As a resource-wealthy northern neighbour of the United States, one would expect there to be a great deal of interest from the US in Canada’s internal affairs, particularly its intelligence agencies, a fact confirmed by a search of recently released Stratfor emails by Wikileaks.
What value is a trove of random emails? Stratfor has been referred to as the ‘Shadow CIA’ and isn’t a random company, but one likely to have considerable influence in the machinations of the US government.
The US government has a penchant for contracting out all sorts of work, presumably to maintain plausible deniability, so anything this company is up to or whatever their thoughts are on issues is interesting, important and may just reflect what the US government is thinking on issues. Stratfor almost certainly influences it.
Curious to see what connections these emails might have to Alberta, I searched for Edmonton, Calgary and Alberta which made for rather interesting reading. Each linked item is PDFed as a backup, so if a link is not working, let me know and I will upload the PDF.
Interesting portions of the emails have been quoted with the rest of the reading of the emails left to you. Interested in searching Wikileaks for yourself?
Albertans interested in working with Stratfor
- Analysis of politics and current events was expected, but what was unexpected in these emails were the personal details of Albertans interested in working with Stratfor in various capacities, including an Edmonton city councillor and a University of Alberta PhD student.
- There is an email from an Edmonton Journal employee sharing information with Stratfor.
- One Calgarian was interested in livening up his retirement by doing some Stratfor work.
Banking & oilsands
- Apparently the Royal Bank doesn’t lend to oilsands operations, or does it? (RAN is the Rainforest Action Network.)
Bart Mongoven wrote: “The verbal slight of hand is that RAN alleges RBC lends to companies that are despoiling the Boreal with oil sands operations. RBC says, “we don’t lend to oil sands operations.” Both are telling the truth. RAN’s veiled demand is that RBC not lend at all to companies that have oil sands operations. Asking an investment bank to take ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and Total off its list of potential clients is as stupid as, well, us doing that.”
- In relation to a story about Europe, Canada and the oilsands being considered dirty energy, one Stratfor employee referred to Europe as “goddam euro hippies.” Based on this story: Canada warns EU to not rank oil sands as dirty energy
- An exchange about climate change and the oilsands, from December 2009.
Bart Mongoven wrote: “I don’t know why they did that report on Alberta screwing the other provinces on a climate bill. Maybe it’s just that the entire country is going to have to do a 20 percent reduction from a very high level because of the oil sands, but again with cap and trade, the oil sands will pick up their share by purchasing the emissions from good actors in the hippie provinces.”
TransCanada & Keystone XL pipeline
Sharing a story on the Keystone XL pipeline and whether the oilsands should be involved in the debate.
email@example.com commented on a Canadian Press story: “Wow. So TransCanada appears to be confident that the oil sands issue (as opposed to the pipeline) is a loser for the activists. Which TransCanada might believe because the activists are preying on spill/disaster fears to build opposition along the pipeline route. Activists are using both arguments, to be sure, but it’s hard to blame TransCanada for trying to discredit the spill-focused opposition by saying this isn’t the issue at all (and the issue is moot, by the way).”
October 2008 federal election analysis & commentary
- Analysis of Stephen Harper’s October 14, 2008 minority election victory.
Part of Maverick Fisher’s analysis: “But in the process of campaigning, the Harper government introduced a threat to Canada’s confederal system of government. In an effort to win a majority, Harper campaigned heavily in Quebec, a province whose internal politics are historically dominated by concerns for the survival of the province’s Francophone identity. Harper, an Anglophone Canadian born in Toronto who spent his adulthood in the western province of Alberta (a province as decentralist and anti-Francophone as one gets in Canada), aimed to gain the Quebecois vote by appealing to the province’s character as a “nation” (as he did in a speech in Quebec City on July 3).”
- Another exchange on October 14, 2008 election:
Peter Zeihan wrote: “the quebec thing feels like a real poison pill that will come back to haunt — ironic that harper is the guy who buried quebecois ambitions in the last election only to bring them back in this one”
- One commenter on Canada’s “leftist coalition” waschmitz prompted an internal discussion with these comments: “At any rate, in many other nations, a leftist coup would likely result in the taking up of arms and bloodshed. In Canada, however, being the polite wallflower of a nation that we are, will turn our nations fate to a Liberal/liberal appointed representive of the British monarchy, who will decide whether to allow this shameful power grab to proceed or not.”
waschmitz continued: “Would our kind neighbors to the south consider adopting our Province? We’re sort of like Texans but less boisterous. I will start brushing up on the Pledge of Allegiance, just in case!”
Marko Papic responded internally: “Albertans don’t like BC-ers… That is like if Texas and California (only the hippie part) were right next to each other. No “Cascadian” unity there. That said Alberta would join the US in a heartbeat.”
May 2011 federal election analysis & commentary
Analysis of the Stephen Harper’s Conservative majority win on May 2, 2011. A BBC story on the win is referenced, but there is a really interesting, extended email discussion of the election victory. It’s probably one of the most interesting exchanges I found.
Marko Papic wrote: “BUT, it’s Canada… not like anything is ever time sensitive there… other than getting a slurpee and a doughnut, eh? (did you know that Canada consumes more slurpees and doughnuts per capita than any other country in the world?)”
Peter Zeihan wrote: “btw – interesting details on the new parl – its pretty much a rich poor split. interior BC v coastal, alberta v Manitoba, toronto v northern Ontario, downtown montreal v rural quebec”
Marko Papic responded: “That is interesting… so econ all the way. Interesting that all the poor people voted for Harper… right?”
Mark Schroeder responded: “Actually you could say it was rich that voted Harper.”
Later in the email, Sean Noonan wrote: “CSIS has foreign capabilities, they just busy themselves with chinamen.”
Chinese influence in Canada
Comment on a Reuters story about PetroChina buying Canadian natural gas assets.
Zeihan commented: “this is a great example of what happens when you print currency en masse. this is an undeveloped project — so there are billions (maybe tens of billions) of investment that still needs to be paid, along with billions in infrastructure to link it to a market. China paid ~$5.40 per 1000 cubic feet for the reserves — figure only about 1/2 of that is recoverable, so that’s really closer to $11 in the Anglo-American market natural gas is currently trading at about $4.50. so if this project were already up and running, the chinese overpaid by half — looks like they may have overpaid by a factor of four (there are some very happy canadians this morning)”
Muslims in Canada
Comment and sharing of a story by Tarek Fatah about Tariq Ramadan
Kamran Bokhari responded in an exchange: “Tarek Fatah is like a self-hating Muslim. I know him. He lives here in Toronto. In essence he is a Muslim Daniel Pipes. I know Ramadan as well. Muslims who are of a conservative bent see him as a secularist. But his ideas form the essence of European/western Islam.”
Politics this week: 22nd – 28th January 2011 – News item via The Economist: “In Canada Ed Stelmach, the Conservative premier of Alberta, announced he would resign despite enjoying a huge majority in the legislature. He was insufficiently right-wing for many in Canada’s most conservative province.”
Entitled “don’t share this”: a report by UBS on Fukushima and nuclear power. Page 99 deals with Canada specifically.
The Geopolitics of the United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire – Outside the Box Special Edition. It’s a long document, but makes for interesting reading, especially the sections dealing with Canada.
War on Drugs
Reports on an international narcotics control strategy from 2006.