The recent controversy over how environmental opposition groups and NGO’s (Non Government Organizations) spend the money they’ve received as donations has resulted in a well know casualty.
It was reported this week that David Suzuki has resigned from the Board of Directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. Dr. Suzuki, now seventy-six years old, has been the most controversial spokesperson that Canada has ever seen on all kinds of environmental issues. He is the author of over forty books, is a television host and a well known, paid speaker.
The Canada Revenue Agency has announced they will have a close look at these environmental groups to see that funds are not being directed to political campaigns opposing projects in Canada. I understand that groups like Greenpeace, the Suzuki Foundation and others can allocate approximately 20% of funding to political activities.
These groups are crying loudly, saying they are being singled out unfairly and that they do not engage in political activities. Yeah, and I am from Missouri!!! In my experience, the single most important objective of organizations like Greenpeace and others is to ‘politicize the process’ … period.
These organizations and, on many occasions over the years, Dr. Suzuki himself, have used inflammatory tactics, not based on facts, to pressure politicians and the general public. Projects and causes include the seal hunt, nuclear power and now the two major pipeline projects in Western Canada and the USA.
In my view the government, in questioning whether these groups are staying within the law regarding the expenditure of funds donated by the public, is just levelling the playing field that has been tilted in their favour for too long.
In a speech I gave this month in Regina to the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction and Road Builders Association, I questioned whether the environment opposition is a “movement” or if it has now become an “industry”.
Millions and millions of dollars are being spent to oppose projects in Canada and the USA. Thousands of people are employed directly by foundations and other organizations as they lead protests and organize sophisticated public relations campaigns. It is an industry. It is only fair for everyone that the government ensure the donated funds are being spent within the law.
With all due respect Dr. Suzuk,i with his books, TV shows and paid speeches, has also become an industry over the years.
The fact that Dr. Suzuki feels compelled to resign from the Board of his Foundation in order to “speak freely” as he is quoted as saying, gives me pause to think that the government is on to something.
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