Canadian Corporation Behind Efforts to Shut Down Occupy Wall Street Has Ties to Big Oil

Fri, 2011-10-14 08:49Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Canadian Corporation Behind Efforts to Shut Down Occupy Wall Street Has Ties to Big Oil

Occupy Wall Street is about challenging the power of the richest 1%. But what happens when that 1% owns the land of the occupation? It has been revealed that a Canadian company was behind efforts to shut down the birthplace of the movement, Zuccotti Park. 

Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”— the site of the occupation—starting this morning at 7am. “Cleaning” has been repeatedly as a pretense to shut down peaceful occupations. It was used to evict protesters from the Wisconsin state house. It was used by Bloomberg himself to shut down a peaceable demonstration against budget cuts. The “cleaning” was essentially a ploy to evict protesters, but in a remarkable turn of events, the company backed down from threats to evict the park.

The attempted eviction comes hours before a global day of solidarity actions. The movement is taking the world by storm with a message that resonates powerfully with the millions of regular people: growing economic inequality is corrupting our democracies and making most people’s lives worse. 

So, who is behind the eviction threats? Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian company, owns Zuccotti Park and the adjacent office building, One Liberty Plaza. The company has an agreement with the city that the park will be open to public use. 

Brookfield, formerly Brascan Limited, is one of the largest companies in Canada, a global asset manager with a wide range of interests. The company has over $120 billion in assets. Brookfield is headquartered in Toronto and New York City; the parent company is publicly traded on the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1899 as the São Paulo Railway, Light and Power Company.   

So why would a Canadian company want to shut down a movement that is asking powerful questions about how the richest 1% has managed to soak up almost all the new wealth created in the last thirty years? 

Well, Brookfield is at the top of the 1%. They are connected to the biggest players on Wall Street - the people who feel most threatened by Occupy Wall Street. Brookfield’s buildings are literally filled with the offices of the 1%. According to a Canadian Business article, at its peak, the represented a third of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s value and owned parts of more than 200 companies, including Labatt Ltd., MacMillan Bloedel, Royal LePage and Royal Trust, all connected through a web of holding companies. 

One of the central focuses of the company is power generation, and the giant owns 165 power plants. They certainly have an interest in maintaining the status quo, a world without climate action where oil interests dominate. 

The board of Brookfield Asset Management paints a picture of how the the very top of the 1% are networked together with strong connections to Big Oil. The total assets of all board members is close to $10 billion dollars. 

Let's look at some of the oily connections from Brookfield Asset Management’s Board of Directors: 

The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Frank J McKenna is the former premier of New Brunswick. He has been Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. since 2010. Hon. McKenna’s corporate history has included board positions with Major Drilling Group International Inc., and Acier Leroux, Inc. (formerly Leroux Steel Inc.). He has been a Director of Canadian Natural Resources Limited since 2006 and Director of CD Howe Institute and serves on the board of Xstrata Canada Corporation (formerly Falconbridge Limited, Noranda Inc.), and FNX Mining Company Inc. He is now Deputy Chair of TD Bank Financial. 

David Kerr is Managing Partner, Edper Financial Group, an investment holding company. He was the former director of Noranda (now Xstrata Canada Corporation), a natural resources company with operations in 18 countries, involved in the exploration, mining, processing, and marketing of metal and mineral products. 

Jack L. Cockwell is the former CEO of Brookfield Asset Management CEO, and represents Brookfield as a director on the Board of Brookfield Properties Corporation and other subsidiaries. He is a director for Teck Resources, a major player in Alberta’s tar sands that has been repeatedly criticized and sued for violating environmental laws and standards. The company’s Red Dog mine operation in north-western Alaska was ranked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the most polluting facilities in the United States.

Dr. Jack Mintz is the Director of Palmer Chair in Public Policy at University of Calgary. He is a director of Imperial Oil Limited and Morneau Shepell Inc. He is also the past President and CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute, a think tank funded mainly by large corporations that generally advocates market-oriented economic policies such as tax cuts. He has been published with the Fraser Institute

Marcel J. Coutu is the President of Canadian Oil Sands, Chairman of the board of Syncrude and is a Governor with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Coutu was formerly the Senior Vice President International and Vice President Finance for TransCanada Pipelines, the company hoping to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  

James K. Gray is involved in Canadian oil and natural gas and founded one of Canada’s largest natural gas producers, Canadian Hunter Exploration. Mr. Gray is a member of the Board of Directors of Atlanta Gold Inc., Phoenix Technology Income Fund and Resin Systems Inc (RS). He is Chairman of Temple Energy Inc., a private Calgary oil and gas exploration company. He formerly served as director with Nova Scotia Power, Cequence Energy, PHX Energy Services Corp., and Emera Corp. Mr. Gray most recently became a member of the Alberta Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy. He is an honourary chair of the Canada West Foundation.

Maureen Kempston Darkes is connected the retired Group Vice President and President Latin America, Africa and Middle East for General Motors Corporation. She is a board member with Canadian National Railway Company. She was appointed to the board of Enbridge in November 2010, and sits on the board of Irving Oil.

Patricia M. Newson has been a Director of Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. since March 31, 2011.  She served as a Director of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. since April 2008 until 2010. She is worth mentioning because she has been the President of AltaGas Utility Group Inc., a subsidiary of AltaGas Ltd. since 2005. Newson's energy industry experience includes experience with Gulf Canada, GW Utilities and Olympia and York Enterprises. She has worked for BC Gas Ltd. and currently serves as Director of Heritage Gas Limited, Galleon Energy Inc. and the Canadian Gas Association. 

Previous Comments

The rightwing shills are running scared. eh?

 @RalphNader

 James Hansen is in it for the gold?  That’s about the most idiotic statement I’ve ever read.  Where do you get such ridiculous misinformation?  There is not a speck of truth in it.

Al Gore was born rich.  Yes, he has a big house. Yes, he flies around the world in a big airplane trying to educate people on global warming.   His house has been made green.  The CO2 emissions from one jet doesn’t bother me in the least, as long as he can educate people about the most important issue humans have ever faced.  It doesn’t bother me, if he can dispel the willful ignorance that informs people like you.
He donates all the money from carbon trading to non profits. 

When the subject of global warming comes up, if a skeptic mentions Al Gore, you can be assured that they have no clue about climate science and can only attack the messenger.  Just so you know, Al Gore has nothing to do with it.  Its about the science.   And he gets that right other than a few minor mistakes and flaws in his movie and book.   Do you imagine Al Gore going into a huddle with climate scientists on a regular basis to further some hidden agenda. If so you are hopelessly lost. 
Scientists don’t do much promoting of their work, other than to other scientists through peer reviewed publications.   A few scientists have begun speaking out to defend the science against dishonest attacks from vested interests.  They are rare.
Referring to the community of climate scientists as alarmist is just not supported reality.

Characterizing the people who participate in the Occupy Wall St events all over the country as ‘extreme left’ is bogus. 
 What is extreme is the GOP tea baggers and Libertarians with their rigid ideological belief systems, where every thing is black and white, us verses them, my religion against your religion, xenophia, and general distrust of anyone not quite like you.

 Nixon, Eisenhower and even Reagan would be too liberal for today’s GOP
Barry Goldwater lost his 1960s bid for president because he was too far to the right even for most Republicans.  He would barely make the cut as a conservative now.

 To imagine an equivalent situation on the left that compares with this, you would have to imagine hundreds of 1960s activists leaders like  Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, controlling congress and running for president. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/22/nasa-scientist-accused-using-celeb-status-among-environmental-groups-to-enrich/#ixzz1Q0GT7uxh

The above link is from fox news so we can all be assured that it is fair an balanced rather than the typicla left wing media. essentially the article points out how James Hansen has made more than a few bucks off of the Climate Gig. We will see how this lawsuit pans out but this certainly is more than a Speck of truth.

Also please do not use the term “Tea Baggers” it is very politically incorrect and insulting to the intelligent people that comprise the Tea party movement. From Climate scientists to oil riggers, to the academics who make up its ranks they all deserve our respect for attempting to take back america’s democracy from Big Solar.

 

“The above link is from fox news so we can all be assured that it is fair an balanced”

And

“Also please do not use the term “Tea Baggers” it is very politically incorrect”

And

“take back america’s democracy from Big Solar.”

I take it that is your attempt at tongue in cheek & a little bit of trolling?

Lol, Rick doesn’t even think Fox is fair & balanced. Maybe you should check with an impartial independent source like Media matters or maybe Greenpeace, as they will remain objective.

I like this game :)



 

“Big Solar” ??

LOL

All this argument about where Al Gore made his money isn’t really the point.

I think we can all agree that he stood to profit greatly from his investments in the failed Carbon Trading business, no?

“stood to profit”

And

“Al’s wealth jumped exponentially since he became the go to climate guy. It’s a fact….Al seems to have multiplied his wealth about 100 times since losing the election and becoming Mr. Climate.”

Are 2 different things.

“I think we can all agree that he stood to profit greatly from his investments in the failed Carbon Trading business, no?”

At least he cannot be accused of not putting his money where his mouth is.

“All this argument about where Al Gore made his money isn’t really the point.”

The point is “

Canadian Corporation Behind Efforts to Shut Down Occupy Wall Street Has Ties to Big Oil”

Since the OP, there has been a concerted effort to derail this thread & direct it off topic.


 

As part of the spirit of crony extractive capitalism, Brookfield also just received a $169 million loan guarantee from the Dept. of Energy for a massive wind power plant in the great north woods of New Hampshire.

Needing a government loan guarantee means that the banks consider it to be a bad risk.

You might think the prospect of extracting energy from the wind would be a sure bet. Nope.
Maintenance costs make it out of reach for banks and sensible investors.

“Needing a government loan guarantee means that the banks consider it to be a bad risk.”

Yeah, you would think that fossil fuel companies that turn a profit every year & have been in business for decades would no longer need tax payer funded public handouts either. You would think they could stand on their own by now wouldn’t you?


 

“As part of the spirit of crony extractive capitalism, Brookfield also just received a $169 million loan guarantee from the Dept. of Energy for a massive wind power plant in the great north woods of New Hampshire.”

So what. The fossil fuel industry receives $70B a year in subsidies & the clean up costs or AGW mitigation is not factored in.

How does this $169 M compare exactly?

 

Solar and wind are simply false solutions. They are so expensive that without huge subsidies they are not even palatable to the richest 1%.

http://greenecon.net/understanding-the-cost-of-solar-energy/energy_economics.html

Here is a good look at the economics, solar and wind are money pits.

God bless the Koch brothers and exxon for helping out the little guy.

 

“Solar and wind are simply false solutions. They are so expensive that without huge subsidies they are not even palatable to the richest 1%.”

You could say that about any new consumer item on the market. Economies of scale, competition & demand soon takes care of the rest.

The first car, t.v, radio, dvd player, blue ray, computer, fridge etc etc were all beyond the reach of the average person. Demand, economies of scale & competition soon reduced the price & their price began to be accessible for the average instead of the few.

Solar & wind will only get cheaper, as demand creates more competition & large scale manufacturing drops the price further & further. Fossil fuels on the other hand, will only get more & more expensive.

Take away fossil fuels subsidies &  any tax payer assistance , then let them compete on the free market. You guys are ok with the free market aren’t you?

“God bless the Koch brothers and exxon for helping out the little guy.”

With ever increasing prices……yeah..great guys.

 

It’s probably a significant figure compared to Brookfield’s share of those subsidies.

Furthermore, according to the DOE’s Energy Information Administration, wind energy received $5 billion in federal subsidies in 2010 and fossil fuels just over $4 billion. Nuclear energy got $2.5 billion and conservation over $6.5 billion. Where did you get the $70B figure?

“Furthermore, according to the DOE’s Energy Information Administration, wind energy received $5 billion in federal subsidies in 2010 and fossil fuels just over $4 billion. Nuclear energy got $2.5 billion and conservation over $6.5 billion. Where did you get the $70B figure?”

I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.

http://www.desmogblog.com/global-financial-leaders-recommend-cutting-fossil-fuel-subsidies

http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

http://www.elistore.org/Data/products/d19_07.pdf

Plus, the costs of AGW mitigation are not factored in. So any tax payer funded aid, research, environmental damage or donations to the 3rd world are not factored in.



 

As your sources note, it all depends on what and how you count (and how many and which years you add together). Then the same would need to be done for wind, which depends on the very destructive extraction of rare earth metals, mining for steel, oil for the composite blades (which can’t be recycled) and gear lubrication, international shipping, etc.

The EIA report is at http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

As your source notes.

“Not All Subsidies Impacting the Energy Sector Are Included in this Report”

Also, to be fair & to compare apples with apples, you would need to compare total subsidies received to date. For fossil fuels this has been many decades. For renewables, barely one decade.

Lets even up the balance eh? Lets cancel all fossil fuel subsidies & direct them to renewables for the next few decades & we will see where we are in say 30 years in terms of cost, energy production, environmental impact, jobs & energy prices.

The cost of fossil fuels are only going to go up.

 

Yes, Brookfield needs more of our money.

“Yes, Brookfield needs more of our money.”

Why is that?

‘Twas you calling for giving it them. I don’t think they do need any more of our money. (Recall that Brookfield is in the renewable biz, too, opening up once-protected forests to the industrial development they love. Subsidies for big wind are almost invariably enriching similarly already enriched big energy companies. And helping them along in the continued destruction of our planet.)

Twas you calling for giving it them. I don’t think they do need any more of our money. (Recall that Brookfield is in the renewable biz, too, opening up once-protected forests to the industrial development they love. Subsidies for big wind are almost invariably enriching similarly already enriched big energy companies. And helping them along in the continued destruction of our planet.)”

The idea is that companies should be encouraged to gear towards a more greener cleaner economy & should be rewarded for doing so. If there was a carbon tax or an ETS in place Brookfields green ventures will pay off & their fossil fuel ventures will cost them.

In the absence of any carbon tax, ETS or cap & dividend plan, subsidies & regulations are the next best thing.

“I don’t think they do need any more of our money.”

I don’t think fossil fuels need any more subsidies. Clean tech has entered an unfairly stacked market, where fossil fuels have had the benefit of decades of tax payer funded assistance. The balance needs to be evened up.

 

In reality the subsidies often referred to are mostly normal costs of doing business IE capital depreciation which every business from a furniture factory to a 7/11 receives. The taxes paid by Big oil far exceed any nominal tax reduction they receive. All you have to do is examine any of the big publicly traded oil companies to see the tax they pay.

Big Solar and Big Wind deliver some of the highest electricity costs and provide back little to the public purse other than a feel good orgy for those that like high taxes and big government. When you take into account the external costs of solar and wind. IE mining pollution of solar and bird genocide with wind the costs of these industries is almost morally unacceptable.

To sum up, we need a few more tax paying Exxons and a few less solyndra’s.

“In reality the subsidies often referred to are mostly normal costs of doing business IE capital depreciation which every business from a furniture factory to a 7/11 receives.”

Fossil fuel companies have had the benefit of decades of tax payer funding through the building of ports, rail, roads, wars & clean ups. What furniture shop has a country wage a war on it’s behalf? Which ports were built for them? What spills of furniture were cleaned up & paid for by the taxpayer?

“Big Solar and Big Wind deliver some of the highest electricity costs and provide back little to the public purse other than a feel good orgy for those that like high taxes and big government.”

Because they are start ups & fossil fuel has a multi decadal tax payer funded head start. Economy of scale, competition & demand will change that. But for the moment, they need assistance to catch up.

 

Actually, solar and wind have been around for many decades, enjoying generous subsidies the whole time. And they still need help? Especially in more recent years, since George W. Bush helped get even more subsidies to attract the already well monied big energy players?

Rosa, you must be kidding. George Bush was from an oil family & most of his big name friends were in the oil industry. The USA waged a war in Iraq even to present day on behalf of oil interests. Bush was also responsible for an incredible sustained attack on the EPA & is responsible for much of it’s watered down powers. Not to mention so many policies that were just green washing & doublespeak, like the “clean air act” & the “healthy forest act”. Nice in name, but in practice did the opposite of what they stated.

To give a measly pittance to renewables & then say it is somehow generous is laughable to say the least.

 

Have you noticed that Texas is the country’s leader in wind power? Now why is that, do you think? Because it has the strongest environmental regulations? Or the opposite? George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at the American Wind Energy Association’s 2010 conference. Rick Perry is currently carrying the banner of big wind in Texas.

Enron was a pioneer of the modern wind industry, and its CEO Ken Lay was good friends with George W. Bush, who helped get the package of subsidies Enron wanted to make wind profitable. The subsidies were generous because they paid for up to 75% of a project’s costs. They still do.

The point is that you can’t separate the players. Wind subsidies are primarily used by big energy companies to further take the public’s money and avoid paying taxes. They don’t make the world a better place. They only help companies like Florida Power & Light and Brookfield continue trashing it.

Oil, by the way, is not used to generate electricity (only 1%, and that generally using the sludge left over from refining gasoline).

(the Texas grid) is in big trouble in maintaining a reliable electricity supply.  Do you know why that is?

Hint: has to do with the (sole) way producers can make money supplying electricity.  The effect is that only wind farms are being built.  Hence ERCOT is becoming increasingly less reliable.

almost only wind farms.

” (the Texas grid) is in big trouble in maintaining a reliable electricity supply.  Do you know why that is?

Hint: has to do with the (sole) way producers can make money supplying electricity.  The effect is that only wind farms are being built.  Hence ERCOT is becoming increasingly less reliable.”

David, I can never understand where you are coming from. I can never discern a distinctive position you hold.

Anyways, Texas is supplied by 8% wind. Are you saying that 8% is responsible for the failure  of the entire state?

From what I understand, Texas has suffered some extreme weather ( what climate scientists have predicted) of late. In winter their coal & nat gas plants froze up after experiencing some unusual cold snaps through the last winter & shut down. If it wasn’t for the winds 4MW’s they would have had nothing in many places.

http://knowledgeproblem.com/2011/02/04/cold-snap-brings-rolling-power-outages-to-texas-is-ercot-policy-of-isolation-at-fault/

Then this recent summer just gone by & stretching into the present there was massive heats waves & drought. Huge demand for cooling over stretched the system.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/04/utilities-ercot-heatwave-idUSN1E77323I20110804

Again, what climate scientists predicted. It would be quite amusing & sad at the same time if deniers in Texas were blaming the 8% of wind for their power outages over the fact that they are the highest producing CO2 state in the world.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Texas_and_coal

Oh yeah……it’s all about the love for wind down there I’m sure.

 

Texas has been having bad weather since forever but let’s pretend it just started.

“Texas has been having bad weather since forever but let’s pretend it just started.”

That’s the thing with politcal & industry conned deniers. No matter how much CO2 is entered into the atmosphere & no matter how much extreme weather there is, deniers will always say there is a precendence.

“The Earth was a ball of molten lava 4.5 Billion years ago……it’s been hotter”.

*slaps forehead*

If Texas has been having bad weather forever, then why didn’t ERCOT factor that in  when deciding how much base load & transmission to install? It seems they see this last winter & summer event as something out of the ordinary & not something they would typically have to cater for:

More generation supplies would come in handy, but state
power generators can’t be expected to prepare for every
extreme, said Kent Saathoff, ERCOT’s vice president of system
planning and operations.

“You have to determine if it is worth spending millions or
billions to avoid a one in 10-year event,” Saathoff told
reporters on Wednesday.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/04/utilities-ercot-heatwave-idUSN1E77323I20110804


 

I think you answered yourself Phil. Texas has really bad weather every so often. A bad year is just a bad year. It isn’t part of a new trend.

“I think you answered yourself Phil. Texas has really bad weather every so often. A bad year is just a bad year.”

Not if it happens more frequently. You are right in that a single event cannot be attributed to  a whole trend, but if there are more of these events in the next 10 years…then what? It becomes a trend.

“It isn’t part of a new trend.”

You know what the climate & weather events will be for the next few years? Please enlighten us.

 

Our not knowing about future weather events is pretty much my main point. But in general Texas will be warm in the summer and cool in the winter. There will be dry stretches and rainy times. Sometimes there will be storms and a major hurricane might hit Galveston in the next 100 years.

Our effect on Texas weather is going to be zero.

“Our not knowing about future weather events is pretty much my main point.”

We might not know our weather, but AGW is not about predicting weather. Its about predicting climate. Long term trends.

I guess we will see if the long term trends pan out for Texas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_in_Texas

 

“Have you noticed that Texas is the country’s leader in wind power? Now why is that, do you think? Because it has the strongest environmental regulations? Or the opposite? George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at the American Wind Energy Association’s 2010 conference. Rick Perry is currently carrying the banner of big wind in Texas.”

Like I said above Rosa…greenwashing. It’s like EXXOn & BP having solar projects & claiming they are all about being green……..then spending a similar amount actually lobbying for the opposite. Or Rupert Murdochs newscorp claiming they are going green in all their offices worldwide…..then filling its news empire with deniers pushing right wing propagnada down the throats of the public.

Or Rick Perry & GWB pretending they are going green by approving a few wind farms, but at the same time opposing AGW science & promoting fossil fuel use.

“Wind subsidies are primarily used by big energy companies to further take the public’s money and avoid paying taxes.”

Are you saying that tax avoidance for these companies only began when wind power came along?

“Oil, by the way, is not used to generate electricity (only 1%, and that generally using the sludge left over from refining gasoline).”

I wasn’t  talking about oil in relation to power generation. I was talking about greenwashing.

 

Exactly. So why do you advocate giving more money to them?

“Exactly. So why do you advocate giving more money to them?”

Because if we have the choice of providing subsidies between renewables or fossil fuels, then it should be renewables.

We are far behind where we need to be & really. The amount spent so far might seem outrageous to some, but it seems very few complain about wars being waged over oil with trillions of tax payers money. Or ports, roads & rail being paid for by tax payers money.

Our mitigation attempts need to seriously upscale.

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/wedges-reaffirmed

Of course there will be instances of preying on the system & trying to make a quick buck at the expense of tax payers. That just means they have to pay close attention to it & refine it as they go.

Here is Australia we had what was called the “Pink batts fiasco”. The incumbent Labor government created a scheme where they subsidised some or all of the costs of supplying & installing roof insulation.

While the intention was good & many homes benefited. There was no strict regulation from the outset. Meaning, every idiot with a trayback/van/truck/ute went & installed insulation with virtually no experience & claimed the government rebate. Ultimately, there were 4 deaths & the whole scheme was canned.

It was an important lesson for the future. Heavily regulate from the outset.

From what I understand in Texas, wind farms were created anywhere where there was a decent patch of land. That is abuse of the system & lack of regulation. Don’t trust that people will do the right thing.

Here is Australia, the rules for wind are, you need a constant supply of wind. Not high wind, just constant.

 

I found the following RSA Animate talk quite interesting;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0

Its a little too any capitalist for my taste, and even makes it all out like some sort of coordinated conspiracy, however it was still enlightening.

Equally, education is failing;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U