Thursday, February 12, 2015

When is a Non-Profit organisation not?

           The message from the Harper government has been quite clear. They promised transparent government but what we got are information flows that accord with the Conservatives' probusiness bias. Thus if climate scientists produce results which do not accord with the desire of the petrochemical industry to maximize profits, they find themselves defunded or forced to go through a humiliating censorship before being allowed to speak to the press.

http://transparencycanada.blogspot.ca/2012/04/decline-and-fall-of-canadian-science.html 


             Scientists working in the environmental sciences have been particularly hurt. The Experimental Lakes project in Ontario was a federally funded program that studied the long term effects of atmospheric pollution (which Harper's friends, the Oil Patch, produce in large quantities). Harper cut funding to the world renowned long term study of freshwater ecosystems. Private interests had to bail out the project and provide it with long term funding. But why, for a totally petty saving, axe a world class long term study? Their work was recognized of great value around the world. Finding a sponsor probably was not all that hard: it's the principle - and the pettiness of the Harper crew - that galls and irks.. 

The following link gives links to previous related blog articles.




The following link is a comment by two earth scientists on the resolution of the Experimental Lakes project funding cut:



  
               The saga continues. Recently Dying with Dignity a group advocating for the right to die with medical assistance (euthanasia, if you wish..) lost its charitable status, presumably because it advocates for causes that Harper's political base doesn't like. Fundamentalist Christians in particular probably don't take to kindly to this one. 

               The up front, publically presented, rationale as usual is budget cutting to reduce taxes and government bureaucracy. (The do so want to help the harried taxpayer, don't they?) The Harper government has the right to revue the tax exempt status of nonprofit organisations in the light of a law which it passed. The (stated) goal is prevent "excessive" policy advocacy on the part of pressure groups, using nonprofit organisations as "fronts". On paper it sounds nice. In practice, that's one cool potential tool for imposing censorship, if there ever was one! (Especially if you are willing to bend or ignore your own rules to control the information flow..)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/dying-with-dignity-loses-charitable-status-after-political-activity-probe-1.2919706

                  As always, the devil lies in the details. A nagging question. Why are not organisations which support causes favorable to the Harper (neo)Conservative government not as stringently audited as organisations who support causes not so favored by the Harperites?

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2015/01/23/why-havent-any-harper-friendly-charities-been-scrutinized-keenan.html

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