When Alberta released its report into foreign influence of environmental groups on Thursday, Jason Kenney, the premier, was conspicuously absent.
During the 2019 election, I watched Mr. Kenney roar up to podiums in his full-sized pickup truck and tell generally enthusiastic crowds that “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” were largely the work of foreign influence and money.
Before the vote, Mr. Kenney told members of his United Conservative Party that environmentalists began targeting the oil sands after a 2008 gathering of “special interests” that was “held at the Rockefeller brothers’ office in Manhattan.”
“You can’t make this up, it sounds like a John le Carré novel or something,” Mr. Kenney said at a party convention in 2018.
The two-year inquiry that produced the report released this week was part of Mr. Kenney’s “fight back” strategy to defend the province’s oil and gas industry.
It was unusual in that its members held no public hearings nor did they submit questions to environmental groups about their funding, methods or supporters. The inquiry’s budget of 3.5 million Canadian dollars did, however, allow members to hire an accounting firm that, among other things, reviewed the public filings that charities in Canada and foundations in the United States must make to their respective tax authorities.
But instead of giving Mr. Kenney the firepower he sought to diminish the influence of environmental groups, the inquiry’s findings offered little support of Mr. Kenney’s argument.
Between 2003 and 2019, the powerhouse accounting firm Deloitte calculated that Canadian environmental charities raised 8.1 billion Canadian dollars. But the firm found that
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