulk of the 11 contracts were made by the Ministry of Natural Resources where Trudeau’s buddy Seamus O’Regan is the Minister whereas earlier contracts came from the Ministry where Raynolds is the Chief of Staff. Seems extremely co-incidental!
In an effort to search for grants to those on the Strathmere list, the discovery was made it was a difficult task despite the claim from the Liberals in their 2015 “Real Change” campaign book: “We will make government information more accessible,”. Nevertheless, I managed to locate a few and as one example the Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project was one studied by a collaboration of 21 groups who were principally First Nations communities joined by two of the Strathmere Group members. Those two were the Pembina Institute and CPAWS who respectively received $29,980 and $20,440 of the total study’s cost. Teck Resources cancelled this $20 billion dollar project earlier this year right around the time rail blockades sprang up across the county despite having the support of First Nations! Interestingly enough CPAWS reports they receive Federal Government grants in their CRA filings BUT the Pembina Institute doesn’t!
Based on the obvious confidence Raynolds displays one wonders was it him who suggested Catherine McKenna put a message on twitter she later apologized for which said: “Canada Salutes Nicaragua and Syria for joining on to the Paris Agreement!Global#ClimateAction.#COP23,” or suggested she pose for a picture advocating “conservation” with a bicycle wearing high heel shoes?
In any event, it presumably was him who organized a meeting of the minds back in late May/early June 2009 with 21 US “environmental and conservation leaders” to elicit a cooperative agreement with the 12-executive represented, Strathmere Group members from Canada, who were:
Canadian Environmental and Conservation Organization Leaders
Rick Bates, Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation
Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada
Bruce Cox, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
Stephen Hazell, Executive Director, Sierra Club Canada
Eric Hebert-Daly, National Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Bob Oliver, Executive Director, Pollution Probe
Devon Page, Executive Director, Ecojustice
Marlo Raynolds, Executive Director, Pembina Institute
Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director, Equiterre
Peter Robinson, President, David Suzuki Foundation
Graham Saul, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada
Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Canada
There are recognizable names in the list such as Raynolds and Rick Smith of Environmental Defence but the one that stands out is Gerald Butts the former “Principal Secretary” of none other than our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau until Butts resigned as a result of the SNC-Lavalin affair. Back in June 2009 Butts was the President and CEO of WWF and this was shortly after he left the “Principal Secretary” position to former Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty. Many have credited Butts as the individual responsible for bringing the GEA to Ontario advocating for wind and solar generation at prices that caused more than a doubling of Ontario’s electricity rates. The result was businesses left Ontario and their jobs went with them. Ontario’s electricity prices became amongst the highest in all of North America. I was not pleased to see ”Butts is back” as a member of the “Task Force for a Resilient Recovery” based on his influence with his friend and Canada’s current Prime Minister!
So, we know where Gerald Butts is now hanging his hat and we are well aware at this juncture Marlo Raynolds is helping to formulate the Canadian version of the “Green New Deal” but what has happened to the others who travelled to Washington to sign what was labelled a “Declaration”?
We will answer the foregoing question in the next episodes of our look at the Strathmere Group so stay tuned!
NB: A news release from July 16,2010 had the following to say about Raynolds: “Mr. Raynolds has worked for the Pembina Institute since 1995 and has been Executive Director since 2004.