Canada
Slick ads add fuel to pipeline debate

An image from ethicaloil.org pitting Canadian interests against foreign lobbyists.

RICHARD ZUSSMAN | QMI AGENCY

VANCOUVER -- The battle lines are drawn in the debate over the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed to link Alberta's oilsands to the West Coast.

Ethicaloil.org launched a campaign Monday with radio spots and newspaper ads appearing across northern British Columbia.

The first radio ad takes aim at foreign special interest groups and the money being funneled into campaigns to attack the oilsands.

The spot starts with nature sounds and a booming voice saying, "foreign special interest groups are interfering in B.C., just like they did when they attacked our forestry jobs. Now they are coming for the Northern Gateway pipeline and the jobs that come with it."

B.C. residents in Prince George, Kitimat and Smithers will be exposed to five variations on the radio over the next six weeks.

Ethicaloil.org spokeswoman Kathryn Marshall said Monday they launched the campaign to ensure British Columbians are clear on the pipeline before the public consultation hearings start in Kitimat on Jan. 10.

"The purpose is to shed light on the realities that a lot of the groups lobbying against pipelines, oilsands and jobs related are funded by foreign donors, foundations and governments," Marshall said in a phone interview from Calgary. "Canadian companies are becoming nothing more than puppets for their foreign paymasters."

The West Coast Environmental Law Foundation is the first target of the campaign. Ethicaloil.org claims the Canadian company has received $195,000 in foreign money to "fight against B.C."

The $5.5-billion Enbridge Pipeline has been debated for nearly a decade.

The federal government has been pushing for approval of the pipeline, arguing the link from Alberta to the West Coast is worth $270 billion to the Canadian economy over its lifetime.

Aboriginal groups have been reluctant to support the project, with 130 First Nations groups vowing to block the development.

Hundreds of people have signed up to speak at the public hearings, with criticism already mounting against foreign groups that want to speak.

"Let's have a debate, but let it be a Canadian debate, a national debate. Let's not let this debate be hijacked by international interests," Marshall added.

Marshall said the newspaper and radio campaign is fully funded by grassroots fundraising, with money only coming from Canada.

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