Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Note to industry: "Nothing nefarious about Tides"

Utterly amazing that this puff piece-- a letter to the editor-- would be sent to the pro-industry paper of record in Canada. As a clarion call to alert tar sands operators that from now on, Tides (and those they fund, such as Greenpeace, Canadian Boreal Initiative, David Suzuki Foundation and the "invisible to the outside" North American tar sands coalition itself) is no longer going to allow itself to be a part of this crap about "shutting down the tar sands" but instead will be a part of a fake deal that greenwashes while development continues. Based on the falling returns of the legitimacy of the tar sands gigaproject on a world wide scale, this sell-out cannot happen a moment too soon for Suncor, Syncrude, Albian/Shell, etc.


Nothing nefarious about Tides

Ross McMillan, Financial Post · Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010

Our mission at Tides Canada Foundation is to provide uncommon solutions for the common good by leading and supporting actions that foster a healthy environment and just Canadian society. It should therefore come as no surprise that our organization and our donors -- Canadians and Americans alike -- support rigorous public discourse on national issues like Canada's energy future, including oil sands development.

Ms. Krause questions the legitimacy of U.S. foundations supporting Canadian environmental groups that are concerned about the rapid development of the oil sands. The fact that U.S. foundations have turned their attention to the oil sands is no more alarming than Canadian organizations making donations to prevent rainforest destruction in Indonesia or blindness in Nepal.

Canadian environmental organizations do look south for support -- just as domestic and foreign oil companies operating in Canada look to Americans for significant investment.

And it is no secret that corporate public relations budgets dwarf those of non-profits and their foundation supporters.

At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps. As a convener of diverse interests, we've played this role before, most notably in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. There, we worked with strange bedfellows -- forest companies, activists, governments and First Nations -- to help create one of the largest and most innovative conservation and sustainable development agreements in North American history.

The experience taught us two things: First, solutions that work for people and the planet are complex, and don't emerge overnight. Second, environmental outcomes will not endure unless they also meet the economic and social needs of families and communities.

It is in this spirit that we are now reaching out to oil sands companies to spark a different conversation. And we tell these companies exactly what we are about: finding a way to move Canada to a new energy future based on an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy.

The oil sands are important to Canada's economy today and our near-term energy security. But we need to discuss their future within the broader framework of a national energy strategy, and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions as part of our global responsibility to tackle climate change.

Ultimately, there is not only an environmental but an economic imperative to look beyond fossil fuel development. Just as coal replaced wood to ignite the industrial revolution, renewable energy sources will replace fossil fuels. Canada can maintain its status as an energy super-power only if it begins now to prepare for this inevitable shift.

As a registered Canadian charity, operating in full compliance with charitable laws, Tides Canada will continue to unite diverse interests and forge innovative solutions to tough environmental and economic challenges, in Alberta and elsewhere. And despite Krause's suggestions to the contrary, there is nothing ne farious about that.

Ross McMillan, president and CEO, Tides Canada


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