July 31, 2012
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Re: “Charity funding cuts ‘chilling’” (Letters To the Editor, Viking Weekly Review)
I would like to take the time to respond to baseless accusations made by the Liberal Party in a recent Letter to the Editor. I would also like to highlight our Conservative Government`s action to stand up for fairness among charities.
In the letter in question, Liberal MP John McKay and Senator Grant Mitchell deemed the Government’s supposed “charity funding cuts ‘chilling.’” These accusations are nothing new from the Liberal Party. They’re also concerning. Canadians should recall that under their administration, the Liberal Party did nothing to address fairness among organizations that demand such profound trust from Canadians. As always, the Liberal Party is standing up only for those that coincide with their political agenda – not Canadians generally.
Canadians only have to look to the charity ForestEthics – a radical group which has collected tremendous fiscal advantages at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, but is not charitable in the least. By attacking the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, ForestEthics has demonstrated its determination to stifle economic growth, a choice in-line with the Liberal Party. This Government has been the first government to take a stand against blatantly partisan activities within charitable organizations.
Recently, concerns have been raised that some charities may not be respecting the rules regarding political activities. There have also been calls for greater public transparency related to the political activities of charities, including the extent to which they may be funded by foreign sources. Under the Income Tax Act, charities may devote a limited amount of their resources to non-partisan political activities that are related to their charitable purposes. However, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes measures to ensure that charities devote their resources primarily to charitable, rather than political, activities, and to enhance public transparency and accountability in this area. Our Plan highlights important measures that will be implemented: our Government will enhance the Canada Revenue Agency’s education and compliance activities with respect to political activities by charities, and improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which these are funded by foreign sources.
It is vital to remember that charities play a crucial role in societal development and the creation of public policy within Canada. Canadians have always shown their confidence in charities, and have donated generously in support of their valuable activities. However, they want to be assured that charities are using their resources appropriately and responsibly. With these new measures, our Government has shown its commitment to fairness, and its dedication to improved confidence in the charitable sector. The organizations that the Liberal Party stands up for are not charities at all. Legitimate organizations carrying out legitimate charitable activities have no reason to do anything differently under these new regulations.
Leon Benoit, MP