ISED, formerly the Department of Industry, gave the registered environmental charity that has travelled internationally to lobby against Canadian industry, at least four separate grants totaling $840,000 since January 2019.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault was the head and a founder of Equiterre until October 2018, when he left to seek elected office as a Liberal.
The grants to Equiterre all coincide with Guilbeault becoming the presumed Liberal candidate for the Quebec riding of Laurier-Sainte Marie. He was elected in October 2019, officially announced his intention to run as a candidate in June the same year but was widely assumed to become the Liberal choice for the nomination as early as his resignation from Equiterre in October 2018.
The data relating to the payments to Equiterre, the first of which was in May 2019, was admitted in the House of Commons in a whole-of-government inquiry posed by Conservative MP Arpan Khanna who asked for the details of the government’s funding to advocacy and lobby groups since January 2019.
ISED paid Equiterre $250,000 to help “represent consumers.”
There were two more $200,000 grants to Equiterre, and two more in the $90,000 range, for a total of $840,000 to Equiterre from ISED for “advocacy.”
While Guilbeault was the boss of Equiterre, in March 2017, the organization, as part of the Council of Canadians delegation to Europe, travelled to lobby against Canadian oil and gas.