09.21.2011 06:46 AM

Uncharitable

This is exactly what I was talking about yesterdayConservatives using the power of government to silence critics, by taking away their charitable status.

Oh, and the Wind Power Ontario outfit mentioned in the story?  They’re a Tory front, full stop.  Meanwhile, the taxpayer “federation” is basically an arm of the Conservatives.  They work hand-in-glove with PC campaigns, and have done so for years.

And I may even have seen an email in which Wind Power is seen helping to map out Tea Party North strategy!  Now, where is that email?

 

17 Comments

  1. Jerome Bastien says:

    Im not sure I understand your point Warren. Are you saying you agree with charitable organizations flouting the law and playing politics despite their charitable status? I think the balance the law strikes is quite reasonable in this case: you can be charitable or you can be political, but you cant be both.

    Are WPO and Taxpayer Federation charitable organizations? I certainly hope not.

    • Warren says:

      Not at all. What I’m concerned about is a government – any government – using charity laws to silence their critics.

      • Jerome Bastien says:

        Fair point. I failed to consider that Suzuki and his foundation are different entities.

        However, this line: “The David Suzuki Foundation received between $100,000 and $250,000 from the government-affiliated Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2010.” (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/20/suzuki-foundation-in-election-controversy) This may be entirely above board, but it does create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

        Also, on the issue of charitable organizations, I remember this one case discussed in my trust law class where an anti-abortion group was denied charitable status because, by virtue of being pro-life, it’s aim was to change the law on abortion. However, a pro-choice group was awarded charitable status because its aim was to keep the law as is (and thus was not deemed political). I dont think either of these should have charitable status, but as the law currently stands, advocating for a cause which implied legislative changes was deemed a political activity.

        In the same vein, I would argue that anybody who promotes a carbon tax or the like should not have charitable status. The idea is not to shut these people up, but to have them respect the law as it currently stands.

  2. ottawacon says:

    An NGO without registered charity status can say whatever it wants. To my mind, the awkward thing about this case is that David Suzuki qua citizen/environmentalist should have every right to offer comment and endorsement on policy, while the Foundation does not have that right in its current incarnation as a charity.

  3. Since David Suzuki stepped down as a member of the board of directors of the Suzuki Foundation, he was speaking as a private citizen in the Liberal commercial. If a future government wishes to prevent instant resignations at charities so that individuals can campaign, then it should introduce some kind of bill that prevents board members of different tax-exempt charities from supporting a candidate or party for a period of time. It would be like people working for the government, and then after an election immediately becoming a lobbyist.

  4. Justin says:

    If the foundation was called The Environment Foundation rather than the David Suzuki Foundation, would it even be an issue of a charity’s President endorsing political positions that his/her charity supports? I didn’t realize that citizens lost the right to participate in democracy and public discourse by starting a charity.

  5. John Larocque says:

    I don’t know much about Windpower, but John Laforet is a former Liblogger who was, I think, a GTA/Scarborough riding president and activist within the federal Liberal Party of Canada. (He was a Gerard Kennedy supporter in 2006). He’s since then had some kind of falling out with the McGuinty provincial liberals, and there were several entries on his blog (posted on Liblogs) attacking McGuinty, mostly over wind power.

  6. bigcitylib says:

    Wind Concerns have put up some billboards, and should have to declare themselves 3rd party advertisers. They have yet to do so. I’ve asked if they intend to, but they seem to have erased my comment.

  7. John Laforet and his Wind Concerns Ontario organization are faux-progressives. They use the language of progressive, but really support Conservative ideals. Mr. Laforet’s Wind Concerns Ontario blog used to be on the Progressive Bloggers roll. I don’t believe it is there anymore. Mr. Laforet could become the next Rocco Rossi or Tony Genco.

    A faux-progressive column by John Laforet: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/john-laforet/ontario-green-jobs_b_972088.html?ref=tw.

  8. smelter rat says:

    Yes Gord, this is the most pressing issue facing government today. Meanwhile, pot growers will soon face more prison time than child rapists. Welcome to Harperland.

  9. Cam Prymak says:

    Yes, by all means let’s see what Elections Canada may have to say. I see they’re involved in this other matter, commonly known as the “In and Out Scandal”. From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_and_Out_scandal

    Continuing controversy
    On February 24th, 2011, 4 senior Conservative Party members were charged in the In and Out Scandal under the Elections Canada Act with overspending over $1 million dollars in the 2006 election including allegations that Conservative election expense documents submitted to Elections Canada were “false or misleading” and attempted to fraudulently gain almost $1 million dollars in refunds from taxpayers. Senator Doug Finley, (the party’s campaign director in 2006 and 2008, and the husband of Human Resources Development Minister Diane Finley), Senator Irving Gerstein, Michael Donison (former national party director) and Susan Kehoe (who has served as an interim party executive director) all face 3 months in jail, $1000 in fines or both. [18]

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