An independent commissioner was appointed to lead a public inquiry into the foreign-funded campaigns targeting Alberta’s oil industry.
For over a decade, an alleged, well-funded foreign campaign has defamed Alberta’s energy industry and sought to landlock our natural resources. The reputational harm to the province’s energy sector has limited government and industry revenue, and cost Albertans and Canadians thousands of jobs.
The government launched a public inquiry, under the Public Inquiries Act, into the existence of this anti-Alberta energy campaign and the foreign sources of funds behind it.
In July 2019, Steve Allan, a Calgary forensic and restructuring accountant with 40 years of experience, was appointed as commissioner to lead the inquiry.
The final report for the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns details the investigation into the funding being used by foreign special interest groups to landlock Alberta’s natural resources. The report confirms the existence of well-funded, decade-long campaigns that have impacted the lives and livelihoods of Albertans.
- After years of targeting oil an gas infrastructure projects, and the financial and insurance companies which backed them, beginning in 2012, proponents claim these campaigns have achieved more than 1,000 divestments representing $8 trillion.
- This includes 7 campaigns specifically targeting divestment in the Alberta oil sands.
- The report identifies that there are large amounts of foreign funding flowing into Canada, which has the potential to influence matters of public interest to Albertans and Canadians.
- Total foreign funding of “Canadian-based” environmental initiatives was $1.28 billion between 2003 and 2019. The commissioner states that these figures are likely significantly understated. This includes:
- $925 million in foreign funding reported by Canadian charities for “environmental initiatives”
- $352 million in foreign funding of “Canadian-based” environmental initiatives, such as anti-pipeline campaigns, that remained in the U.S.
- Of this funding, $54.1 million in funding was provided through grants which were described as representing “anti-Alberta resource development activity.” This total is expected to be significantly underrepresented.
The Alberta government has completed or started work on a number of wide-ranging initiatives in alignment with the commissioner’s recommendations. These initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Demonstrating national leadership in renewable and low-carbon energy development, including geothermal and hydrogen resources, as well as via the TIER – or Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction – funding program
- Various actions to further dialogue and Indigenous participation in responsible energy developing, including the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation and Site Rehabilitation Program
- Establishing an ESG Secretariat to help the province align with environmental concerns from financial markets
Government will continue to examine opportunities to further its commitment to protecting the best interests of Albertans and supporting the province’s energy sector.
The commissioner was directed to:
- inquire into anti-Alberta energy campaigns that are supported by foreign organizations, and determine:
- if they provide financial assistance to a Canadian organization which has disseminated incomplete, misleading or false information about the Alberta oil and gas industry
- if the Canadian organization(s) has/have charitable status and/or receive grants or other funding from municipal, provincial or federal governments
- examine investigations completed in other jurisdictions into similar activities
- make recommendations to assist the Government of Alberta:
- respond effectively to any anti-Alberta energy campaigns
- consider additional eligibility criteria for government grants or charitable status
Read the full Terms of Reference, which has been amended through the following Orders in Council:
Mr. Allan is a leading forensic and restructuring accountant with more than 40 years experience in the field. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta and holds the ICD.D designation with the Institute of Corporate Directors.
He currently serves as the board chair for Calgary Economic Development and is a respected volunteer and community leader who advocates for economic development, poverty reduction, sports and the arts.
Mr. Allan’s accomplishments include being recognized by the Turnaround Management Association for his work in helping to restructure the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, serving as Chair of the Canadian Tourism Commission, and receiving the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Read Steve Allan’s full biography (PDF, 50 KB)