An e-mail circulated among individuals close to a Canadian-government sanctioned public relations team, whose charge is to promote Canada's image and natural resources in Europe, labeled aboriginal groups and environmentalist as adversaries to the country's energy interests.
The statement also lumped in nongovernmental organizations and competing fuels like biodiesel as foes, while oil industry associations, the province of Alberta, the National Energy Board -- supposed to be an independent federal agency in Canada -- are considered allies of the country's oil industry.
The document was uncovered in Canada thanks to information requests, and is titled pan-European Oilsands Advocacy Strategy. Acquired by the International Business Times from a Canadian advocacy group that published the document, the e-mail was circulated in April 2011 and appears to be a draft e-mailed out of London by one Kumar Gupta. It was revealed only in a heavily redacted form.
The goal of the European strategy, according to the document, is to reframe the European debate on oil sands in manner that protects and advances Canadian interests related to oil sands and broader interests in Europe with the overall hope of improving prosperity for Canadians and improv[ing] stewardship of the global energy supply and the environment.
The document's strategy also outlined certain goals for government officials to lobby key influencers on energy policy and environmental issues.
Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent, reported Postmedia News, denied that the labeling reflects his government's approach to the nation's oil resources and its indigenous population.
I think that's a gross mischaracterization of reality, Kent told Postmedia. I think that any of our messaging, whether in Canada, elsewhere on the continent, in Europe or in Asia, is based on facts and science. We do recognize there are some groups characterized by my colleague as 'radical' and they are very narrowly focused on certain areas they perceive to be unacceptable in a variety of ways. We intend to fully push back and to counter that but again respectfully and with facts and with science.
The international trade minister's office also rejected the document.
The e-mail surfaced just days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Tuesday with aboriginal officials during the Crown-First Nations Gathering, held to promote communication between the federal government and native peoples.