A report commissioned by Alberta’s public inquiry into “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” advances a conspiracy theory that a unified international cabal of environmental philanthropists, environmentalists and socialists is hell-bent on using climate change and COVID as pretexts to end “capitalism and our modern way of life” beginning with attacks on Alberta’s fossil fuel industry.
The report from British-based author Tammy Nemeth, entitled “A New Global Paradigm Understanding the Transnational Progressive Movement, the Energy Transition and the Great Transformation Strangling Alberta’s Petroleum Industry” was one of three reports commissioned by inquiry head Steve Allan, a forensic accountant and UCP donor.
The Allan inquiry just received its third extension, promising to have some sort of dirt on environmentalists by the end of May, but the work it’s commissioned thus far doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Nemeth’s report and its supplementary weave together a narrative of an international Marxist plot, which she calls the “Transnational Progressive Movement”, that has infiltrated the media, banks, NGOs, governments, the United Nations and large corporations, and is scheming to make us hungry, cold and unemployed.
Early on, the report quotes former Wildrose Party and right-wing radio host Danielle Smith, who claims that “the failing of conservatives is they don’t take progressives seriously when they propose grandiose schemes.” Then it alleges some very grandiose schemes itself.
Nemeth calls environmental non-profits watermelons — “green on the outside, red (socialist) on the inside.”
“Climate change is the cause to facilitate this Great Transformation to a net-zero future, while COVID is the catalyst to implement a Great Reset, and the Canadian federal government under Justin Trudeau is 100 percent committed to this endeavour,” the supplementary report reads.
“The Great Reset” is a conspiracy theory that’s recently become popular with the release of videos and books by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the organization best known for its annual meetings of the super elite in Davos, Switzerland. The literature depicts the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for a radical restructuring of the world economy. After Justin Trudeau repeated some elements of its messaging, right-wing media figures and the conspiracy community latched onto it as proof of his nefarious intent.
Nemeth’s report is ostensibly about Alberta’s oil and gas industry, but the ‘Great Reset’ is just one of the many far-reaching right-wing conspiracy theories it veers into.
For example, Nemeth’s report echoes concerns frequently posted by conspiracy theorists about digital passports that contain vaccine data.
“One possibility is to integrate vaccination data with a ‘digital passport’. This is technology that has been in the pipeline since 2016,” says the report. What this all has to do with a campaign to attack Alberta’s energy industry, the official target of the inquiry, is unclear.
The report also claims that “clear messaging from various segments of the Transnational Progressive Movement that fundamental change is necessary” contributed to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Again, a bit off the mark for a report that is ostensibly about oil and gas.
John Podesta, of the Centre for American Progress, a long-time Democratic Party operative, and most importantly a central figure in the notorious Pizzagate conspiracy theory, is also mentioned repeatedly.
The initial report mentions George Soros — the bete noir of anti-Semites — four times and his Open Society Foundation more than a dozen times, while Mike Bloomberg, another Jewish billionaire, appears about 10 times.
Peter Smith of the Canada Anti-Hate Network stresses that while he doesn’t see the report as anti-Semitic or hateful, its rhetoric draws on language about an international socialist conspiracy common in far-right circles.
“There’s definitely some hallmarks of conspiratorial thinking,” said Smith. “It really feeds into a lot of older tropes … which are generally based in anti-Semitism.”
Of course, powerful figures, like Soros, Bloomberg and Podesta, should be subject to critical scrutiny, but Smith cautions against feeding into conspiratorial narratives about a cabal plotting global domination.
“It’s not to say major philanthropists and political figures don’t impact Canada, because they certainly do, but the way that they — especially Soros — are invoked as bogeymen certainly pushes the document into much more troubling territory,” he said.
B’nai Brith’s Abe Silverman says he finds some of the report’s language concerning, but agrees with its overall premise of the inquiry and is willing to give Premier Jason Kenney the benefit of the doubt.
When someone uses language that overlaps with anti-Semitic tropes, it’s important to gauge their intent, he says.
“I do agree that some of the tropes do sound like classic antisemitism but … I am confident that Jason Kenney would not tolerate any report that smacks of anti-semitism,” said Silverman.
Silverman’s confidence aside, this government-commissioned report dabbles in the same tropes of meddling Jewish financiers and Judeo-Bolshevik saboteurs intent on destroying western civilization that we know are used by anti-Semites. Whether consciously or not, Nemeth invokes the same narratives one might find in the dark corners of Parler or Jim Keegstra’s garage.
That the Allan inquiry would spend $28,000 on a report filled with arcane conspiracy theories about George Soros, digital passports, the Great Reset and more is indicative of how completely the inquiry has gone off the rails. As if to underscore that very point, the Alberta government announced on January 29th that the inquiry would be late on its second deadline extension--Jason Kenney’s cabinet has given it yet another one, pushing its deadline back to May 31.