Summary: The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is set to audit environmental charities to ensure that they are staying at a political advocacy budget of below 10% of their total budget. Sigh… The audits are out of the norm and likely complaint driven. Complaint by whom? Pro-oil sand charities. “Ethical Oil is a registered non-profit non-governmental organization that describes itself as an “online community” to empower people to become grassroots activists in defence of the oilsands development.” This article came out a few days ago.
More recently the Financial Post blasted back with typical bleeding-heart-green-movement-be-cray-spreading-hysteria-and-madness. With a heavy hand in sarcasm, Terence Corcoran bring to light the conservative government’s “smearing” by environmental activists, with an assist by CBC. “The environmental groups have no special reason to complain. Either they are compliant with the law or they are not. If they are, CRA will go away. If not, they may lose their charitable status, which is hardly the end of the world. All it means is that taxpayers will no longer be called on to support their causes. In that event, nothing will prevent them from soliciting funds from donors who share their green passions regardless of whether or not they receive a charitable tax receipt — essentially a government subsidy.”
Verdict: A little media dodgeball going on over here. Environmental charities need political advocacy. How else do you put the environment on national agenda? Less than 10% is borderline absurd for any amount of effectiveness in improving what has been a steady decline in Canada’s environmental reputation. Politically, the country seems to be waging a war against the environment and although the budget that came out on Tuesday doesn’t directly bind the financial reach of environmental charities, the CRA audits are likely to. It’s not shocking–the oilsands have been making the conservative government look good economically.
CBC News has repeatedly asked Ethical Oil to reveal who their funders are but no specific list has been made public. ;)