Prime Minister’s Office Tries to Silence Pipeline Critics; Labels Environmental Group“Enemy of the Government of Canada” and “Enemy of the people of Canada.”
A Whistleblower’s Open Letter to the Citizens of Canada
My name is Andrew Frank. I grew up in a small town in the Okanagan valley of BritishColumbia. My granddad taught me how to fish. My father was a well‐respected lawyerknown for his unwavering integrity, and my mother was a favourite kindergarten teacher.Both have always impressed upon me the importance of telling the truth.Today, I am taking the extraordinary step of risking my career, my reputation and mypersonal friendships, to act as a whistleblower and expose the undemocratic andpotentially illegal pressure the Harper government has apparently applied to silence criticsof the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil tanker/pipeline plan.As I have detailed in a sworn affidavit, no less than three senior managers with TidesCanada and ForestEthics (a charitable project of Tides Canada), have informed me, as theSenior Communications Manager for ForestEthics, that Tides Canada CEO, Ross McMillan,was informed by the Prime Minister’s Office, that ForestEthics is considered an “Enemy of the Government of Canada,” and an “Enemy of the people of Canada.”This language was apparently part of a threat by the Prime Minister’s Office to challengethe charitable status of Tides Canada if it did not agree to stop funding ForestEthics,specifically its work opposing oilsands expansion and construction of oilsandstanker/pipeline routes in Canada.This is especially concerning because ForestEthics is a legally registered intervenor in theNational Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel process, currently examining the Enbridge oiltanker/pipeline proposal. By attempting to silence a registered participant in the review, Ifear the Harper government may have permanently damaged the integrity of this process.After waiting more than two weeks for Tides Canada to go public with this story, it hasbecome clear to me that the organization is too afraid of reprisals from the government toact. Tides is responsible for the employment of hundreds of Canadians and dozens of crucial environmental projects like the Great Bear Rainforest, and has been understandablyparalyzed in challenging the Prime Minister’s Office on this matter. I on the other hand, amspeaking out as a private citizen because I feel that the rights and civil liberties of my fellowCanadian citizens, including freedom of expression and freedom of speech, are at risk.There was a look of fear and disbelief on my fellow staff members’ faces the day they weretold our own government had labelled them enemies of the state. Our administrationcoordinator had tears in her eyes. In the days that followed, our employees couldn’t sleepwell. They lost their appetites, and they began to fear for their own personal safety and civilliberties, and those of their families and loved ones. They began looking over theirshoulder, out of fear and paranoia, because their own government might be watching them.