David Suzuki “Won’t Be Intimidated” By TransCanada’s Dirty War Against Climate Justice Activists

“Like so many of you, I am dedicated to protecting the planet.”

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Friday, Nov 21, 2014

Environmentalist David Suzuki "won't be intimidated" by TransCanada's dirty war against climate justice activists. (Photo: Kris Krüg/FLICKR)

Environmentalist David Suzuki “won’t be intimidated” by TransCanada’s dirty war against climate justice activists. (Photo: Kris Krüg/FLICKR)

David Suzuki and the foundation that bears his famous name won’t be intimidated by TransCanada’s dirty war against climate justice activists and Energy East opponents.

Earlier this week, we learned that TransCanada had hired Edelman, one of the world’s largest PR firm, to help sell its controversial Energy East tar sands pipeline project to the public. According to internal strategic documents obtained by Greenpeace, Edelman advised TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL and Energy East pipeline projects, to engaged in a “perpetual campaign” involving propaganda, demonization, character assassination, smear campaign, economic warfare, proxy groups and other dirty tactics, to attack its pipeline opponents.

“Add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources,” Edelman advised. “We cannot allow our opponents to have a free pass.”

In a letter dispatched to supporters on Thursday, Karel Mayrand, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Quebec director general, said Suzuki had “no intention of backing down.” The letter reads:

I was personally named in the documents as an opponent to be discredited. But I won’t be intimidated. I have no intention of backing down. And I hope you will stand with me.

Like so many of you, I am dedicated to protecting the planet. My inspiration: the future of my two children, Anais and Simon-Olivier.

I also work for you. I know you rely on the David Suzuki Foundation’s researchers and experts to speak up, even in the face of well-funded opposition. It has never been more important to find clean, healthy solutions to Canada’s critical climate and energy challenges…

Decisions about our energy future must be based on evidence and an open and transparent public debate, NOT intimidation tactics funded by the fossil fuel industry…

Let’s work towards a country with sustainable energy policies and healthy communities. We are stronger together.

According to the Council of Canadians, if approved, the Energy East pipeline would cause a “40 per cent increase in tar sands production, and produce more climate pollution.”  It “threatens over 1000 waterways along the route with a devastating diluted bitumen spill.”

The Council of Canadians was named as a target by Edelman, alongside the David Suzuki Foundation, Equiterre, Avaaz and Ecology Ottawa.

Edelman also advised TransCanada to manipulate the media and “build an echo chamber of aligned voices” for Energy East’s propaganda.

The New York Times reports, “The documents indicate that Edelman’s efforts for TransCanada are being led by Mike Krempasky, the co-founder of the conservative blog RedState.com who joined Edelman in 2005. In the past, Mr. Krempasky has recruited bloggers and online commenters to post favorable comments about Walmart’s business and labor practices.”

TransCanada is desperate. The transnational climate justice movement has successfully stalled the Keystone XL project for more than six years. A bill seeking to force the approval of the pipeline failed during a vote in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening. The bill fell short of the requisite 60 votes after 59 senators voted in favour and 41 voted against.

Bill 2280 would have granted TransCanada the go ahead to “construct, connect, operate, and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities.”

In Canada, opposition to the Energy East pipeline project is growing. Earlier this month, a new student coalition vowed to block the Energy East and Enbridge’s line 9B tar sands pipeline projects right “at Quebec border.”

“From overflowing town halls to provincial reviews and increasingly critical municipal and First Nation leaders, TransCanada is losing public support despite their heavy-handed advertising and desperate tactics,” said Andrea Harden, the Council of Canadians’ Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, in a press release.

You can view or download the Edelman’s document (PDF) HERE.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.
  • Datasmith

    Interesting article, but you misunderstood the U.S. senate vote on Keystone XL. Actually, 59 senators voted in favour of closing debate on the bill, so that there would be an immediate vote. Had a vote been held, it would have passed with the same 59 votes. However, the senate filibuster rule requires 60 votes to close off debate, and this vote fell one short.