Tides Canada has rebranded itself MakeWay in response to an aggressive public relations effort that it says has repeatedly misconstrued the purpose of Tides Canada’s international philanthropic funding and conflated it with the U.S.-based Tides Foundation. The name change comes on the organization’s 20th anniversary.
“No organization takes on a name change lightly. But it was clear that the time has come to define ourselves. For too long we’ve been defined by others,” said CEO Joanna Kerr in a release.
MakeWay is a large charity, reporting 2019 revenues of $27.8 million. It is one of several organizations listed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during the launch of a $2.5-million 2019 public inquiry into international funding for the Canadian environmental movement. Kenney has stated that Alberta has been made victim of a foreign-funded campaign to landlock Alberta oil for the benefit of the U.S. oil industry.
“Only 1% of Tides Canada’s funding has gone towards pipeline-related activities since 2005. Instead, we have been proudly partnering with international and Canadian funders to protect vital marine and terrestrial environments and support Indigenous stewardship,” said Kerr.
MakeWay says it was originally named after the Tides Foundation in the U.S., but that the organizations have since diverged and no longer hold any legal, financial, or governance connections.
Kenney, however, says the name change is window-dressing. “No one in Alberta will be buying this cheap lipstick on a pig attempt to ‘MakeWay’ for more foreign-funded campaigns against our energy,” he wrote in a June 16, 2020 post to his Facebook account. “We've got a message for these re-branded Tides actors. Alberta will stop at nothing to expose the radical fringe that wants to shut in our energy, while letting foreign oil producers off the hook.”