Two mining companies connected to the rejected New Prosperity Mine proposal sponsored a Board of Trade luncheon with North Vancouver environmental group watchdog and self-proclaimed transparency advocate Vivian Krause this week.
The event was initially listed as a “blind” event, meaning the companies’ sponsorship was not disclosed, but Krause urged the sponsors, Hunter Dickenson Inc. and Taseko, to come forward after questions were raised by media, including Metro.
“It’s really the pot calling the kettle black,” said Wilderness Committee campaigner Ben West, noting that Krause has repeatedly denied claims of being under industry’s wing, claiming she’s a single mom working independently from home.
“Vivian clearly has an agenda,” West said. “This idea that she’s just an arbiter of fairness holds about as much truth to me as Fox News’ claims of being fair and balanced. She’s clearly a political attack dog for industry.”
Sean Magee, a spokesman for Hunter Dickenson Inc. (HDI), said it wasn’t HDI that asked for its sponsorship role to be kept private. He said HDI sponsored Krause’s talk in the interest of promoting transparency.
“We fully support the legitimate role that watchdog groups play in Canadian society and the Canadian debate about whatever the issue is, but we do believe that there should be the same transparency and accountability for all parties,” he said.
A Taseko spokesman did not respond to Metro’s request for comment.
Krause’s research on the movement of charitable funds from the U.S. to Canada sparked an $8 million Canada Revenue Agency investigation and Senate inquiry into alleged tax code violations by Canadian charities. So far, the Senate Finance Committee has not released the names of any offending charities.
The Fair Questions blogger rose to national attention after digging up American charities’ tax records showing U.S. foundations have donated $300 million to a variety of environmental initiatives in Canada over the last 10 years, about half of which went toward protecting forests.
She did not immediately respond to an interview request Thursday after the event’s sponsors were named.