COLUMN: Levant – Funneling money through charities

- May 13th, 2012

Ask and you shall (tax) receipt

Why is our revenue minister allowing Tides Canada to continue its money laundering?

by Ezra Levant

There’s a radical lobby group based in the most left-wing city in North America, namely San Francisco. It’s called the Tides Foundation. It’s where left-wing billionaires funnel their money to promote radical causes.

A few years ago, they decided to colonize Canada. So they set up a branch plant in Vancouver, called Tides Canada Foundation. And they got charitable tax status from Revenue Canada.

That was very important. Because it let them issue charitable tax receipts to donors, in effect making the Canadian government subsidize those donations.

So they got a coveted charity number. In return, they had to abide by the law. Substantially all of their work had to be truly charitable — less than 10% was allowed to be political in any way. And zero percent was allowed to be partisan.

They got that charity status. And so the Trojan Horse was in. And once they got their charity number, they started funnelling money to their favourite left-wing causes — but still using their charitable tax receipts for that.

It’s hard to get a charity number. You have to do something truly charitable. Food banks, schools, hospitals, that kind of thing. It’s not for political groups or groups that “raise awareness.”

You can’t just be a charity in your own mind — it has to be something that everyone in the community believes in. Like food banks. Not like political protests against the oilsands. Or for the oilsands, for that matter. Nothing in public dispute like that.

But Tides isn’t really about boring things like food banks. They love radical left-wing politics. And so once we gave them a charity number, they could hardly wait to share it with all of their friends.

Here’s how it would work. Take a left-wing group that could never, ever qualify as a charity itself — say, the animal rights extremists called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They could never give their donors a charitable tax credit.

No problem. Tides Canada agreed to lend their charity number to PETA. Revenue Canada would never allow that. But Tides just did it.

They weren’t even secret about it. They turned it into a business model. They did it hundreds of times.

Remember Brigette DePape? She was that Senate page who stood in the middle of Parliament holding up a sign saying “Stop Harper.” Well, now she’s part of an extremist lobby group called the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. It’s a political group, obviously. They don’t do public service like helping the elderly, or training seeing-eye dogs. They are a pressure group against the government. That’s fine — but it ain’t a charity.

No problem — Tides Canada is happy to lend their charitable number to DePape’s political group.

Same thing with ForestEthics, the ironically named lobby group that tries to convince American companies to boycott Canadian goods and services that have something to do with the oilsands. It’s anti-Canadian sabotage. It’s not illegal — even idiots have the right to free speech. But it sure isn’t charity.

Well, no problem. Up until last month, Tides Canada was happy to lend their charity number to ForestEthics to fund its job-killing campaign. (ForestEthics announced in April it was splitting from Tides Canada — and giving up its charitable status — so it can take on more political activity). There’s a term for this: Money laundering.

Big donors — including big U.S. donors — used Tides Canada’s charity number to pay less tax than if they gave the money directly to non-charitable groups.

Tides Canada was literally renting out its charity number to non-charities — they charged a 10% commission. For that fee, they allowed political donors to get tax shelters they didn’t deserve. And to even remain anonymous while doing it.

So non-charitable donations to political groups were being laundered through Tides Canada’s charity number — depriving Canadian taxpayers of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars in taxes, and funnelling it straight to groups who would never, on their own, be allowed to give a charitable receipt.

None of this is in dispute. The only question left is, why is Revenue Minister Gail Shea allowing it?

Categories: Contributor Columns

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3 comments

  1. DarbyCar says:

    What a silly little man you are.

  2. Andrea says:

    What an astute normal-sized man you are.

  3. Allan Sand says:

    Ezra has touched a sore spot. There are over twenty thousand registered charities in Canada. Only a small fraction of the large charities actually do charitable work. The majority funnel only a small percentage to actual charitable work; the majority of the money going to ‘overhead’ like attending conferences.

    As regards Tides Canada; what Ezra has described seems not only unethical but illegal and the Minister needs to act immediately. I for one will be writing to the minister today.

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