EU Tar Sands Lobby-Busting Tour: Countering Canada’s Confuse and Bully Campaign

The Council of Canadians
Date de la référence: 
19 March, 2012

The Canadian Government, along with industry allies and the Alberta Government, have launched a coordinated lobby attack on the European Union Fuel Quality Directive. This attack, run as part of a tar sands advocacy strategy, led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, is dangerous and irresponsible in the face of global climate change. To counteract these lobbying efforts, the Council of Canadians, Climate Action Network Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network recently held a series of successful meetings with Ottawa-based European Union Embassies.

In the lead up to a June vote on the Directive, the lobby-busting tour headed to the European Union! A delegation from the three organizations travelled to France, the Netherlands, UK and Germany to share a different Canadian perspective in meetings with elected officials, political staff, media and at public events. In addition to their discussions, the delegation presented a kit of information that included an open letter endorsed by Canadian civil society organizations representing over a million Canadians, information responding to Canadian lobbying myths and about Canada’s lobbying efforts, the tar sands, Indigenous rights and the proposed Canada-European trade agreement (CETA). All four countries abstained from a recent vote on the EU FQD and are considered critical for the progress of this policy, despite Canada’s tarred lobbying efforts.

2012 EU Tar Sands Lobby-Busting tour Schedule:


March 19: Paris, France
o Meeting with individual responsible for the Environment, Economy and Sustainable Development with François Hollande’s campaign (Parti Socialiste).
o Meeting with Foreign Affairs Ministry
o Meeting with Diplomatic Counseller to the President of the Senate and Senators
o Media meeting

March 20-21: The Hague, Netherlands
o Meetings with Progressive Liberals and Socialist Party MEPs
o Meeting with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

March 22: London, UK
o Meeting with Shadow Secretary of Transportation
o Media meetings
o Meeting with the Policy Unit of the Liberal Democrats

March 23-26: Berlin, Germany
o Meeting with the Canadian Ambassador to Germany
o Breakfast briefing with MPs
o Meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
o Meeting with several Green MPs
o Meeting with Christian Democrats MP
o Press conference
o Delivery of the delegation’s information kit

Kit of information delivered at each meeting included:

* Canadian Lobbying Against the EU FQD: Getting the Facts Straight
* Open letter to EU Ambassadors and decision makers
* Question & Answer on the EU FQD, by Transport & Environment
* Letter of support from Megan Leslie, Environment Critic, NDP
* Letter of support from the Leader of the Green Party
* Canada’s Dirty Lobbying Diary by Friends of the Earth
* Indigenous Rights and the Tar Sands, by the Indigenous Environmental Network
* CETA and Tar Sands, Scott Sinclair, Canadian Policy Alternatives


* Canadian Civil Society Delegation ends Tar Sands Lobbying-Busting Tour with High Hopes, March 26, 2012
* Oilsands critics in Europe to counter fuel directive lobby, CBC, March 22, 2012
* Canadian oilsands opponents take fight to European capitals, iPolitics, March 22, 2012
* Ben Powless, un Indien Mohawk en guerre contre les sables bitumineux, Le Monde, March 20, 2012
* MEDIA RELEASE: Canadian Lobby Busting Tour in Europe Challenges Government Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy, March 19, 2012
* MEDIA ADVISORY: European Lobby Busting Tour Debunks Government and Industry Oil Sands Advocacy Spin, March 15, 2012

VIDEO: Interview of Stuart Trew, Bill Erasmus and Hannah McKinnon in London, March 22, 2012.

EU Lobby Busting Tour delegation in London with the UK Tar Sands Network

EU Lobby Busting Tour delegate Chief Bill Erasmus delivering petition outside Ministry of Economics in Berlin, Germany

EU Lobby-Busting tour Delegation:


Stuart Trew has been with the Council of Canadians for six years as a researcher, organizer and now trade campaigner. He has a background in journalism and political economy from Carleton University (Ottawa) and worked for four years as an editor for a weekly news and cultural magazine in Ottawa. He is a regular commentator in the news on the Canada-European Union free trade negotiations with a particular focus on the impact of trade and investment liberalization on environmental, public health and other social policies.

Hannah McKinnon joined Climate Action Network Canada in August of 2009, following 3 years of climate change adaptation work in El Salvador. Hannah has a M.Sc. in Science and Society from the London School of Economics, a B.Sc. Hon. in Biochemistry from Mount Allison University and a degree from Lester B. Pearson United World College. She has been engaged in climate change activism for over 8 years in Canada, the UK and Latin America.

Bill Erasmus is the National Dene Chief and the Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief of the Northwest Territories. He is from the Dene Nation. Regional Chief Erasmus has been elected as a member of the AFN Executive Committee since 1987. Born in Yellowknife, in 1954, he received his post-secondary education at University of Alberta. Bill has continued to be involved with the University of Alberta and currently sits as a member of the senate. Bill represented the Dene Nation as the Dene National Chief from 1987 to 2003. In 1993, he was appointed Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) where he remains. Mr. Erasmus is a board member of various committees for the AFN, as well as, other similar organizations. Throughout his career he has strongly promoted the implementation of Treaty, Aboriginal Rights, and Self–Governance. In 1993, Mr. Erasmus received a commemorative medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada from the Governor General, in recognition of his significant contributions to compatriots, communities and to Canada. In May of 2003, Bill received the Queens Jubilee Award.


* Government and Industry tar sands spin clean up happening in Europe, Andrea Harden-Donahue
* Putting Canada’s “dirty diplomacy” on the agenda in France, Stuart Trew, writing from the lobby-busting tour.