SumOfUs against all of us

A short note to you on this Easter weekend, hoping you’re staying at home and doing your part to lock down and beat COVID-19.

A huge thank you to everyone who signed up on petition urging the banks to drop credit card interest rates, which they did a few days after we sent the petition to the Big Five Bank CEOs. Pressure from the Prime Minister on this as well as other voices along with ours did the job, which shows you the power of standing up, being heard and being counted.

Again, this shows the power of Suits and Boots and your voice. Your voice counts. And, believe me, it’s being heard.

We’ve taken a leadership role on Bill C-69, Bill C-48, on standing up to China, on helping elect 12 Conservative MPs during the October federal election, and now on the credit card issue.

But here’s the key message I want to pass along to you today. Our biggest test is coming up. We’re going to need your voice in weeks and months ahead from everyone at Suits and Boots.

Why is that?

Because the federal government is about to roll-out an aid package for the energy sector, with most of this aid coming into Alberta. This package has been anticipated for more than two weeks now, and follows on the heels of a massive federal bail-out of many sectors of the economy, with a priority of individuals and relatively small businesses.

The Liberal government, as well as federal bureaucrats in several departments and even thousands of front-line bank employees working from home deserve credit for creating and executing this unprecedented aid package under tight timelines.

But here’s where the rubber hits the road. Nobody in Canada has opposed this bail-out. Nobody in Canada is too deeply concerned about the cost to the federal treasury. Nobody in Canada protested this federal help or started a campaign to oppose it.

Yet when it comes to the energy sector, it’s a totally different story. The familiar cast of disparate groups opposing the energy sector is already active, well financed and vocal in opposing a federal government bail-out.

Despite the fact that leaders of this sector have advanced strong and fundamentally sound ideas to the government like this one, proposing that Ottawa buy the accounts receivable of mid-size and small energy companies at a discount and later realize a profit as these accounts are collected. It gives these companies a lifeline in the short term and gives them the oxygen they need to survive as they wait for the construction of pipelines like Keystone XL and the Trans Mountain expansion.

The fact that it’s taken the federal government more than two weeks to roll out a package shows two things: firstly, the key importance of the energy sector, the massive destruction that has taken place there, and how important it is to get this right; secondly, that there is a debate at the highest levels of the Trudeau government on how to advance the climate change agenda with this bail-out at a time when Alberta is most vulnerable.

Make no mistake about it: this debate is real. And the activist groups bent on crushing the energy sector are already at work.

Here’s one of them – A Message to Stop the Big Oil Bailout from a group called “SumOfUs” that was on the front page of the digital edition of The Hill Times newspaper last week, read by every Ottawa insider, politician, bureaucrat, activist and media person on the Hill.

Who are these people at “SumOfUs”? Check out www.sumofus.org and you’ll get the picture. “A community of people from around the world committed to curbing the power of corporations.” Funding of US $5.6 million in 2018. Many activists are from Canada.

Oh yes, and then there’s this: “SumOfUs also partners with a number of foundations and NGO groups, including Tides Foundation, Chorus Foundation, BetterWorld, Changing Markets, General Service Foundation, Hull Family Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Packard Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Voqal Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, Funders for Fair Trade, Media Democracy Fund, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, New Venture Fund.”

Recognize any of those names? Sure you do.

So, here’s the deal: “SumOfUs” is working hard to deny help to “All of us” here in the energy sector. With a huge budget, powerful backers, they have the ability to ramp up in a big way. And just watch them in action as the federal government rolls out whatever aid they have in mind shortly. They are coming at us. Hard.

My Conservative leadership campaign was cut short by COVID-19. On March 12th . I announced the end of fundraising efforts at the same time that the NBA, NHL, MLB and most of the rest of the world hit “pause” because of COVID-19 – almost everyone except the Conservative Party of Canada. They finally stopped the campaign on March 26th, and disqualified me and two other candidates because we hadn’t achieved membership signatures levels and fundraising levels required to advance to the final ballot at that date.

So, I will not be on the final ballot, whenever the race starts up again. I won’t have a voice in the leadership race, nor in the Conservative Party. There will be no candidate from west of Ontario on the final ballot.

But what I am committing to doing again right here and right now is to step up, with your help at Suits and Boots again, to provide a strong voice in support of Western Canada generally, and the energy sector in particular. We have plans already in place on policy, advocacy, media and grassroots fronts that you’ll be seeing on a regular basis. You’ll be hearing from me weekly, or even more often. You’ll be seeing us in media, online and everywhere we can make your presence known. Our voices – your voice – need to be heard now – more than ever.

In 2018 and 2019 Suits and Boots raised roughly $80,000 in individual donations each year, most of it coming from individual donations of less than $45. We’re proud of that. Not one person in our group is paid a salary. We have suppliers of legal, accounting, digital and other services who are patient, supportive and understanding as they continue to work with us in growing our platform.

So we’re about to start working in a big way. On behalf of All Of Us. Times are tight, but if you can help us with a $5 donation your help will go directly into supporting our energy sector, and fighting against “SumOfUs” and others who are bent on bringing us to our knees.

Chip in now

Thank you. And stay tuned.

Rick Peterson
Founder
Suits and Boots

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