04 march 2012, 08h14

Ottawa cancels donation to pro-environment charity

Picture Douglas Channel, the proposed shipping route for oil tanker ships in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, is pictured in an aerial view just south of Kitimat, B.C.

Canada's Conservative Party government has cancelled an agreement with a charity that supports environmental groups after pipeline firm Enbridge Inc. pressured Ottawa to scrap the deal. Newly disclosed documents show Fisheries and Oceans Canada reversed itself last September and announced it would not take an $8.3-million grant channelled through Tides Canada. It was to help pay for a federal ocean-protection plan for north-coast B.C. The area includes waters around a marine terminal for Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline. Documents show the reversal came after Enbridge told a senior bureaucrat in the department the deal with Tides Canada had to be stopped because planning would be "hijacked" by the "anti oil sands" charity. An Enbridge spokesman, however, said the firm played no part in the decision by Fisheries and Oceans to decline the funds. The internal documents were obtained under the Access to Information Act. The documents also suggest the deal's cancellation went against the advice of public servants at the Fisheries Department. A Fisheries Department spokesperson says the agreement was cancelled only to streamline the ocean plan.

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