Cody Battershill

Cody Battershill Background and Information

Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder of Canada Action, a pro-oilsands advocacy group with deep ties to the Conservative Party and the oil and gas industry. Battershill uses Canada Action to promote the oil and gas industry in Canada and garner public support for industry projects like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

Battershill argues criticism of the Alberta oilsands is overblown and argues domestic “squabbling” is holding Canada’s resource industries back. Battershill founded Canada Action to push more individuals to actively advocate for the oil and gas industry, saying environmental and social concerns are based on fear and emotions, not facts.

To counteract criticism of the oilsands, Battershill began selling “I Love Oil Sands” t-shirts and other items through the Canada Action website.

Cody Battershill Background

Cody Battershill is the founder of the blog Calgaryism and a successful realtor, slated in the top 100 Remax agents in Canada. Battershill was born in Calgary and is in his early 30s.

Battershill began advocating for the oilsands industry in 2010 after seeing an environmental campaign critical of the oilsand’s environmental impact at a LUSH cosmetics store. Battershill told the National Post he initially started a personal Twitter account to promote the oil and gas industry before launching Canada Action which emerged in 2012.

Battershill acts as a spokesman for Canada Action, speaking at public events, doing media interviews and writes articles that appear on outlets like the Huffington Post and the National Post. Battershill’s articles frequently criticize environmental advocacy, defend Canada’s poor climate record and celebrate Canada’s social and economic prosperity. Battershill argues Canada’s prosperity is in part reliant on natural resource extraction. He argues Canada is more politically and socially stable than other oil producing nations and should therefore play a more central role in the global oil economy — an argument that closely resembles conservative pundit Ezra Levant’s “Ethical Oil” frame.

Battershill claims environmental opposition to the oil and gas industry by advocates advancing stronger climate policy, environmental protection and the rights of First Nations is based on hyped-up and fear-based rhetoric.

Cody Battershill Funding

Cody Battershill claims Canada Action is a volunteer organization funded with his personal funds.

When asked who funds Canada Action by Stu McNish, producer of the Conversations That Matter video series, Battershill replied, “I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars out of my own pocket.”

“There is nothing astroturf or fake about my passion for my country,” he added. “I’ve put my money, my time and my actions where my mouth is.”

Battershill said Canada Action also accepts donations from individuals but does not reveal if those individuals have ties to the oil and gas industry or the Conservative Party of Canada.

Canada Action is a federally-registered non-profit and as such is not required to disclose its sources of funding.

Cody Battershill Industry and Political Ties

Canada Action has three board members: Cody Battershill, Matt Gelinas and Susan Gelinas, according to federal society registration documents. Matt Gelinas is an influential Conservative Party campaign strategist with strong connections to campaign companies implicated in the robocall scandal in the 2011 federal election. Susan Gelinas is president of an investment company called Patchwork Investments which is registered to the same address as Canada Action. Also registered at the same address is Data Trek, a data service provider for the oil and gas industry owned by Dave Gelinas.

Cody Battershill hosted a launch party for Canada Action in September 2014 with the help of Kim Farwell, leader of oilsands extraction at Syncrude and two-time former president of the Conservative Party of Canada’s riding association in Fort McMurray. Another event organizer, Diane Slater, left the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, which is primarily made up of oil and gas companies, to take on a more active role with Canada Action.

Cody Battershill Views and Opinions

Climate

Although he says he does not dispute the science of climate change, Battershill argues Canada receives an undue amount of criticism for its contributions to global climate change: “We produce 4% of the world’s oil and seem to get 100% of the attention,” he told the Fort McMurray Today. He advances a common pro-industry argument that Canada only contributes a small amount of global greenhouse gasses. But he does not reference the fact that the Alberta oilsands are Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions or that Canada has no federal oil and gas regulations, despite such regulations being promised for several years by the federal Conservative Party.

Battershill claims “it’s not fair” that Canada is criticized for its poor environmental record because Canada participates in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, although Battershill does not mention that Canada is known for obstructing climate talks rather than advancing them.

Battershill argues society needs oil for prosperity and that much of Canada’s achievements — socially, politically, economically — should been seen as reasons to elevate rather than criticize the energy industry.

Patriotism

Battershill argues his oilsands advocacy is an outcome of his patriotism — a frame that closely aligns with the oil and gas industry as well as the Harper government.

Battershill told the National Post: “This has become an issue of pride for me, for Calgary, Alberta, and Canada.”

Battershill argues Canada’s oilsands “fill a real need…to help fuel our growing civilization.”

Battershill told Thee Westerner: “Everything that we do has some form of impact on the environment and when you look at the global context and the global perspective of resource development and resource consumption, no country on earth, in my opinion, does it better then Canada when you take all factors into account. So we should be extremely proud of our country, we should speak up, we should let our voices be heard, so that we can overcome this mob mentality of fear and negativity of scarcity that exists when good people do not stand up for what they believe in.”

Oilsands

“Who knows when world populations and economies will be able to get by without oil?” Huffington Post

Battershill argues “Canada continues to improve its technology and practices and reduce its per-barrel GHG emissions,” but does not mention that the oilsands represent Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.