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Trans Mountain investigation concludes consultant not linked to terrorist Proud Boys

The pipeline company owned by the federal government says the individual was not associated with the right-wing extremist group

Trans Mountain, a pipeline and energy company owned by the Canadian government, says an internal investigation has concluded a consultant it worked with did not have ties to the Proud Boys, a group on a federal government list of terrorist organizations.

“Trans Mountain has thoroughly investigated this claim and it has been proven to be false,” a company spokesperson said by email. 

In a follow up, the company said the individual in question was not associated with the Proud Boys. 

Last February, the Canadian government added the Proud Boys to its list of terrorist organizations, saying the extremist group had played a “pivotal role” in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol Building. The listing makes it a crime to provide financial support or other services to the Proud Boys.

The allegations follow a massive data breach of records from Epik, a U.S.-based internet company known for hosting and providing online services for far-right content.

The records, released by the online hacktivist group Anonymous, include a trove of personal information about some of the names behind viral campaigns promoting racism, misinformation, disinformation and other extremist views online, the Washington Post reported on Sept. 21.

The Narwhal reviewed invoice records from the breach that appear to reveal the name, personal address and phone number of a Calgary-based consultant who said on LinkedIn that he worked for Trans Mountain as a geographic information systems technologist beginning in November 2019. It’s unclear whether the individual is still associated with Trans Mountain. 

According to the leaked records, the Calgary man registered the domain ProudBoysCalgary.com on Dec. 9, 2019. The domain is not currently active. 

Trans Mountain did not immediately reply when asked whether it had determined the individual did, in fact, register that domain.

The consultant did not immediately respond to questions from The Narwhal asking about the investigation or whether he had registered the domain. 

In September, when the allegations against the consultant first appeared on social media, he told The Narwhal that he was unable to comment as he was seeking legal advice on the matter. 

“I categorically deny any and all involvement and the police are involved and assisting me in this matter,” he said at the time.

An anonymous account on Twitter also named the man in published tweets, but later deleted these posts. 

The federal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and several related assets in 2018 in a multibillion dollar deal, after the previous owner, Kinder Morgan, threatened to cancel a proposed West Coast pipeline expansion project.

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We hear it time and time again:
“These are the stories that need to be told and you are some of the only ones telling them,” John, a new member of The Narwhal, wrote in to say.

Investigating stories others aren’t. Diving deep to find solutions to the climate crisis. Sending journalists to report from remote locations for days and sometimes weeks on end. These are the core tenets of what we do here at The Narwhal. It’s also the kind of work that takes time and resources to pull off.

That might sound obvious, but it’s far from reality in many shrinking and cash-strapped Canadian newsrooms. So what’s The Narwhal’s secret sauce? Thousands of members like John who support our non-profit, ad-free journalism by giving whatever they can afford each month (or year).

But here’s the thing: just two per cent of The Narwhal’s readers step up to keep our stories free for all to read. Will you join the two per cent and become a member of The Narwhal today?

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