Fair question includes who funds Vivian Krause?

So who is paying Vivian Krause's bills? It is a fair question.

Krause is the blogger whose picture turned up on the front page of the Globe and Mail Monday along with the story of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. They were attacking opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.

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Krause on her blog-which you can find by Googling "fair questions"-has taken on the rock stars of the environmental movement including David Suzuki and Alexandra Morton. She accuses them both of either outright falsehoods or misleading information in their campaign against farmed salmon.

But Krause's primary focus of late has been on the piles of money coming mostly from U.S. Foundations-$300 million in a 10-year period-to Canadian environmental organizations, which fight, among other things, tar sand projects.

It is her research that is credited with fuelling the xenophobic attacks by both Harper and Oliver against those "radical" environmentalists, who use "foreign money" to "undermine Canada's national economic interest."

In this battle, the former federal Conservative staffer and fish farm worker finds herself aligned with the pro-industry group Ethical Oil.org founded by Alykhan Velshi, who is now director of planning in Harper's office.

The Tory assault coincides with federal regulatory hearings, which began this week in Kitimat, looking into the environmental impact this pipeline would have as it was constructed and carried crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the port at Kitimat and then by tanker to Asia.

Of course, not all Canadians would agree on the impact of exploiting the tar sands and that would explain why there are more than 4,000 interveners who want to say their piece at that Kitimat hearing.

While $300 million is a lot of dough, as Canadian environmentalists point out, it is a pittance when compared to the $20 billion foreign corporations have poured into tar sand development in the past three years. That, by the way, is not a fact I was able to find on Krause's blog.

Krause's work first came to my attention because of her criticism of Vision Vancouver and connections between Mayor Gregor Robertson and some of the same organizations she says are acting as conduits for foreign money supporting environmental groups on the Enbridge pipeline issue.

In particular, she targeted Tides Canada Foundation and the organization she says is its largest donor, Endswell Foundation. Krause's work in that area has been promoted on a blog site run by two former staffers who worked for former NPA mayor Sam Sullivan. One, Mike Klassen, ran for and lost in his bid to get elected to city council.

A principal player in all of this is Vancouverite Joel Solomon, an American immigrant who has supported Vision from its inception and also uses resources available to him to support green entrepreneurs, including setting up Robertson and his partner in the organic juice business.

Krause has tied Vision Vancouver to both Tides Canada and Endswell. Many of the "fair questions" she put to the players in this matter went unanswered. In the end she failed to come up with a smoking gun that indicated any wrong doing on the part of Solomon, Robertson or Vision.

While political parties are required by law to make public who funds them, bloggers such as Krause face no such scrutiny. But here is what she emailed me when I asked. "My work isn't funded," she said. "I have not been funded by any industry, any company, and political party, any entity of any kind."

But this single mom from North Vancouver doesn't live on air alone: "I got a loan from my father (a retired minister) and was able to afford to work unpaid because of child support from my daughter's father. Ultimately, I sold my home and have been living on my savings."

agarr@vancourier.com

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