Quid pro quo whoa

Vivian Krause got a lot of [semi]-positive press this week. Of note, yesterday’s Globe article. But I’m going to begin with her January 7th article in the Vancouver Sun. First graf:

According to my analysis of Canadian tax returns, Canadian green groups get nearly $50 million in foreign funding every year.

A number is established – $50 million/yr. Next:

Ducks Unlimited Canada reported $65 million and Tides Canada reported $8.3 million in foreign funding for 2009 and 2010.

I’m not sure how the numbers break down exactly for the 2 years cited, but let’s assume a 50-50 split b/w 2009 and 2010 for Ducks Unlimited. My primitive math skills indicate this is $32.5 million per year. Or, put another way, Ducks Unlimited accounts for 65% of the $50 million of foreign funding of Canadian environmental groups each year. Quack quack!

But that’s just the nitty-gritty details that make it seem completely underwhelming. At heart, it’s this that is at the heart of Krause’s arguments:

The problem that I see with the foreign funding is that it is skewing the public debate because the American foundations are playing favourites, supporting only the Canadians whose position aligns with American interests.

What the “American interests” are and how they deviate from Canadian interests is never, of course, mentioned. Another way you could – accurately – phrase the above is this:

The problem that I see with environmental funding is that it is skewing the public debate because the Environmental foundations are playing favourites, supporting only the Environmental groups whose position aligns with Environmental interests.

But that’s no fun. Switching to the Globe article, there’s this:

Ms. Krause said she’d ultimately like to see the Gateway pipeline succeed, but after decisions made by Canadians alone.

Could it be Krause started with a conclusion and is working backwards? You see, I believe a lot of Vivian Krause’s objection flows from an assumption – that the objections to the Northern Gateway pipeline or fish farming are in part phoney-baloney. A cover for U.S. economic interests. This is never demonstrated, only implied.

Nor has she ever established a quid pro quo: that Canadian environmental groups held Position X before receiving U.S. based funding, and Position Y after. That would be a skewing of the debate. Instead, the simplest and most plausible explanation is ignored – that environmental groups hold their positions for environmental reasons. And, of course, foreign corporate interests interfering in the debate – whether they be Norwegian fishing conglomerates or Chinese oil companies – are never explored. (A very telling passage of her testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources starts here)

She (and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver) won’t, and can’t, argue on the merits of the science. So they attack from the sides.

At least she tries to distance herself from Ezra Levant’s “Ethical Oil” clown show.