Koch Brothers Continue Their Canadian Takeover

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On Friday, the Canadian government fell to a vote of non-confidence.  As Canadians prepare to head to the polls for an early May election, the oily architects of the Tea Party, mega-funders of climate change denial and bankrollers of major right wing think tanks including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have made a timely infiltration into Canadian politics. 

Last week, we reported that the oily brothers had set up shop to lobby in Alberta.  But perhaps more disquieting than that is that, according to Environmental Defence, Alberta isn’t the only province being strangled by the Kochtopus.  The Koch brothers have officially registered to lobby in Ontario too.

Koch Companies spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia insisted that, “Koch companies want to add value by providing quality services and products our customers desire and value in a way that is compliant with all laws and regulations”.  Despite their claims, we uncovered some pretty questionable activities by the Koch lobbyists in Alberta. 

These questionable activities were undertaken by lobbyists with Global Public Affairs, the firm hired to lobby on behalf of the Kochs in both Alberta and Ontario. The lobbyist listed on the lobbying record is Andrew Bowles, who served as a Legislative Assistant to MPP Peter Shurman at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and a Regional Organizer with the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Back in January, we reported that Ontario PC Party Leader Tim Hudak was using discredited Koch-funded studies to suggest that the Ontario Green Energy Act should be scrapped.  The 2009 “Spanish study on renewable energy jobs” study was funded by the American Energy Alliance, a “free-market think tank” funded by the Kochtopus and ExxonMobil.

Back then, we were concerned that Hudak was promoting energy policies that were moving Ontario away from a clean energy future, using an industry-funded study to scare voters into believing that proven green job creation efforts are somehow killing jobs.   

But now it looks like there’s even more cause for concern with Koch lobbyists actually setting up shop in Ontario in late February.  Most worrisome is that with a federal election on the horizon, Koch’s lobbying dollars may be hard at work to keep Canada beholden to dirty energy rather than the clean energy future we need to sustain job creation and protect the planet.  The parallels between the U.S. midterm elections and the Canadian elections are stacking up. 

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