In late February TIDES Canada President & CEO Ross McMillan wrote an angry letter to the RCMP. McMillan was upset by the release of an RCMP document obtained by Montreal’s La Presse analysing risks to Canada’s energy industry. TIDES was named for their connection to anti-energy protests, the document also identified the RCMP’s “most urgent” perceived threat “of violent criminal activity is in northern British Columbia, where there is a coalition of like-minded violent extremists who are planning criminal actions to prevent the construction of the pipeline.”
McMillan’s letter expressed his “grave concern that the RCMP would produce a document asserting that Tides Canada, a respected Canadian charity, is associated with a movement involving violent extremist and criminal activity”. It’s understandable why Mcmillan would be gravely concerned, his charity is currently undergoing a CRA audit for their political activities, TIDES Canada has a lot to lose.
Hollyhock is a TIDES Canada funded New Age retreat on Cortes Island, BC. Hollyhock’s programs sell genuine “indigenous knowledge” to people who can afford to drop a few hundred dollars for a weekend visit. It’s also the location for the TIDES sponsored annual Social Change Institute, a training camp for many of the Astroturf activists covered by this website. Hollyhock had a special visitor last week- an extremist who’s been tracked by the RCMP since 2010 for his involvement with the “Northern BC” activists warned about in the very document McMillan objected to in February.
Clayton Thomas-Muller is the very definition of a professional protester. He’s worked for a wide range of foundation sponsored NGOs including the Indigenous Environmental Network, Polaris Institute, RAVEN Trust, Bioneers, and now as a climate change organizer with 350.org. Clayton’s work leads him from coast-to-coast-to-coast, racking up frequent flyer miles braving the airline’s cold Camembert and broken crackers.
But Clayton has a darker side too, put in his own words in 2012 “I don’t care about soccer moms and Nascar dads, soccer moms and Nascar dads are god fearing, law abiding, citizens”. You see, Clayton is a revolutionary, he made this very clear at last summer’s Peoples Social Forum when he explained he doesn’t believe in the electoral system. In the same speech he also explained how he’ll fight other indigenous people who disagree with his views on pipelines.
Last year APTN broke the story that Clayton has been tracked by the RCMP since 2010. Their interest was piqued after Clayton attended the Unist’ot’en Camp, a northern BC coalition of extremists who are violently threatening pipeline companies and threatening to “confiscate” (steal) their equipment. Also in 2010, Clayton was the spokesperson for the Native Youth Movement during the Olympic protests- a group whose theme music includes racist lines like “take back the land, kill the white man”.
Clayton has been to Hollyhock before, was an instructor at the TIDES supported Social Change Institute. This year he arrived one day after the SCI finished, he left yesterday and flew back to Ontario today. There aren’t any special events advertised for those dates, so it’s uncertain what he’s been up to.
Also up at Hollyhock at the same time was Joel Solomon, a former TIDES Canada executive, and the New Age camp’s CEO. Clayton and Solomon were last seen together in October, when both were on the same panel about “movement building”.
It’s hard to tell who this situation is more embarrassing for. On the one hand there’s Ross McMillan, his claims that TIDES has no connections to militant RCMP tracked extremists is looking a bit weak. Equally, one has to wonder why Clayton would betray his own people by attending a camp that unabashedly appropriates indigenous culture and sells it to the rich- or, as Joel Solomon calls it, #HollyhockLife.