To the Editor,
Re: Environmentalism 101 for dummies, B.C. Views, April 19.
Tom Fletcher scorns the environmental movement and gloats approvingly to see David Suzuki, among other environmentalists, hamstrung by threats of charitable status removal by the federal Conservatives if their organizations indulge in “political activities”.
Strangely, it appears that charitable organizations that agree with the Conservatives’ ideology are not considered political.
For example, the Fraser Institute, a registered charity eligible for tax exemptions which atdvocates for ‘free markets’, unregistered guns, private health care and education is not considered to be political, neither does its alleged funding by Exxon Mobile cause the same distress as the Suzuki Foundation.
An even bigger oversight is the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, still listed as a charity under the name “Manning Foundation for Democratic Education” by Revenue Canada. Their home page states its objective as “Building Canada’s Conservative Movement”; surely a political objective.
The courts have already defined “political activity “as seeking to further the interests of a particular party or candidate for political office.”
As none of the activities of any environmental organizations that I know of meet that criteria they should not be facing threats, especially while the blatantly political Manning Centre is allowed to continue to exist on the taxpayers’ dime. A great example of building democracy.
Once again, the Conservative government, in its fervor to silence dissent, has overreached the law.
What is really strange is the applause of this illegitimate government interference in the free activities and speech of its citizens by libertarian conservative supporters such as Fletcher.
Strange that they should be so supportive of arbitrary government control.