This comes as no surprise, after all, Scheer is widely acknowledged to be a creature of the house that Stephen Harper built — a party designed to serve the energy sector’s interests at every turn.
In a conference room at the verdant retreat on April 11, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer and his campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, were huddling with a group of oil company CEOs along with Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
Big Oil’s most powerful lobby group. All of the CEOs present, in fact, are members of CAPP’s board of governors. One purpose of this meeting? To strategize on how to defeat Justin Trudeau’s government in the federal election this month.
The agenda also included discussions about how to silence environmental critics of pipeline projects and the tar sands, including suing them in court.
Scheer provided the keynote address, while Marshall spoke about “rallying the base” by using friendly interest groups.
To some, this meeting at the Azuridge “gave evidence that things haven’t really changed a whole lot,” says Nathan Lemphers, an Ottawa-based campaigner with Oil Change International, an advocacy organization that fights the fossil fuel sector.
“(The Conservatives) are still very cozy with oil industry interests and oil money. We’ve seen what that’s done to Alberta politics and it was no different with federal politics under the Harper government.”
CAPP disputes that the event itself was related to the election. But the fact that Andrew Scheer and his inner circle were scheming with oil industry executives to oust Trudeau comes as no surprise.
Indeed, among the Tories’ key election planks is repealing the Liberals’ consumer carbon tax, rustling up as many pipelines to the oil sands as possible, removing the ban on oil tankers off the coast of B.C., repealing Bill C-69 (which limits how energy projects are approved) and getting rid of the Liberals’ new fuel standard.
Meanwhile, the federal lobbyist registry shows that since he became Tory leader in the summer of 2017, a battalion of oil industry lobbyists has trooped through Scheer’s Ottawa office, including from energy companies such as Imperial Oil, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Suncor, Irving Oil, BHP Billiton Canada, Husky Oil, TC Energy Corp, Enbridge, ConocoPhilips, Syncrude, Cenovus Energy, and lobby groups like CAPP, the Pipe Line Contractors Association and Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.