Modern Miracle Network

Modern Miracle Network

Background

The Modern Miracle Network is a Canadian pro-oil advocacy group with the stated mission to “shift the conversation surrounding energy to one that recognizes, celebrates, and embraces the miracle of modern hydrocarbons in Canada.” [1]

The Globe and Mail, reporting on a “highly political” private event organized by the Modern Miracle Network designed to “map out strategy for ousting Justin Trudeau’s Liberals,” noted that board members include representatives from major energy and oil companies including Questerre Energy Corp, Painted Pony Energy Ltd., Perpetual Energy Inc. and Tourmaline Oil Corp. [2]

The Modern Miracle Network (MMN) was founded by Michael Binnion, the President, CEO, and founding shareholder of Questerre Energy, an oil and gas production company operating in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Jordan. He is also the Chair of the Board of High Arctic Energy Services, a drilling and rig service company. He is past chair of The Canadian Taxpayers Federation. [3]

According to records at the Government of Canada, the Modern Miracle Network was incorporated on January 21, 2016 with initial directors including Jason D'Silva, Michael Binnion, and Julia Dermanovic. [8]

One of the MMN's key focus areas appears to be “Indigenous Communities and Energy.” Michael Binnion, along with Vivian Krause, also both spoke at an “Indigenous Energy Summit” in 2019. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

Board members of the Modern Miracle Network are tied to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). [2]

While CAPP has claimed to believe “Greenhouse gases (GHG) from human activities are a significant contributor to climate change,” it also suggests that any policies on climate change must be “cost and carbon competitive with other jurisdictions.” [4]

CAPP further argues that any costs placed on carbon will lead to “carbon leakage” and that, paradoxically, increasing investment and cutting any regulations on Canadian hydrocarbons is the best way to reduce emissions: [5]

“If industry reduces or stops investing in Canada due to the high carbon cost, and production goes to a jurisdiction where there is little or no carbon price, more emissions will be released in that jurisdiction. Since climate is a globally connected system, it is critical that Canadians consider the global implications if our oil and natural gas industry is no longer competitive,” CAPP claims on its website.

“Climate costs without adequate focus on innovation and reinvestment in the oil and natural gas industry will result in higher emissions globally.”

Funding

The Modern Miracle Network was incorporated under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. According to its website, donations are not tax deductible. Individual donors are not listed. [6], [7]

The Government of Canada notes that not-for-profit corporations are not automatically considered “registered charities” or “non-profit organizations,” and so may be required to pay corporate income tax. Not-for-profit corporations are also able to conduct the same business activities as a business corporation. [11]

Research Documents

Key People

Board Members

  • Michael Binnion — Founder. CEO of Questerre Energy Corp. [3]
  • Patrick Ward CEO of Painted Pony Energy Ltd. [2]
  • Susan Riddell RoseCEO, Perpetual Energy Inc.  [2]
  • Mike Rose — Tourmaline Oil Corp.  [2]
  • Jason D'Silva — Listed in 2016 incorporation documents. CFO, Questerre Energy, according to LinkedIn. [8]
  • Julia Dermanovic — Listed in 2016 incorporation documents. Executive assistant/ office manager at Questerre Energy Corp according to LinkedIn. [8]

Actions

April 25, 2019

The Globe and Mail reported the Modern Miracle Network was behind a “highly political” private conference that featured top Conservative politicians with the goal of ousting the Liberal party from power in Canada. [2]

“The closed-door event reflects the deep ties between federal Conservatives and more activist elements of the Alberta-based oil industry that blame Liberal policies on issues such as pipelines and climate change for job losses and investor apathy that have dogged the sector, despite a broader recovery in energy markets,” The Globe and Mail reported. [2]

“Attendees included Michael Binnion, CEO of Questerre Energy Corp.; Patrick Ward, CEO of Painted Pony Energy Ltd.; Perpetual Energy Inc. CEO Susan Riddell Rose; and her husband, Mike Rose, head of Tourmaline Oil Corp., according to a copy of the confidential agenda that was obtained by The Globe and Mail.” [2]

All are board members of both the Modern Miracle Network, and also governors of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Michael Binnion, founder of the Modern Miracle Network, would not give details of the conference: [2]

“It’s a private event and even if I wanted to comment, I think it would inappropriate for me to do so,” he told The Globe and Mail by phone. [2]

The event agenda, obtained by the paper, outlined that Federal Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer would deliver a keynote address. Hamish Marshall and Mark Spiro spoke on a panel about “rallying the base” though the use of friendly interest groups. [2]

Gary Mar, an Alberta conservative who attended the planning session, commented that “It is very much political, in terms of the action steps that people want to take.” He would not provide specifics. [2]

Mike Roman, who previously served as special assistant and director of special projects and research under Donald Trump, was a speaker on a session focusing on “litigation as a tool” to silence protest from environmentalists.[2]

Speaking to supposed “foreign-funded interference” from environmental groups—a storyline pushed heavily by Canadian Vivian Krause—a spokesperson for Scheer said: ““These are the groups we will actively work to oppose and keep out of Canada’s regulatory process.” [2]

April 2019

In an interview, Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney spoke positively about companies supporting the Modern Miracle Network, and suggested that the oil industry should invest more heavily in similar advocacy groups: [9]

So I think all of those efforts together mean there is stronger advocacy, but it’s still not strong enough,” Kenney said. “And so I would like to see increased investment. Our oilpatch has invested a tiny fraction of a per cent of the profits that it’s generated from our resources [back into] public education and advocacy.”

January 16, 2019

Michael Binnion, founder of the Modern Miracle Network, spoke at the same event—the Indigenous Energy Summit—as Vivian Krause. The Network has promoted Krause's work, which attacks environmental groups that would oppose oil and gas development in Canada, alleging they are tied to U.S. interests. [3]

Krause has recently been promoted by UCP Party Leader Jason Kenney, who has promised to “take legal action against that alleged dark money campaign” that Krause has suggested exists. [10]

“Markham Hislop, a journalist reporting on the energy sector, said there are other explanations for the slow pipeline approval process in Canada and “We’re getting all bogged down in … conspiracy theories.”  [10]

The event's sponsors included Trans Mountain Corporation[3]

Related Organizations

Contact & Address

According to federal corporate registration information on file at the Government of Canada, the Modern Miracle Network's registered address is the same os Questerre Energy Corporation: [8]

1650, 801-6 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2P 3W2
Canada

Social Media

Resources

  1. Celebrating the modern miracle of hydrocarbons,” Modern Miracle Network. Accessed April 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

  2. Conservative politicians, oil executives map out strategy for ousting Liberals in growing collaboration,” The Globe and Mail, April 25, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Ok5CB

  3. “Indigenous Energy Summit Agenda” (PDF), Indian Resource Council, 2019. Retrieved from issuu.com.

  4. Climate Change,” CAPP. Archived April 26, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/Auzse

  5. Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” CAPP. Archived April 26, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Auzse

  6. Meet The Speaker,” Oil & Gas Council. April 2018. Archived April 26, 2019.

  7. Donate,” Modern Miracle Network. Accessed April 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  8. Federal Corporation Information,” Government of Canada. Archived April 26, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/YHdnf

  9. Stephen Marsters. “Kenney Calls On Industry To Increase Investment In Advocacy,” Daily Oil Bulletin, April 16, 2019. Archived April 25, 2019. Archive.fo URL:https://archive.fo/ZsbW9

  10. Emma McIntosh. “Is a foreign-funded campaign the reason for Alberta’s pipeline woes?” The Star, April 16, 2019.Archived April 17, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/y99Lo

  11. Are all not-for-profit corporations the same?“ Government of Canada, January 10, 2017. Archived April 26, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/oqkqR 

Other Resources