An American professor hired by the Fraser Institute to “enhance the economic knowledge” of journalists is closely connected to America’s far-right, including the Koch brothers.

Tawni Hunt Ferrarini is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, where she teaches a program called Economics for Journalists. The program offers journalists the opportunity to learn “how economics can be used to better understand the world around us”. What the program fails to mention is the Fraser Institute’s bias towards far-right, discredited economic theory.

The Hammond Institute, of which Tawni is a Professor of Economic Education, is directly funded by the Charles Koch Foundation. As stated on the website,

This expansion of the Hammond Institute’s work was made possible in part by continuing support from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Tawni, along with the Fraser Institute, was highlighted on the Charles Koch Foundation website in a featured story.

In 2017 Evan Osenton, the editor-in-chief of Alberta Views, attended an Economics for Journalists session. He reported that the Fraser Institute could “barely conceal” their contempt for journalists, and offered “no defense of research”. He concluded that they are “not even that subtle in their propaganda”.

The Koch brothers, two of the biggest Republican donors and backers or far-right organizations across the US, are no strangers to influencing Canadians, having donated over $500,000 to the Fraser Institute.

As reported by our team at North99, the Fraser Institute also runs similar “educational” programs with children. One such program is run by far-right religious fundamentalist Ninos Malek who argues corporations should be able to discriminate against minorities and be permitted to use price gouging during natural disasters.

The Fraser Institute is part of a network of far-right groups, backed by the Koch brothers, that seek to influence and shape policy towards far-right libertarian ideas. The group is called the Atlas Network, and they support some of Canada’s largest think tanks and Conservative advocacy groups, including the Fraser Institute, The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, the Taxpayers Federation, and the Manning Centre. Follow this link to read more about them.

American far-right groups are expanding into Canada. We were the first group report that an American political lobby group connected to Donald Trump called Turning Point Canada launched at Simon Fraser University earlier this year. According to Media Matters, the Koch brothers (through the Charles Koch Foundation) are a major backer of Turning Point. They are intimately connected to the Atlas Network, an organization we’ve written about extensively, which funds right-wing lobby groups in Canada.

Canadians need to be aware of how American political groups backed by dark money from individuals like the Koch brothers are influencing our politics.