September 13, 2013
(This press release is courtesy of the SaveCanada organizers. See also this article, among many.)
TransCanada Plays Dirty with SaveCanada
TransCanada tries to replace Grassroots with P.R. Assholes
Leaked TransCanada documents about their proposed Keystone XL alternative, the Canada-spanning Energy East Pipeline, show just how dirty TransCanada is willing to get in their desperate attempt to ship dirty tar sands oil to the coast. According to these leaked documents, some of that dirt is to be slung at the Yes Lab.
To push their newest mega pipeline, they hired the mega misinformation PR goons Edelman to mess with the communities and groups along the route. The leaked documents show the strategy of attacking grassroots groups with smear campaigns while at the same time establishing phony grassroots to emulate support. Third-party proxy groups would be used to do the smearing, and to “put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can’t”—while the phony grassroots support would be conducted by the same Edelman PR gang that were caught astroturfing for the fake ‘Working Families for WalMart’ campaign (among other notable PR fails).
Perhaps TransCanada posing as a grassroots movement to establish phony public support was somehow inspired by the YesLab’s SaveCanada action where we impersonated their PR team at their official community consultations.
In towns across Canada, troupes of mischievous activists swarmed TransCanada’s events dressed just like their reps, but with lookalike “SaveCanada” shirts, name tags and brochures. Instead of promoting the pipeline, the SaveCanada reps communicated the risks. They even used TransCanada’s map for an impromptu game of Pin the Spill on the Pipeline.
In one of the leaked documents SaveCanada is listed second on a list of groups targeted by Edelman for conducting “a preliminary audit of opposition groups and their messages.”
Elsewhere, SaveCanada is listed as a national group that apparently “migrated (their) efforts and expertise into the Canadian policy arena.” It seems Edelman’s prowess for misinformation even extends to the briefings they put together for their client TransCanada.
TransCanada has run into difficulty selling this Keystone XL replacement to the public, and out of difficulty comes desperation. The leaked documents vow they will “add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources.” This is part of their “pressure approach.” All this is very classy for a company that has just filed this Energy East Pipeline project for regulatory consideration in Canada so is currently trying to sell themselves to the communities as a “good neighbor.”
Edelman is the largest public relations firm in the World and Energy East would be the largest tar sands pipeline in the World. One leaks dishonesty and the other would leak diluted bitumen.
The main strategy document leaked emphasizes the ruthlessness of these tactics by saying, “we cannot allow opponents to have a free pass.” We would very much agree with that sentiment, but change it slightly, “we cannot let our opponents build the Climate-destroying, community-polluting Energy East Pipeline.”