David Suzuki (shown here with Rick Mercer) better get on that bus and head for the border, because Revenue Canada is chasing him again, subjecting the David Suzuki Foundation to its third audit. "I am being hounded by the current government because I have a foundation that has my name and so they're trying to take away my charitable [status]," he said in a speech on Monday. He told the transit trade group he had to preface his speech with a tax-auditor-satisfying caveat. "Everything I say is my personal opinion, has nothing to do with my foundation."
His personal opinions include saying that Ottawa's plan to fight global warming is a "national embarrassment" and of the government's energy policy: " it's not a strategy, it's a sham."
But we know that governments have rules about using the neutral bureaucracy for political purposes, right?
According to Canadian rules, Charities have wide latitude to comment on politics, provided they don't endorse parties or candidates and can devote up to 10 per cent of their resources for non-partisan political activities. The agency says this spending can be undertaken "to influence law, policy, and public opinion on matters related to its charitable purposes." Among the permitted activities, groups can meet with elected officials, hold conferences, workshops, lectures and rallies, and mount letter-writing campaigns about issues.
"Certainly I try very, very hard not to be partisan," Mr. Suzuki said, "but I still will criticize government for policy. I think that's the right of all people." ::Globe and Mail