Dear Ambassador Doer,
I read with interest the news accounts of your government's recent spending to advertise on behalf of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL export pipeline. Though this $24 million ad campaign was a flop, your spending surge begs the question: How much Canadian taxpayer money has the Harper Government spent over the entire life of your lobbying and propaganda campaign? And not just in this most recent effort?
I think Canadians, whose money is being spent, and Americans, who are subjected to the resulting propaganda, deserve to know how much has been spent to help the wealthy TransCanada Corporation and a large, massively profitable industry. Citizens of both countries deserve to know -- especially when TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline provides the key for unlocking massive Canadian tar sands development. TransCanada is determined to unleash this carbon bomb and permanently damage one of the world's most pristine forests -- all just to boost their profits.
I also have grave concerns about the aggressive lobbying influence your government has exerted to put pressure on the U.S. State Department to approve TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. The Obama Administration even offered your government the advice to tone down your lobbying to avoid potential litigation.
To make matters even worse, your government has gone so far as to spy on Canadian citizens who oppose expanding the tar sands -- some of the world's dirtiest oil -- and then brief Big Oil lobbyists and executives on the results. Let's just hope that's where it stops.
I'll admit, I don't hold out great hope you will be forthcoming, as the Harper Government has been, well, a bit squeamish about sharing the most basic information about turning the Canadian taxpayer into an ATM for the tar sands industry.
Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is in great trouble, due in no small part to the rampant misinformation campaign and outright lies told by the tar sands lobby. As I wrote earlier this month, impending loss now defines Keystone XL.
When U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visits your country later this month, you could start a new kind of campaign: a campaign of transparency. You could answer these important questions. You could disclose exactly how much you have spent on all of your Keystone XL lobbying and propaganda campaigns to push the project of one, highly profitable company that is perfectly capable of making its own case.
Ask yourself: If you are already going to lose this fight, why lose your credibility as well?