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Marcus Riedner, a website and content developer based in the same city the natural gas giant is headquartered in, said he was disturbed that such a large corporation would receive news coverage for such a relatively small donation. He was referring to an article that was posted to mile0city.ca on Nov. 25 describing a $400 donation EnCana made to the Mizpah Transition House, half of which was raised internally by local employees and then matched by the corporation itself.

“It just kind of struck me as a little frustrating that this organization, which has ridiculous amounts of resources, would do this $400, tiny donation and there was an article going out about it,” said Riedner.

He said what he finds particularly galling is that the company receives thousands of dollars in tax credits in Alberta alone for drilling wells a certain depth, for example, but would still receive favourable publicity for a small donation.

He said while he has never had personal dealings with EnCana, he knows several rural landowners in Alberta who have struggled with the company over issues. He said he also very concerned about the impacts of the industry on water and the environment in Alberta, and specifically as relates to the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

He said instead of just writing a complaint about it, he decided to start up his own fundraising campaign as of a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way of making a broader point, while also helping out a good cause. His original goal was to double the EnCana contribution, but he has already nearly reached that goal as the total raised to date in nearly $700, and he said he will keep the campaign going for several more weeks and donate any and all money raised to the Mizpah Transition House.

Riedner said he took to websites and social media to solicit donations, and while many of the donors have done so anonymously, others have shared with him their frustrations with the coverage of the EnCana donation.

He said he has no problem in principle with any corporation or its employees raising money for a good cause, but his point is that private individuals, including himself, give regularly to charities, and often in larger amounts, without receiving any kind of publicity or credit.

“It’s not for me to rub their faces in anything. Where we are coming from is, if this billion dollar corporation can donate $200, big deal, let’s see what we can do.”

Riedner’s fundraising page can be found at http://www.indiegogo.com/Out-Do-EnCana, and more information can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/OutDoEnCana/206561696087161?sk=wall.

The Mizpah Transition House provides short-term supportive counselling, safety, and shelter to women and their children who are experiencing family violence and personal crisis, are transient and unable to find shelter, are traveling from other areas for medical treatment or to appear in court, and/or are in need of support and referral to other services. The facility is located in a community house and provides services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information on the service can be obtained by calling the South Peace Community Resources Society at 250-782-9174.

In the interest of full disclosure, Mile 0 City notes its reporter, Matthew Bains, is a board member for the South Peace Community Resources Society.  

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