NPA accepts political contribution from registered charity connected to Fraser Institute chairman

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      Today, the Non-Partisan Association released its list of contributions, which include a $10,000 donation from the Peter & Joanne Brown Foundation.

      The directors are Peter Brown, his wife Joanne, and their son James.

      Peter Brown is chairman of the Fraser Institute, which is a free-market think tank based in Vancouver. 

      There is nothing in the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act prohibiting registered charities from donating to municipal candidates or parties, so the foundation's contribution is not illegal under provincial law.

      However, it is illegal for registered charities to make political contributions to provincial parties like the B.C. Liberals or the B.C. NDP.

      According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the Peter & Joanne Brown Foundation's ongoing programs "contribute to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education, medical research, religious cause, public service, and other purposes which are beneficial to the community as a whole in a way the law regards as charitable".

      The foundation reported total revenue of $739,271 and total expenditures of $651,661 in 2013.

      It did not carry on any political activities last year, according to documents filed with the Canada Revenue Agency.

      On the form, Canada Revenue Agency states: A registered charity may pursue political activities only if the activities are non-partisan, related to its charitable purposes, and limited in extent. A political activity is any activity that explicitly communicates to the public that a law, policy or decision of any level of government inside or outside Canada should be retained, opposed, or changed.

      Brown, founder of Canaccord Financial (now Canaccord Genuity), is no stranger to politics. He was a long-time supporter of former premier Gordon Campbell and used to be major fundraiser for Social Credit when Bill Bennett was premier. Brown also worked behind the scenes to keep the right united behind the B.C. Liberals before the last provincial election.

      He's not the only Fraser Institute director who's supporting the NPA.

      Fraser Institute director and former vice-chair Hassan Khosrowshahi, his wife Nezat, and his company Inwest Investments collectively donated $40,000 to the NPA.

      Another Fraser Institute director, Rod Senft, gave the NPA $10,000.  




      Nov 7, 2014 at 3:23pm

      The donation may not be illegal, but to retain charitable status you have to restrict political activities to 10% of expenditures, no?

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      Nov 7, 2014 at 4:07pm

      Hey, Spartikus, good question. And the answer is, if your "charity" is part of the Fraser Institute circle of big money power brokers who really run this country, it can do pretty much whatever it wants without endangering its status or risking a CRA investigation. Meanwhile, every tiny little non-profit in Canada lives in fear of the CRA's wrath. Check out those dangerous bird-watchers in Ontario who had the nerve to send a letter to a federal cabinet minister about the impact of pesticides on the bee population. I'm no big Vision fan, but the NPA scares the bejeezuz out of me.

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      Nov 7, 2014 at 4:13pm

      Given Kirk Lapoint's claim that Vision is beholden to others can (pot to kettle) Mr LaPoint assure voters the Fraser Institute will have no sway over his decisions should he be elected?

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      Nov 7, 2014 at 5:55pm

      Fraser Institute director Khosrowshahi is linked to more than $40K in donations to the NPA. In addition to personal donations from him and his wife, Persis Holdings (which he founded: gave $20K; Wesbild, the investment arm of Persis donated $10K; Inwest gave $20K, and a quick web search also shows Khosrowshahi also looks to be tied to Burke Mountain Ltd Partnership ($10K) and Hunterhorn Holdings ($10K). Total: 90K

      Khosrowshahi was also one of the signees on the Vancouver Aquarium's open letter to the Park Board from July 30 last year:

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      Nov 7, 2014 at 10:59pm

      The donation appears to be illegal under the Income Tax Act. A charity cannot be engaged in "direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office." This is a prohibited activity for charities -- regardless of the percentage of the budget.

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      Darcy Hula

      Nov 8, 2014 at 12:49am

      Sounds like some good-old-boy NPA-tism!

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      "free market" is a misnomer

      Nov 9, 2014 at 1:35pm

      "free marketeers" depend on generous handouts from the public trough in the form of
      - massive tax breaks and government turning a blind eye to offshoring profits and tax avoidance
      - infrastructure costs paid for by taxpayers
      - having governments import foreign workers for them (largely at taxpayers' expense)
      - having governments lobby and advertise for them at taxpayers expense
      - toxic spills and environmental cleanup costs covered by taxpayers

      Trickle down free marketeers are essentially freeloaders. They want as much as they can get for as little return as possible to the society.

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