“Methinks thou dost protest too much” ……………….goes the old saying from Shakespeare which describes someone who is actually “guilty” yet thinks by complaining about a “witch hunt” can disarm the accusers!
Could it be that the 7 groups that the CRA have “targeted for an “audit” may have a lot more to lose than just their Charity Status and self proclaimed stature of “Grand Protectorates of the planet?”
When a “scam” is launched and done correctly, like the Green Scam we are presently being pillaged by, it’s all about “perception” not facts to make it successful.
Enron wrote the book on it yet when the time came for them to justify and open their books for an audit, the “house of cards” fell like a chaep rag!
This is in no way insinuating that any malpractice has been perpetrated here but when someone who has been notified that they will be “audited” publicly decries that audit as an unfair gesture or that they are being “targeted unfairly” then we all must wonder what they have to hide?
After all, when the CRA targets individual tax payers on an ongoing “random selection process” do we hear the outcry of indignity such as what follows in this post? NO……….we open our books and hope like hell we haven’t forgot anything that could get us in trouble. At least that’s what an “honest tax payer” does! The same should apply to a CHARITY!
(February 9, 2014) The CBC in an news item February 6, 2014, announced that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) had launched an “audit” of some of Canada’s well known environmental charities and included on that list was Environmental Defence (ED).
Should the audit reveal certain excesses of the rules governing charities ED and perhaps some of the others on the list, may lose their charitable status.
To the Executive Director, Tim Gray and Gillian McEachern, Campaign Director of ED the audit was an “end of the world” event and those views were expressed to the media and on their website. Was it really as catastrophic as they made it out to be? It was painted as a “witch-hunt” on charities!
If one looks at the March 31, 2013 financial report that ED filed with the CRA you will discern that gross revenues generated for that year were $3,848,000 and $898,000 (23.3%) came from tax deductible donations. ED generated more revenue ($1,179,000) from “Other Charities” than from their fan club! Money received from “Other Charities” represented 30.6% of their gross revenue and donations from “Outside Canada” at $687,000 or 17.9% of gross revenues, almost exceeded tax deductible donations.
One of the more alarming parts of this “cry wolf” aspect though is that ED have been extremely “offensive” [Writer’s note: meant to define an aggressive tone] in their past efforts to support political parties whose views lock into theirs! That was particularly noticeable during the last Ontario Provincial election campaign when they used an 8 year old girl to get their message out and also teamed up with unions for the same purpose. That resulted in the writer issuing a complaint to Elections Ontario.
Looking at the lobbying efforts of ED you can also determine they are aggressive with eight (8) people named on the Ontario Lobbyist Registry. Tim Gray is also on the Federal Lobbyist Registry. On the former, ED officials (including McEachern) met twice with the Ontario Minister of Energy in late May 2013 and early June 2013 before Energy Minister Chiarelli launched his “engagement” to seek input on a revision to the Long-Term Energy Plan. In respect to the latter it is laughable that the Federal Registry notes that Tim Gray’s, first effort was focused on: “seeking funds from Consumers Affairs.”
Mr. Gray, whose bio on the ED website touts his accomplishments, indicates he came from the Ivey Foundation where he held the position of “program director” presumably reporting to President, Bruce Lourie. Interestingly enough Lourie was “Past President” of ED and in his position as President of Ivey Foundation wields a lot of power on the grants they dole out. ED in the past has benefited from Ivey grants as noted in an article that provided information on the various grants received by ED from private and public institutions. At that point ED had generated grants from private foundations of $2,804,000 and $3,338,000 from “Public” institutions such as the Trillium Foundation, Friends of the Greenbelt, etc. Ivey Foundation (June 2012) was the largest private granter to ED with $646,000 handed out.
Visiting ED’s website and their annual report you will see the names of those Canadian and foreign foundations, along with the Federal and Provincial taxpayer; Ministries and crown corporations that dole out funds to ED and others. You will also find familiar names as donors (presumably tax deductible) including Bruce Lourie and Summerhill Group which Lourie founded. Other names include Jack Gibbons (Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance), David Love Executive Director, Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, Olivia Chow (MPP), Tom Rand (MaRS Discovery District), etc. etc. all of whom are involved in the same cause with several running or with organizations that are not being audited by the CRA. On the other hand, Tides Canada, one of the seven names on the CRA’s audit file, is listed on ED’s report under “Foundation donors” with three different names and David Suzuki (the David Suzuki Foundation is on the CRA list) is listed as an “Honourary” member of the ED Board of Directors.
So just why are Mr. Gray and Ms. McEachern so upset? One would assume if they lose the “charitable” status they can simply put in a bigger effort to secure grants from the federal, provincial and municipal governments (tax dollars but not “tax deductible”), entice more money from private funds such as the Ivey Foundation or the Oak Foundation (Switzerland) or plead with those “other charities” for more funding. Also if their donors truly believe in ED and their cause, they may be happy to forgo the “tax deductible” benefit.
(February 11, 2014) Riddle me this! What do the Cement Association of Canada, United Steelworkers, Xerox and Middlefields Resource Funds (investors in oil and gas exploration and development) and Environmental Defence have in common?
If you guessed that the first four names were the principal sponsors of the upcoming February 20th Environmental Defence 2014 Gala you were right. Seems like a strange mix with oil and gas, cement, unions, copiers, printers, coming together to sponsor an event that touts Environmental Defence’s ”Mission Statement is; “We are Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.”
If you then said; wait a minute isn’t this the outfit where the Executive Director, Tim Gray, recently said that “his group thinks the complaints process about environmental charities is being driven by Ethical Oil” in respect to the recently announced CRA audit of Environmental Defence and six other environmental charities? And then you said, and didn’t they just post on their blog on February 7, 2014 something about “Energy East”. Well what they said about the latter was:
“This beast of a pipeline project would be larger than Keystone XL and would stretch 4,500 km from Alberta, east across Canada to tanker terminals on the shores of the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy. Capable of shipping 1.1 million barrels of dirty tar sands oil, mostly for export, Energy East would be a massive a carbon delivery machine.
So here are senior officers of Environmental Defence condemning pipelines required to move oil and gas but one of the sponsors for this big event are in the business of investing in companies involved in exploring and extracting fossil fuels and another is involved in promoting cement usage. Sure sounds like at least two of the sponsors could be a couple of those “carbon delivery machine[s]” and one must wonder how do Environmental Defence square that up with their charitable donors?
Environmental Defence also issued a press release February 10, 2014 announcing they would have “spokespeople” in Ottawa available to comment on the Federal Budget on February 11th. They also posted the same press release on their website but that one carried the heading with a slightly different slant–it refers to “Environmental Experts” available to comment on the budget. Perhaps travelling from Toronto to Ottawa will change their status from “experts” to “spokespeople” as they will presumably be using a mode of transportation that entails the use of fossil fuels?