Slanted Reporting from National Observer

An article in the environmental advocacy publication National Observer purports to “reveal fresh insight into a major lobbying” effort by our company in opposition to a proposed measure that came before the Ontario legislature in 2015. But in reality, the article distorts what took place, hides critical facts from readers, and is badly slanted in its analysis. 

Resolute’s concern was that radical groups would use Bill 52 to shield themselves from potential legal recourse after making defamatory statements, and in particular, statements intended to harm job creators in Ontario. Our concern was that Bill 52 was unnecessary legislation that would have the effect of providing an unwarranted advantage to radical groups.

That’s why we had a direct and natural interest in the legislation, and it was perfectly appropriate for us to share our viewpoint with the Ontario government. There was nothing hidden. We provided the letter to many other public officials as well. That outreach is a routine part of our democracy and a bedrock right that all Canadians share. Citizens and stakeholders of all sorts do exactly the same every day, including environmental groups and news organizations.  

Indeed, it seemed all but apparent that the bill’s sponsor had worked in close coordination with environmental activists as the very measure was being drafted. That was confirmed when the bill’s author explained in front of the Ontario House:  “I am more than excited to speak about [the bill]…It was a lot of work, over a year [and] I worked with a lot of environmental groups.”  He cited three environmental activists specifically with whom he had “worked very closely with in drafting the bill.” He also singled out Greenpeace and two of its executives, Shane Moffat and Richard Brooks, thanking them for their assistance. The National Observer withheld these key facts from the article.

So apparently, environmental groups including Greenpeace had a direct influence on the actual composition of the draft law. Resolute then wrote a letter to voice our position — and somehow National Observer imagines that our company was the pivotal player in the situation.  

Why would National Observer slant the article in this way and leave Greenpeace’s role unexamined? Perhaps it is because Greenpeace and National Observer both receive financing from the same environmental activist donor, Tides Foundation. As public disclosure forms reveal, each have received significant sums from Tides. We pointed this out, on the record and repeatedly to the National Observer reporter — and yet this brazen conflict of interest was also concealed from readers.