Greenpeace calls for probe of EthicalOil.org

Ezra Levant hosts The Source, weeknights on Sun News Network at 8pm ET



OTTAWA — Greenpeace wants Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Cote to investigate whether EthicalOil.org is just a way for the Conservative Party of Canada to skirt political donation limits.

"It walks like a front group, it talks like a front group," Greenpeace campaigner Keith Stewart said Tuesday. "(We're) asking the commissioner: Is this a front group that would violate the elections law act?"

In his letter, Stewart says EthicalOil.org staff members are typically "Conservative Party insiders," like Alykhan Velshi who currently works in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Velshi briefly worked as EthicalOil.org's spokesman in 2011 after leaving his job as a communications staffer for then-immigration minister Jason Kenney.

Stewart says EthicalOil.org and Tory politicians also echo each other "in a fashion that appears co-ordinated."

Since EthicalOil.org can accept donations that political parties can't, Stewart says it's possible there has been "collusion" to exceed political donation limits.

He admits, however, everything "could be within the boundaries of the law."

PMO spokesman Jason MacDonald says no investigation is needed.

"These allegations are ridiculous," MacDonald wrote in a brief e-mail.

EthicalOil.org is a three-year-old organization founded by Sun News host Ezra Levant and named after his book that promotes Canadian oilsands as a more ethical oil source than those belonging to Middle Eastern dictatorships.

Levant says his small organization has never campaigned in an election, nor given money to any political party.

"It's a website and a twitter account, and the odd YouTube video," he said in an e-mail. "We don't even have an office."

Levant noted Greenpeace is huge by comparison, with a worldwide income of roughly $400 million, according to the group's 2012 annual report.

He calls all the attention from Greenpeace "flattering."

"It says we're winning the war of ideas, and despite all of their foreign paymasters, they're not," Levant said.

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