09.25.2011 12:20 AM

In today’s Sun: not very charitable

It’s not very charitable, you might say. Not at all.

The way in which the federal government deals with charities, that is.

And if you believe in the work that charities do — or if you even cling to the notion that freedom of speech should be applicable to non-governmental organizations, too — then you should be concerned about what is quietly going on behind bureaucratic curtains up in Ottawa these days.

Federal bean-counters define a charity as a corporation or a trust that carries on, what else, “charitable purposes” — meaning, an enterprise set up “for the benefit of the public,” or a “sufficient segment” of the public.

The leading case on charities goes back to the 19th century. There, no less than the House of Lords ruled a legitimate charity could be involved in the relief of poverty, or advancement of education or religion, or “other purposes beneficial to the community in a way the law regards as charitable.”

If that all sounds to you that a faceless bureaucrat (or a vengeful politician) can bend the word “charity” to fit whatever subjective criteria they’d like, you’d be right. The rules governing charities in Canada have always been pretty loosey-goosey.

And therein lies the problem.


  1. Brad says:

    If Steve was concerned about efficiencies and has the time to go thru each and very charities books, where were the efficiency experts during the G20 summit.

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      Well said Brad….the only time Cons are concerned about the public purse is when their friends and cronies arent getting a share……

      • Attack! says:

        It’s not about ‘auditing’ but about ‘de-registering’: stripping them of their charitable status, which removes their eligibility for grants from foundations and their ability to issue tax-deductible receipts, both of which severely hamper their fundraising ability & may put them out of business.

        The law forbids expending more than 10% of their revenues a year on political activities, but a 30 second spot by an agency’s founder ain’t exactly equivalent to ten percent of their annual revenues, now, is it?

      • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

        If the auditing is being done because of suspected mis-use of funds, certainly, or perhaps on general principles, but not simply because the govt has a hardon against a particular group……which is quite apparent in the case of the Dr. Suzuki foundation, and other agencies who dont tow the (Con) party line……

        At any rate, I applaud Mr. Kinsella`s continuing efforts to shine light into the Con rat hole….

        And I still rue the day I had anything to do with your stinkin`party…..

    • Philip says:

      You know he wasn’t making that argument Gord. Everyone knew that. Yet there you are spending all that time and energy, scurrying around to erect your straw man. Busted.

  2. Cam Prymak says:

    “Is his reputation that frail?”

    Your comment is at the very least surprising considering your over-the-top response to Jack Layton’s letter to Canadians, or as you’ve characterized it previously, ‘his deathbed manifesto’.

    By all means investigate for charlatans lurking amidst legitimate charities but this is a free, Canadian society. I believe Canadians are all about peace, order and good government. Any political party that would ever suppose that charities need the same treatment given the Long Gun Registry or the (uncosted) Prisons and Jets agendas, well then they’d be on the wrong side of this issue compared with the majority of Canadians.

    Let’s stop with the sideshows and focus on the economy, shall we?

  3. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    I wonder just how many right wing fundamentalist Christian charities, or “right to life” organizations will be audited, and how detailed the auditing will be for these groups…..

  4. ASME says:

    If the Canadian Government was doing its job, we wouldn’t need charity at all. Just think if people stopped volunteering and stopped charity work….where do you think this country would be? It definitely would provide evidence as to exactly where this government is without shades.

  5. Philip says:

    Mr. Tulk is the willow tree of the Conservative apologista. Always bending with the prevailing winds from the PMO, capable of a 180 on a dime to fit the current story line. Don’t look for logic or intellectual consistency from Mr. Tulk, you won’t see it. Will also never admit to being wrong. Ever.

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