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Banks Behind Hillary Clinton’s Canadian Speeches Really want The Keystone Pipeline

WASHINGTON — Two Canadian banks tightly connected to selling the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the United States either absolutely or partially paid for eight speeches made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the interval not long earlier than she announced her marketing campaign for president. Those speeches put more than $1.6 million within the Democratic candidate’s pocket.

Canadian Imperial Financial institution of Commerce and TD Bank were both main sponsors of paid Clinton speeches in 2014 and early 2015, though solely the previous appears on the financial disclosure type she filed Might 15. In accordance with that document, CIBC paid Clinton $a hundred and fifty,000 for a speech she gave in Whistler, British Columbia, on Jan. 22, 2015.

Clinton reported that one other five speeches she gave throughout Canada were paid for by tinePublic Inc. a promotional firm known for hosting speeches by world leaders and celebrities. Another speech was reported as paid for by the suppose tank Canada 2020, while yet one more speech was reportedly funded by the Vancouver Board of Trade. But a evaluate of invitations, press releases and media experiences for these seven different speeches reveals that they, too, were either sponsored by or straight concerned the two banks.

Both banks have monetary ties to TransCanada, the corporate behind the Keystone XL pipeline, and have advocated for an enormous enhance in pipeline capacity, together with construction of Keystone. Further, Gordon Giffin, a CIBC board member and onetime U.S. ambassador to Canada, is a former lobbyist for TransCanada and was a contributions bundler for Clinton’s 2008 presidential marketing campaign.

It isn’t immediately clear what the sponsorship of speeches by the two banks entailed. Did they pay upfront costs to tinePublic to cover Clinton’s charges Did they purchase a oil & gas drilling process large number of tickets to underwrite the event The banks themselves were not useful on that rating.

Ali Duncan Martin, a TD Bank spokeswoman, informed The Huffington Submit in an e mail that the financial institution sponsored a collection of speeches by each Hillary Clinton and former President Invoice Clinton beginning in 2008. (Invoice Clinton received more than $1.6 million for speeches sponsored by TD Bank, in line with previous monetary disclosures.) The bank was the “title sponsor or a co-sponsor of the events, with most events having a lot of sponsors participating,” in line with Martin. She declined to say how much the financial institution spent in sponsoring the speeches.

Spokespeople from CIBC didn’t respond to a request for comment. One occasion invite, however, indicated that CIBC supplied tickets the corporate had bought to others. “Kindly RSVP to your CIBC Advisor and advise of any dietary restrictions,” the invite stated.

Some particulars of Hillary Clinton’s Canadian speechifying have been first reported by impartial journalist Ron Brynaert. The Clinton marketing campaign did not respond to The Huffington Submit’s request for remark.

Clinton’s first swing via Canada started on March 5, 2014, with a speech that price the Vancouver Board of Trade $275,500. While Clinton’s financial disclosure type reported the board because the payer, an invite to the occasion also lists “presenting sponsors” as TD Financial institution and Vancouver City Savings Credit score Union. Following her speech, Clinton participated in a question-and-reply session hosted by TD Financial institution Deputy Chairman Frank McKenna.

The next day in Calgary, Clinton gave one other speech reportedly paid for by tinePublic at a value of $225,500. McKenna additionally came alongside to interview her after the speech. Martin confirmed that TD Financial institution additionally sponsored this speech.

In June, Clinton gave a speech in Toronto for a price of $150,000. The first sponsor was TD Bank, based on an invite. Different sponsors included the Canadian Membership of Toronto, Blakes Legal professionals, KPMG and the true Property Investment Network. For the third time, McKenna interviewed Clinton after the speech.

Clinton went west to the city of Edmonton on June 18 to offer one other tinePublic-paid speech for a $one hundred,000 value. The chief sponsor of this speech, according to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, was CIBC. Victor Dodig, then senior government vice president at CIBC, interviewed Clinton on stage after her remarks.

On Oct. 6, 2014, Clinton traveled up north again to talk at a gathering hosted by the liberal think tank Canada 2020. CIBC, which is also a funder of Canada 2020, was the primary sponsor of this $215,500 speech, according to a Canada 2020 net page for the event. Lesser sponsors included Air Canada, the Canadian Real Estate Affiliation, Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Stampede Group and Telus. Once more, Dodig, by then promoted to president and CEO, dealt with the Q&A session.

Over a span of two days in January, Clinton gave three more speeches — one directly paid for by CIBC and two paid by tinePublic, however sponsored by CIBC. On Jan. 21, she spoke in Winnipeg for $262,000 after which Saskatoon for $262,500. The next day she spoke at that CIBC occasion in Whistler for $150,000 — the only speech directly reported on her monetary disclosure type as having been paid for by a Canadian financial institution. Dodig pitched questions to Clinton after each of these three speeches.

CIBC and TD Financial institution each have large vitality portfolios and have pushed for the U.S. authorities to approve remaining building of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would hyperlink the Canadian oil sands in Alberta by means of the center of the United States to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

For the reason that Keystone pipeline is being constructed throughout nationwide boundaries by a overseas company, TransCanada, it requires approval from the U.S. State Division. Whereas serving as secretary of state, Clinton stated that she was “inclined” to approve the pipeline. Since then, she has been mum on the issue, even as environmentalists — with their main grassroots and cash sway in the Democratic Get together — have made stopping the pipeline a precedence.

“Like all main banks, institutional buyers, and pensions, we make investments within the energy sector. On Keystone we’re one in all many financing partners,” TD Bank’s Martin mentioned, adding that the bank is “not a basic shareholder in TransCanada.”

Whether or not the U.S. authorities will approve further construction of the pipeline was a sizzling topic in each of the Q&A sessions hosted by the financial institution executives. And at each flip, Clinton refused to reply.

“No remark,” she advised TD Bank’s McKenna throughout that first speech in Vancouver. She further defined that it would not be proper for her to comment while the State Division was nonetheless debating the venture.

McKenna returned to the subject the subsequent day in Calgary, asking Clinton whether the delay within the approval course of was pushed by home politics. She answered that the evaluate process is “very comprehensive” and that “it’s essential to not let whatever that decision is on one pipeline color the potential for co-operation across the board between the United States and Canada on power manufacturing and local weather change.”

In Toronto, McKenna continued to push Clinton on the pipeline, which she said mustn’t “be a proxy for the relationship” between the two international locations.

CIBC’s Dodig also asked Clinton about Keystone at every of her 5 CIBC-sponsored speeches. In Winnipeg, she replied to Dodig’s question oil & gas drilling process on the subject, “You won’t get me to talk about Keystone because I have steadily made clear that I am not going to express an opinion.”

She did, nonetheless, specific an opinion when asked whether the U.S. and Canada might work together to harmonize energy and environmental regulations. That idea has been pursued by Canadian energy companies and different Keystone backers as a potential commerce-off for approval of pipeline development.

In Vancouver, Clinton informed McKenna that she would consider the likelihood of creating a group to work on regulatory harmonization and would “personally convey” the idea to those in power in Washington. She additionally famous the need for “greater symmetry” within the electrical grids and oil and fuel supply strains of the two international locations.

TD Bank and CIBC’s curiosity in the power sector shouldn’t be restricted to the development of Keystone XL. The two banks additionally assist the development of pipelines in Canada heading west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic as different technique of getting the nation’s crude oil into the worldwide market. In 2012, they both published stories calling the development of these pipelines a “national precedence.”

A kind of alternate options is the development of the Power East pipeline, which might move oil from Alberta to ports in Quebec. But that plan by TransCanada is opposed by Gaz Metro, a Quebec-based pure fuel company.

It just so occurs that Clinton’s only recent Canadian speech not involving TD Financial institution or CIBC was sponsored by Gaz Metro. In keeping with her monetary disclosure kind, the Board of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal paid her $275,000 for a March 18, 2014, speech. An invite for the occasion lists Gaz Metro as a sponsor, along with La Presse, CJAD radio, Loto Quebec, Osler Legal professionals and the Montreal Gazette. The Q&A session was hosted by Gaz Metro President and CEO Sophie Brochu.