19 April 2012

Will the Fraser Institute be audited?

Now that the federal government has allocated $8-million for the auditing of charitable groups ostensibly to ensure they stay within the Charities Act, one naturally wonders if this will include all charities or be limited to environmental groups, the bĂȘte noire of the Conservative/oil industry coalition.

The Fraser Institute is a case in point. Although having charitable status, it serves principally as a propaganda vehicle for right-wing views. It is funded by corporations and other business interests, including business-oriented charitable funds such as the Donner Canadian Foundation, a group controlled by the American Donner heirs. It has been referred to as the "lifeblood of conservative research" in Canada.

An audit of the Fraser Institute would be in order for a number of reasons. For instance, to ensure its work is primarily educational as it claims or primarily political propaganda which it more closely resembles. Also, the public should know just which corporations are insinuating themselves into our "democratic" process by funding the Institute, particularly if they are foreign corporations. This, at a time of increasing corporate influence in society, is almost as important to know as which corporations are contributing to political parties. And do contributions from American-controlled charitable funds such as the Donner Foundation meet the requirements of the Charities Act?

These are important questions. I await the audit.

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