It’s one thing to cooperate – it’s another thing entirely to collude in order to get around laws that help make our democracy work.
So Greenpeace Canada has asked Elections Canada to investigate whether the Conservative Party is colluding with the Ethical Oil Institute in violation of the measures in the Canada Elections Act that prohibit donations to federal political parties from corporations.
“We have compiled some very troubling evidence on the relationship between Ethical Oil and the Conservative Party that we believe merits investigation by the Commissioner of Canada Elections,” said Keith Stewart, Climate and Energy Campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Canada. “Our laws still ban oil companies from directly or indirectly funding political parties, so we hope that Ethical Oil and the Conservative Party will cooperate with the Commissioner in an investigation to clear this up.”
The Ethical Oil Institute does not publicly disclose its funding sources, but its website states that it does “accept donations from Canadian individuals and companies, including those working to produce Ethical Oil.” The institute was founded in July 2011 by Alykhan Velshi, who left Jason Kenney’s political staff to create Ethical Oil. He returned within a few months to a senior position in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Greenpeace’s request for an investigation presents evidence indicating that money raised by the Ethical Oil Institute has been spent on advertising and other activities that were developed and implemented by people directly involved in the Conservative Party of Canada. The request provides details on the multiple crossovers between Ethical Oil Institute staff and ministerial staff; examples of mirrored messaging between Ethical Oil spokespeople and Conservative cabinet ministers; and a coordinated attack on government critics.
“Whether it is robocalls, in-and-out election spending, or the Mike Duffy secret payment, the Conservative Party seems to believe that playing by the rules is something other people have to do,” said Stewart. “Election finance laws are a core part of our democracy, which is why we are asking the Commissioner to determine whether the Conservative Party’s relationship with Ethical Oil has crossed the line that bans corporate donations to political parties.”
Greenpeace is bringing its concerns to Elections Canada now in advance of the 2015 federal election campaign.
Greenpeace’s full submission to Elections Canada can be found here.