The heavily censored 149-page package includes background documents on the government’s “Responsible Resource Development” ad campaign, which targeted U.S. lawmakers during Ottawa’s push for the Keystone XL pipeline’s approval.
According to the department, FleishmanHillard’s contract includes a confidentiality clause that prevents the ad firm from sharing government intelligence with their other clients.
“A confidentiality clause in the contract with the supplier protects the interests of the Government of Canada by ensuring that proprietary information is not shared outside the client-supplier relationship,” Paul Duchesne, a spokesman for the Natural Resources, wrote in a prepared statement.
Calls to FleishmanHillard’s Ottawa office were not returned Thursday.
FleishmanHillard’s share of the contract is worth as much as $ 5 million, although the government noted that the full cost of the campaign will not be known until the annual report on advertising. That report is typically released 12 to 16 months after the fiscal year ends, according to Public Works officials.
The campaign was largely targeted at the European Union’s fuel quality directive, which has since been abandoned. The Conservatives argue that the directive unduly penalizes oilsands crude, and make the same claim about legislation being contemplated in other jurisdictions.
New Democrat MP and natural resources critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) said she doesn’t believe advertisements will sway foreign governments.
“I don’t think you engage with foreign governments through advertising any more than I think you engage with Canadians through advertising,” Charlton said Thursday. “You have to do it through meaningful engagement. And that’s anathema to this government.”
The Conservatives allocated more than $ 36 million since 2012 to advertise Canada’s environmental record and the natural resources industry. A full $ 31 million of that envelope went to Natural Resources for advertising.