Kathy Shaidle

AstroTurf: Tides Foundation funds ‘grassroots’ protests against Canadian oil sands

Posted on October 16 2010 10:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."

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AstroTurf® has a petrochemical backing. But in the world of political “astroturfing,” manufactured outrage against Big Oil gets its backing from mega-foundations.

Today, Canada’s Financial Post revealed that protests against domestic oil production are being funded by progressive American “charities”:

Like most protests, the one against oil tankers has all the look and feel of a Canadian grassroots movement. The campaign against Alberta’s oil sands also seems to rise out of the people, but the interesting thing is that there are very few roots under that grass. Money comes in from a small core of U.S. charitable groups.

One of those groups — the U.S. Tides Foundation of California (Tides U.S.) and its Canadian counterpart have paid millions to at least 36 campaign organizations.

All the money, at least US$6-million, comes from a single, foreign charity. The Tides U.S. campaign against Alberta oil is a campaign against one of Canada’s most important industries. It’s fair for Canadians to inquire about who’s funding this campaign and why.

The trouble is, nobody knows.

As we’ve been saying for some time now, the Tides Foundation certainly seems to have some warped priorities:

Many of the grants for the “Tar Sands Campaign” are far larger than grants for other important causes. For example, a rape intervention project in Sub-Saharan Africa got US$9,000 and a project to support people with HIV in Indonesia got US$9,998.

In comparison, Greenpeace got US$186,000 and the World Wildlife Fund got US$160,000 to campaign against Alberta oil.

Researcher Vivian Krause of investigated the Tides Foundation for the Financial Post and reports:

A large part of Tides’ funding comes from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David &  Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. These are The Big Five. They give away about US$1.2-billion every year.

If these foundations decide to undermine a foreign industry, they probably can.

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