Big Oil and Republicans funding Frontier’s evil agenda?

Blog, Energy, Peter Holle

If you are a reader of the Winnipeg Free Press you may have noticed the thought-provoking series of commentaries on Manitoba as a Supplicant Society by Law Professor Bryan Schwartz.  Yesterday’s instalment, entitled Watchdog or Poodles, generated the usual stream of reader comments on the Winnipeg Free Press website.  You have to be a subscriber to access that content, of course.  Some of it is quite thoughtful and some of it is quite nasty, particularly the ad hominem attacks on Professor Schwartz by obvious partisans and or the highly uninformed.

I received the following note from a friendly fellow traveller in search of good policy:

“There is an anti-Frontier Centre paranoid rant from a “MacKenna” that deserves a place in the Black-Helicopters-Are-Shadowing-Me/I-Wear-A-Tinfoil-Hat-So-CIA-Satellites-Can’t-Read-My-Thoughts/Loony-Left- Hall–of- Fame.”

Intrigued I found this gem which I reprint for readers of this blog:

Posted by: MacKenna

February 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The Frontier Institute is a libertarian/conservative anti-science “think tank” largely serving big oil interests. Most of what they do is anti-climate change science propaganda. They don’t say who funds them but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn they get money from Republican interests south of the border, like the Koch brothers. Like the Fraser Institute, the FI believes in an unregulated free market valuing corporate interests. Its so-called study of public servants is highly biased and just dead wrong. It fails to take into account the 10-year wage freeze imposed in the 1980s, and the fact that most wage increases are well below inflation. Professional workers in the public service earn LESS than they would in the private sector. Lower level clerical workers earn more than they would in the private sector. The only benefit to a professional worker in the public service is the pension plan, which workers pay into throughout the life of their career. You have to work about 30 years before you’re eligible for a pension. Unlike members of parliament who can collect a tax-payer funded pension for only ten years of service.

No sweat. These types of paranoid rants are part of the think tank game and the important intellectual missionary work they undertake to challenge the status quo.  So let me quickly respond:

If only there was money from “big oil” at Frontier.  Alas, only a very tiny portion of our budget comes from the energy industry.  With an office in Alberta that receives support from local business it would be very difficult to avoid any donations from the energy industry.   As for corporate interests, Mackenna fails to understand that the corporates are generally leery of bold policy reform.  Hence, I regret to inform him that, again, only a very small fraction of our support comes from these sources.

While Frontier has charitable status in the United States we have not sourced any donations (including Republican or Koch Brothers) there as yet.

Our funding profile can be seen by clicking here.    The majority of our funding comes from private foundations that support public policy research.

As for the study that you attack in your missive it’s all rock solid stuff based on the latest Stats Canada data.

Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Mackenna.  Tin foil hats and black helicopters aren’t for everyone, but if it makes you happy. . .