(UPDATED!) Robocall Scandal: Did OpenMedia.ca Break The Law?

UPDATE: You will see in the comments below that Dana Larsen has alerted me to a potential inaccuracy in this article regarding nonprofit vs charitable organizations. I have confirmed that LeadNow & the Council of Canadians are nonprofits and therefore not restricted by these laws. But, OpenMedia most certainly are…

David Suzuki speaking during the first week of Occupy Vancouver..

I wrote back in March about a section in the federal budget titled “Enhancing Transparency & Accountability for Charities”. This provides $8 million earmarked for the CSA to better audit the political activities of charities and improve the transparency of their foreign sources…

This section was a shot across the bow to non-profit organizations, reminding them that they are breaking the law in how they are handling donations. It didn’t take long to see the aftershocks begin, David Suzuki resigned from the Suzuki Foundation a couple of days later, and questions are now being asked about the Koch brothers donating money to the neocon Fraser Institute.

There was an article in yesterday’s Globe & Mail about political funding where they uncovered that 1% of Canadian nonprofits (450 of 85,000) have funded political activism for a total of $116,252,905. Some of the major organizations they mention include Suzuki Foundation, TIDES Canada & EthicalOil.org. It seems this new scandal affects organizations on both the left & the right.

Then, yesterday, an article comes out in the Globe & Mail about the Suzuki Foundation being questioned for their involvement in partisan political activities.

Canadian charities seem cursed to live in interesting times

This brings us to the issue of the Robocall Rallies- which have, at least in Toronto & Vancouver, been incredibly partisan events. Rather than call for a ‘full investigation now”, they quickly mutated to a “new election now”. And, much of their rhetoric has been about getting Stephen Harper out of office.

I wrote three weeks ago about OpenMedia.ca, an organization that has deep relationships with many unions and organizations that support Black Bloc tactics. The first Robocall Rally in Vancouver was organized by Sarah Buehler, who was an employee of OpenMedia at the time- and this rally was at least 90% about throwing Harper out of office (with an additional 10% asking for an investigation.) And, as a nonprofit, it seems that OpenMedia crossed the line by organizing a partisan event.

As you can see, OpenMedia are funded through the TIDES foundation’s money laundering operation where people can donate through TIDES and get a tax reciept. This means that they are not allowed to get involved in partisan politics.

It is also very curious how if you search OpenMedia’s site on Google with the word “Harper” you will find 89,000 hits!

It truly astounds me when I hear good people like Suzuki claiming that the government is ‘bullying’ by insisting that his organization abide by our country’s laws. Regardless of their intentions, good or bad, each of these organizations are breaking laws to obtain their goals. They complain loudly when others commit crimes, but complain even louder when they are called on their own.

Folks, it is time for us to all call our MP’s and register some complaints. Because,  if we let charities commit crimes – for any reason- nothing will ever get better…

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6 responses to “(UPDATED!) Robocall Scandal: Did OpenMedia.ca Break The Law?

  1. This is wrong, you’re confused about the difference between “charities” and “non-profit societies.”

    Charities can only spend a tiny fraction of their funding on political activity. This is because they can give out tax receipts for donations made to them.

    Non-profit societies can do whatever political activities they want. Because donations to a non-profit are not tax-deductible.

    • Hi Dana,

      We’ve never met, but as with Tezporah Berman, I feel a certain affinity with you- the three of us have all been the target of high-profile bullying from members of the NDP!

      Thanks for the correction. I’ll do some more research on this issue and determine if these organizations are fundraising using tax receipts or not. Until this is complete, I’ll mark a disclaimer at the top of the article.

      Cheers,
      -Greg

  2. Please watch this video in whole and then fast forward to 5:18 and watch the part on charitable societies: http://youtu.be/5Knz100ldLM

  3. seriously look at how these “non-profits” operate they are just as bad in my books. A bunch of manipulative shills pushing their agenda upon others, groups owned by a 1%er who thinks he is saving the planet…….. for himself!