Vivian Krause blog attracts interest of Canada Revenue Agency, RCMP, and Tides Canada

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Politicians can get irritated when asked about where they get money to fund their reelection campaigns.

I can recall former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell once announcing at the start of a news conference that he wouldn't take questions from me. Later that afternoon, he trashed me in a CBC Radio interview with Stephen Quinn.

I believe it's because he suspected I was going to ask who was funding his new party, which eventually became known as Vision Vancouver.

Now, Vision mayor Gregor Robertson is getting pestered with questions from Vivian Krause, a North Shore blogger and researcher who has been looking at his party's fundraising.

In letter to Robertson in late October, Krause pointed out that in 2011, Vision received three notable donations:

• $27,500 from Renewal Partners. This company, which funded Robertson's Happy Planet juice company, received $286,002 from a registered charity called Tides Canada in 2010. The U.S. Tides Foundation paid Renewal Partners $257,000 in 2011, according to Krause's examination of U.S. tax returns.

• $18,230 from Interdependent Investments Ltd. This company received $14,828 in 2011 from Endswell Foundation, which is a registered charity. Interdependent Investments and Renewal Partners are tied to Joel Solomon, a friend of the mayor, as are the Tides and Endswell foundations.

• $25,000 from Strategic Communications, which is run by the mayor's friend and pollster, Bob Penner.

Krause asked the mayor whether Vision Vancouver "may have received campaign finance from these charities indirectly, through Renewal Partners, Interdependent Investments Ltd. and a series of P.R. firms including Strategic Communications".

It's illegal for registered charities to be engaged in partisan political activities.

Robertson was a director of Tides Canada from 2002 to 2004 before being elected as an NDP MLA in 2005; his chief of staff, Mike Magee, was a senior policy adviser for Tides Canada from 2002 to 2007 before joining the mayor's office in 2008.

Krause has been raising questions in letters like these for quite some time, which has led to her being vilified by the mayor's supporters as being some sort of stooge of Big Oil.

Robertson himself claimed in an interview with the Straight that there was "a well-organized campaign to besmirch" what his party is doing and organizations like Tides, which are "doing really important work for the community and the country".

In a 2011 article posted on the Tides Canada blog, former NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner—who ran against Robertson in 2008—defended Tides for "bringing together diverse interests to forge a new economy that will last well past the current oil boom".

But this time, something unusual has taken place after one of Krause's letters to the mayor's office.

She sent the Straight a printout showing that someone using a Canada Revenue Agency computer has viewed numerous articles on her blog in November, including some dealing with the U.S. Tides Foundation's purchase of Hanks Beach on Cortes Island.

A year ago, I wrote an article about Krause's research into this site. It's immediately adjacent to an 82-acre ocean-front property owned by a company listed by Robertson on his financial-disclosure form.

Just because someone from Canada Revenue Agency is looking at an article on Krause's blog is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Tax-department staff aren't the only ones visiting the website. On November 20, the RCMP in Ottawa was on her blog for a half-hour, downloading her recent letter to the mayor. It's worth repeating: this is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Curiously, someone at Tides Canada also visited Krause's blog this week, downloading an astonishing 170 documents, according to her records.


Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

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17 Comments

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RealityCheck

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:10am

This problem has been in the public eye for almost five years now, while The Straight has been softballing Vision because they mostly share your politics. A U.S. special interest group creating and financing a political party to run its own personal city isn't any different from the type of corruption that's come to light in Montreal. Different type of mob, but the same result.

But for the Straight to suddenly cry out "Oh...look what's happening here!" after all these years really rings hollow. You sound like the constable from Casablanca..."I'm shocked! There's gambling going on here!".

4 5 Rating: -1

Charlie Smith

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:24am

Reality Check,

This isn't the first time we've written about this situation, as the links in the article demonstrate. And while this has been in the public eye for many years, nobody from the Canada Revenue Agency or any policing agencies or the Crown counsel's office has publicly declared that there's anything wrong with this. In light of this and if this doesn't change in the future, it's a bit of a stretch to compare this to "the type of corruption that's come to light in Montreal".

Charlie Smith

4 9 Rating: -5

SPY vs SPY

Nov 21, 2012 at 11:08am

We need some very simple laws in Canada, Governing all Elections. Federal, Provincial and Municipal and the Laws should state, That only Canadian Citizens may contribute to Political Parties and Campaigns.

There should also be a cap on how much can be personally contributed in any given year and a cap on how much a Political Party and Candidate may receive!

There should be laws Prohibiting the contribution of money to any Candidate or Party from outside of their jurisdiction.

That is no money from outside of any riding, may be sent to that riding.

How Evil is Outside and Foreign Money you ask, it came out at the Mulroney / Schreiber Inquiery, that money from the Province of Bavaria in West Germany was used to get rid of Joe Clark.

Canada for Canadians I say, as far as Governing this Country.

And Corporations, Charities and Unions, are NOT PEOPLE.

Canadian Politicians may have to revert to the one event they fear more than anything on Earth, Public debates 2 - 3 per day during a campaign, so that the Canadian Voter Public, can have at them in an Uncensored, Unscripted, Un-manipulated Manner. All Candidate meetings every 2 days and if you don't show up, Your OUT. Period!!

Raw Politics is what the People want!!

5 6 Rating: -1

Justavoter

Nov 21, 2012 at 11:48am

If someone is looking into Vision maybe they might want to "ask questions" why a certain developer architect team seems to building every damn building in the city and that their projects always get rammed through over any and all objections. Just curious as to what's going on there.

9 4 Rating: +5

Enough Already

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:38pm

I would ask that everyone who reads this article e-mail the Mayor and Council and ask that at Minimum, Mayor Robertson stand down, until an RCMP investigation into Vision Vancouver be completed.

It seems that there is no answer to the Question, How Low Can You Go??

9 7 Rating: +2

monty/that'sme

Nov 21, 2012 at 1:37pm

How about a curb on the amount those greedy developers contribute to election campaigns? Looks as if Metro is controlled by companies of this ilk. Certainly, Delta, Surrey, Vancouver, Port Coquitlam councils appear to suffer from the delusions that they are elected to serve the building industry and NOT the humble taxpayers who are finding it more and more difficult to pay for food, rent or mortgages not to mention everything else.

6 4 Rating: +2

John West

Nov 21, 2012 at 1:58pm

Anyone who is paying attention knows that Tides is a George Soros foundation and phony operation in the service of UN Agenda 21. These obsessed lunatics are determined to destroy human freedoms, reduce world population and establish a global feudal system that will exist to serve the elitists who are behind this movement.. Check out Agenda 21 on the UNs website and tell me how you like it.

8 8 Rating: 0

Rob Chipman

Nov 21, 2012 at 2:21pm

Charlie:

Reality check didn't say you hadn't written about it. He said you'd played softball because you share Vision's politics. I think he has a point.

Who's the putative target of any hypothetical CRA or RCMP investigation? 50/50 chance it's Krause! Lets face it- she's the whistle blowing outsider. Tides and Robertson are the plugged in ones. :-)

1 6 Rating: -5

sanityplease

Nov 21, 2012 at 3:15pm

Maybe Vivian's the one being investigated..

3 6 Rating: -3

No wonder

Nov 21, 2012 at 5:23pm

How else are you supposed to get a pro-environment government into power without some foreign money? Canadians don't give a fuck! "Rip it up and ship it out" is BC's motto - unless "it" is directly visible from my condo, that is. Gotta have those views, bitch! Flip flip flip!

5 8 Rating: -3
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