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The Hook: Political news, freshly caught attacks 'foreigners and their puppets' questioning Northern Gateway pipeline

An organization called has attacked "foreigners and their puppets" who oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline, and may have found a sympathetic ear in Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The website, based in Toronto, features a number of articles criticizing the presence of "foreigners" and "rich Americans" at the impending hearings into the pipeline.

For example, one article urged Canadians to ask Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver "to ban foreigners and their local puppets from appearing before the federal government’s Northern Gateway Pipeline joint review panel hearings." It quoted's spokesperson Kathryn Marshall (who also wrote the article):

"Foreigners and foreign groups are registered to appear before the pipeline review panel, and we think Minister Oliver should exclude them. Whether or not Canada decides to build this pipeline is a Canadian decision, based on Canadian interests. We shouldn’t let outsiders dictate what is best for our country. ...

"Canadians must take a stand against foreigners and their lobbying groups interfering in our decision. Canadians have a lot at stake with this pipeline, and whichever way the decision goes, it should be made only by Canadians and in the best interest of Canada. Please visit and send Minister Oliver the message that foreigners and their front-groups should not be part of our decision making-process."

Another article, also by Kathryn Marshall, ran under the headline "B.C. supports Northern Gateway. Foreigners and their puppets don't."

Ipsos Reid has asked British Columbians about whether they support the project and, as the polling firm reports, "Project support is well ahead of opposition" and "Project support leads opposition in all regions, among both genders and among all age groups."

Unfortunately, the poll also found that "a majority of British Columbians are not familiar with the project." It’s not surprising: most BCers have jobs and families to keep them busy and unlike the activist foreign billionaires and their puppet groups arranging to intervene in the Gateway hearings to oppose the plan, average British Columbians don't have time to fill their days researching pipeline proposals.

That's the trouble with the joint-review panel hearing process, which has agreed to hear opinions on the pipeline from anyone and everyone, anywhere — whether from Italy, Uruguay, San Francisco or Venezuela (no joke: groups and individuals from all those places really are scheduled to appear).

It invites participation from meddlesome, hostile individuals all over the world — people heavily invested in ensuring Canadians don’t build this pipeline, all while the silent majority goes about their daily routine, unaware that foreigners are influencing decisions about our affairs that will affect our lives.

The site explains its inspiration: began as a blog created by Alykhan Velshi to promote the ideas in Ezra Levant’s bestselling book Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands.

The blog, in addition to rebutting inaccurate and unfair criticisms of the oilsands, also sought to engage its readers: inviting them to write letters to their local newspapers, call talk radio stations and suggest ideas for Access to Information requests to expose the network of anti-oilsands lobbyists who meet regularly with senior Environment Canada officials.

Within a month, based on the generosity of its readers, has become an online community that empowers people to become grassroots community activists on the front-lines of the campaign for ethical oil. also tweeted a link to a report by The Canadian Press, quoting Prime Minister Harper:

"We have to have processes in Canada that come to a decision in a reasonable amount of time and processes that cannot be hijacked," Harper said Friday while in Edmonton to make an unrelated announcement.

"In particular, growing concern has been expressed to me about the use of foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase of regulatory hearings just for the purpose of slowing down the process.

"This is something that is not good for the Canadian economy, and the government of Canada will be taking a close look at how we can ensure that our regulatory processes are effective and deliver decisions in a reasonable amount of time."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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