Like a shill for the oil and gas biz, the PM told us last week that we'll have to get used to sky-high prices. He hasn't come clean on his Big Oil connections - not sharing the entire donor list from his 2002 leadership. But some slippery links to petrol powerbrokers bubble to the surface in contributors to his 2004 leadership campaign. We follow the money and find a few big names at the bottom of the barrel.
Canaccord Capital Corp.
Amount contributed $30,000
The link The oil and gas interests of Canada's largest investment dealer weren't so clear until last November. That's when Canaccord got into the energy sector in a big way, acquiring Vancouver-based oil and gas marketing and investment firm Enermarket Solutions, whose clients include dozens of oil and gas firms with holdings across western Canada. Former Ontario premier Mike Harris , a sometime adviser to Harper, sits on Canaccord's board of directors.
Amount contributed $25,000
The link A leading oil and gas player in North America, EnCana's two oil reserves in the oil sands of northeast Alberta pumped out an average of 54,800 barrels of crude a day last year. The company also boasts half a dozen natural gas holdings in BC and Alberta and one of the largest crude oil reserves in Canada (70 square miles) in southern Saskatchewan. Just last week, Harper appointed Gwyn Morgan , EnCana's recently retired president and CEO, to chair the Public Appointments Commission .
Amount contributed $25,000
The link This Montreal-based holding company is better known for its Liberal ties, but it's also a leading investor in oil and gas projects through Pargesa Holding SA. Pargesa subsidiary Total is a leading multinational energy company with operations in more than 130 countries, including the Athabasca oil sands , where it owns a major stake in at least two projects and has plans "to significantly expand its activities in Canada."
Hill & Knowlton
Amount contributed $1,000
The link A thousand bucks may not seem like much (half of Harper's corporate donors gave $1,000 or less to his leadership bid), but H&K doesn't have to buy its influence. H&K Canada's president and CEO, Michael Coates, was a key Harper strategist in the last federal election. It gets thicker. Geoffrey Morrison, a former issues manager with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers , was made director of H&K's western energy portfolio in February 2005.
Credit Suisse First Boston
Amount contributed $6,000
The link One of the world's largest securities firms, CSFB advises and invests in virtually every industry affected by federal legislation, including oil and gas. The firm served as advisers, along with RBC Capital Markets (more on them later) to EnCana in that company's $1 billion selloff of part of its Syncrude project in the Athabasca oil sands in 2003. CSFB also acted as financial advisers in a mega-deal that saw EnCana created in 2002 via a merger between PanCanadian Energy Corp. and Alberta Energy Company. Gwyn Morgan, Harper's newly minted head of federal appointments (mentioned here under EnCana) spearheaded that merger.
Macleod Dixon LLP
Amount contributed $2,500
The link Energy law is the focus of this Calgary-based law firm, which has made its rep arguing cases for Big Oil and Gas before the National Energy Board and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board. Among its clients: Conoco, Shell and Exxon Mobil for the export of on-shore and offshore gas from the Mackenzie Delta to the Arctic; Mobil, Texaco, Petro-Canada and Nova Scotia Resources for the development and export of gas from the Scotian Shelf.
Amount contributed $5,000
The link RBC's Capital Markets, of which Fell is chair, specializes in oil and gas investment and has been aggressively pushing exploitation of the Alberta oil sands, sponsoring a three-day closed-door conference with more than 100 oil and gas company heads in Calgary last October. Less than two weeks ago, RBC Capital extended a $400 million U.S. loan to Calgary-based OPTI, which is developing the Long Lake oil sands project with Nexen, another major Calgary oil producer. Both Fell and Harper showed up on the guest list at the 2003 meeting of Western world elites known as the Bilderberg Group .
Bellport Resources Ltd.
Amount contributed $3,000
The link Bellport's president and CEO, William Bell, who shows up separately on Harper's contributors list (he gave $2,000) is also a director of Great Plains Exploration Inc., whose operations include oil and gas reserves and properties in BC, Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan .
Other notable contributors to Harper's 2004 leadership campaign:
George Weston Ltd. $8,500
Grant Forest Products $25,000
O&Y Properties $10,000
Onex Corp . $10,000
RioCan Real Estate $5,000
Torys LLP $5,000