A Non-Foreign Affair: Pipeline review hearings allowing foreign input is ridiculous — we don’t need another country’s permission. It’s all Canada

Energy, Environment, Frontier Centre, Uncategorized, Worth A Look (historic)

Who should decide whether Canada should build an oil pipeline to our west coast — Canadian citizens or foreign interests?

That’s what the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline is about. Sure, it’s also about $20 billion a year for the Canadian economy and thousands of jobs. It’s about opening up export markets in Asia. It’s about enough new tax dollars to pay for countless hospitals and schools.

But it’s really about Canadian sovereignty. Do we get to make our own national decisions, or will we let foreign interests interfere?

The answer should be obvious to any self-respecting Canadian: This is a Canadian matter, and Canadians should decide it. Unlike the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have crossed into the U.S., we don’t need another country’s permission. It’s all Canada.

The federal government’s review panel begins public hearings this week. But the bureaucrat in charge, Sheila Leggett, has done something bizarre: She opened up the hearings to foreign citizens, foreign lobbyists and even foreign governments.

Here’s what Leggett says on her website: “Our job is to make sure that everyone who wants to talk to us about this project has an opportunity to be heard,” she says. “We’ll take whatever time it takes to ensure that everybody’s views are heard.”

The world’s Canada-bashers laughed, then signed up to testify. Almost 5,000 of them. Including Hugo Chavez’s state-owned oil company, CITGO. Including foreigners from Uruguay to Louisiana to Italy to Austria.

Then something really crazy happened. To ensure all those foreigners have time to talk, Leggett announced she was adding an extra year to her review.

Instead of telling foreigners to butt out, Leggett told Canadian workers to lean on their shovels while she listens to people who don’t live here, work here or have any connection here.

It’s not just foreigners. A classroom of children from Tahayghen Elementary School signed up. Maybe Leggett will build in nap time and snack time to her hearings.

Captain Jack Sparrow has signed up. Seriously. So has “Cave Man.” And 20 different people, all with the same e-mail address: sawyer@hayduke.ca. John Stevenson signed up under his own name. Then he signed up again as J. Stevenson. Same address. And on and on.

It’s a circus. But the biggest threat isn’t the clowns. It’s the well-paid foreign professional lobbyists who used Leggett’s weakness to take over the process.

Like the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation. They’ve hired the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation to “prevent the development of a pipeline and tanker port” in B.C.

That lobby group took $200,000 to do the Rockefellers’ bidding. They’re signed up to speak at the hearings.

San Francisco’s Moore Foundation has poured in more than $9 million to Aboriginal groups on the north coast of B.C. to oppose resource development.

Their Canadian lobby group, Ecotrust, will testify to Leggett also.

According to research by Vivian Krause, the U.S. Tides Foundation and their Canadian affiliate have poured millions of dollars into 36 cookie-cutter groups to oppose Canadian resource industries.

They all sound so local and real — the Dogwood Initiative, the Rainforest Action Network, the Natural Resources Defence Council, etc.

But they’re just tentacles of the same foreign foundation.

I don’t blame foreign billionaires like the Rockefellers. It’s normal for them to want to control other people, even other countries.

I blame their Canadian puppets for taking money to undermine their own country’s interests.

One group, the Pembina Institute, was recently caught soliciting money from a foreign embassy to fight against Canada (they got $60,000).

On Friday, Stephen Harper warned that the pipeline review “cannot be hijacked (by) foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase of the regulatory hearings, just for the purpose of slowing down the process.” So who’s going to win?

Foreign billionaires? Or Canada?

The prime minister has now taken sides publicly. It will be fascinating to see if Leggett listens to him — or to Hugo Chavez and the Rockefellers instead.