The Tsleil-Waututh Nation in BC announced last week that they’re filing a legal challenge against the National Energy Board’s review process. Their allegations include that the NEB failed to properly consult the Tsleil-Waututh on the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline “on key decisions about the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project”; and that the NEB’s evaluation process doesn’t consider external factors (like storage facilities & tanker terminals).
The story got a fair amount of coverage in the media, but most journalists simply regurgitated the press release. As usual, reporters ignored key questions including; “who’s behind it?” and “where is the money coming from?”. Of course, had they asked these questions, the gig would have been up before it got started- looking behind the curtain we find the same cast of activists and NGOs we see at every other protest and action.
Why Is It Always Dodgy White Guys Taking The Cash?
If there’s one constant I’ve found writing about “settler ally” relationships with indigenous groups, it’s that it’s almost always the case that the former group is taking the money- we saw this just four days ago in the story about the Unist’ot’en Camp. Another unfortunate trend is that the people taking the money often don’t provide proper accounting, or have histories of mismanaging budgets.
Irwin Oostindie is a Dutch transplant to Canada whose previous job was managing the controversial W2 Media Centre and Cafe. The city helped create W2 in response to the Woodsworth Squat– as an appeasement to the anti-gentrification activists who were blocking its construction. The official purpose of the space was for teaching media and employment skills to DTES residents who are living in poverty.
After its launch W2 quickly became the hub for many of Vancouver’s radical activists. Occupy Vancouver held its initial planning meetings at the W2, along with a host of other grassroots (and AstroTurf) organizations. W2 hosted NGOs and politicians including NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, and NGOs like Joel Solomon & Carol Newell’s Renewal Partners. Meanwhile, the only place one would see poor DTES residents was out at the front entrance- hoping that Mulcair, Solomon or Newell will throw them a Toonie.
When they weren’t hosting party leaders, activists, and millionaires; Oostindie would raise extra money by using the space for late night raves and parties. There were occasions where W2’s space hosted sadomasochist parties– including one with ‘kissing booths’ used for drug consumption and sexual activities. W2’s space was provided free by the City of Vancouver (curiously, W2 once had a table at a fundraiser for Mayor Gregor Robertson’s VISION Vancouver). Oostindie was eventually future endeavored after W2 was unable to pay all their bills- he still runs W2 Radio/Media.
What better a person to handle the money!
As part of their campaign against Kinder Morgan the Tsleil-Wautuh have setup a website and organization called the TWN Sacred Trust. The site outlines their position against the pipeline expansion; information on their case against the NEB; links to other grassroots looking groups (including one that’s a front for NDP MP Kennedy Stewart); and there’s a button to make a Paypal donation with. The money goes to an email account in Irwin Oostindie’s name:
Deeply Seated In The US Funded NGO/Activist Industrial Complex:
Digging into the Tsleil-Waututh’s networks, it’s quickly apparent that they’re at the heart of the NGO/activist industrial complex- connected to virtually every major US funded ENGO we’ve see active in Canada. We also see some of the NGO’s superstar activistocrats, and a couple familiar Hollywood interlopers. The-Tsleil Waututh could only be closer to the belly of the beast if they were inside Joel Solomon’s stomach.
Question: Where do Crystal Lameman, Eriel Deranger, Brigette DePape, Sean Devlin, Neil Young, Olivia Chow, David Eby Idle No More, and former US “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones intersect?
Answer: They’ve all benefited from the services of a union/NDP affiliated online campaign manager named C-Street.
February 21-22: Strange Bedfellows At The Salish Coast Live Winter Gathering (Vancouver)
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust held a two-day fundraiser in February. And, what better way to hold a party than to invite all of one’s foreign foundation funded NGO and union friends! The event was presented by the Trust, Irwin Oostindie’s W2 Media, the left-leaning Georgia Straight, Co-Op & CITR radio. Some of the featured guests included:
- Ben West (Forest Ethics): Only moments after the joint review panel recommended the government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline, Ben West was shouting to the media that the response would “make Clayoquot Sound look like a walk in the park”. FE’s co-founder Tzeporah Berman led Clayoquot, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. As Vivian Krause as reported in the Financial Post, FE gets pipelines of foreign cash from American foundations.
- Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Greenpeace & Indigenous Environmental Network): Laboucan-Massimo is an environmental activist that works with, not one, but two US foundation supported ENGOs- what more is there to say!
- Kai Nagata (Dogwood Initiative): Nagata is one of the Dogwood Initiative’s newest recruits. Passionate about climate change, and dismayed with the mainstream media’s coverage of it, Nagata came to fame by very publicly walking away from CTV (his next step was, ironically, to fly to California to film a documentary on a blind man riding a gas powered motorcycle). Dogwood is part of the reason NEB hearings have become more restricted- after their 2011 campaign to “Mob The Mic” campaign threatened to jam-up the approval process for the Northern Gateway pipeline.
- Sean Devlin & Brigette DePape (Shit Harper Did): Devlin and DePape always seem to be at the center of the action these days. Devlin got a lot of attention earlier this year standing behind Stephen Harper with a protest sign. DePape is the ever-present “rogue Senate page” with the “Stop Harper” sign. Both are closely allied with CUPE and other militant unions. SHD’s board includes Harsha Walia- Canada’s most prominent supporter of activist violence.
- Gord Hill (a.k.a. Zig Zag): Hill is an indigenous activist who is most closely aligned with the militants. Hill is a talented artist, and a close ally with the militant anarchist community- he supports the pro-violence doctrine of Diversity of Tactics.
It can be confusing to watch so called ‘peaceful’ NGO’s like Forest Ethics and the David Suzuki Foundation sponsoring events that feature people who promote violence. TIDES Canada uses the slogan “Strange Bedfellows“- there could be no better way to describe the mix of people who attended the Winter Gathering.
April 22-27: Cowboy And Indian Alliance (Washington DC)
The Cowboy and Indian Alliance was a faux-grassroots event in Washington, DC, sponsored by foundation funded NGOs including the Sierra Club, 350.org, Greenpeace, and MoveOn.org (mothership of LeadNow.ca). If there’s one commonality with events led by 350.org, it’s that there’s an almost cult-like feeling to them. In the video you can see the participants swooning, fawning, and bowing their arms in praying motions together- everything one would expect of an end-of-the-world cult (or a Monty Python skit).
There are also a few familiar faces in the video. Love Is The Movement brother and sister activists Eriel Deranger and her brother Ryan Deranger (a.k.a. Gitz Crazyboy) flew-in from Alberta, both gave passionate speeches. Crystal Lameman jetted in from Alberta to represent the Beaver Lake Cree. Ruben George came from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in BC. That’s a lot of frequent flyer miles!
When Barrick Gold’s Peter Munk was recently interviewed by The Economist, he complained about the influence of foreign NGOs saying:
“Every Hollywood actor, who made a quick $20m without working for it, feels that he can discharge his conscience by giving $100,000 to stop the seal hunt, or stop mining or stop exploiting the natives. These guys (the NGOs) have to produce results. So they get very, very difficult. Very litigious.”
The Cowboy and Indian Alliance is a great example of this phenomenon- featuring rock singer Neil Young and actress Daryl Hannah in a awareness/fund raiser to cover the cost of the Tsleil-Waututh’s litigation. Due to their outspokenness (and the media’s lust for all things celebrity), Young and Hannah’s influence on Canadian environmental policy is likely to overshadow that of cities full of Canadians. Unfortunately for environmentalists, they’ve sometimes been known to speak complete and utter nonsense. These are not the right people to be leading our country’s environmental and economic policies.
May 5: Tsleil-Waututh Legal Challenge Press Conference (North Vancouver, BC)
The final incident that ties together our story is the Tsleil-Waututh’s press conference held on May 5th. The event featured Chief Maureen Thomas, and Ruben George; but had no shortage of NGO activists. Brigette DePape was there, along with Leila Darwish of the Council of Canadians (another one of those strange bedfellow groups that promotes violence). Also present was the Tsleil-Waututh’s indigenous lawyer Merle Alexander.
What I find most unsettling in this settler-native alliance is the bare faced colonialist attitude of their American financial backers, they regard aboriginal bands as something they can rent to give an otherwise upper class elite movement “a little colour”. Then we have the part time “Canadians” like Neil Young, who only come to Canada to collect accolades or to play in one of their activist hobbies. There are some reasonable questions to be asked about building pipelines, or about the safety of increased tanker traffic on the West coast that need to be dealt with, but the Line 9 reversal involves none of that. The Line 9 reversal involves shipping Canadian oil to a Canadian destination, directly offsetting OPEC imported oil, oil from such leaders in sound environmental practices like Nigeria.
Is this opposition to pipelines rooted in a genuine concern for the environment or is it rent a mob style astroturfing funded by billionaires like Tom Styer or George Soros intending to make a financial “play”, or by OPEC dictatorships attempting to thwart a potential competitor?The interference in the internal affairs of many European countries by Vladimir Putin’s funding of activist groups and political parties is well documented, Gazprom has much of Europe by the short and curlies and Putin wants to keep it that way.