Thursday, May 10, 2012

If It Walks Like A Duck

Isn't it interesting, that with all this talk about "foreign interests" infiltrating environmental charities- attempting to influence our political discourse- the ONLY organization on the top ten list that can be classified as "conservation" in scope is Ducks Unlimited:
The Conservatives have taken some Canadian environmental charities to task for accepting money from wealthy foreign donors to finance their campaigns against oil and gas projects. But tax returns filed to the Canada Revenue Agency show most of the foreign money that fills the coffers of Canadian charities does not go to the environmental groups now in Tory crosshairs. An analysis by The Canadian Press of charities' annual tax returns found only one of the top 10 foreign-funded charities could be considered a conservation group. That group is Ducks Unlimited Canada. Tax returns show it has reported receiving more than $33 million over the years from foreign sources, making it the fifth-largest recipient of money from outside the country. Ducks Unlimited Canada says it receives foreign funding from its sister organization in the United States, U.S. federal and state governments, corporations, private foundations and individual contributors.
I have nothing against Ducks Unlimited Canada, they do good conservation work, even if much of the impetus comes from wanting to shoot birds, whatever, that's your thing I suppose, who am I to judge. Although, it is fascinating to me that a group which has recently came out in favour of the government's controversial changes to The Fisheries Act leads the conservation charge in terms of "foreign" money flowing into a Canadian charity. As well, Harper has promised a "wildlife advisory panel", and guess who is involved:
“This wildlife advisory panel would be comprised of representatives from various hunting, angling and conservation organizations, like Ducks Unlimited, to ensure government decisions regarding issues like endangered species, wetland protection and nature conservation are based on solid science and balanced advice,” said Harper.
I don't know about you, but there is a certain unease in having a foreign backed group advising on domestic issues concerning the environment? How does Peter Kent, Joe Oliver, feel about that? Maybe someone should ask them, since they raised "foreign interests", perhaps the top benefactor would be on their radar when they cobbled together this comprehensive legislation with NO political angle whatsoever? Again, I support the good work of Ducks Unlimited, they do much to protect wetlands. But, the Harper government is very concerned about foreign money being used to influence domestic discussions, so I SHARE their legitimate non partisan concerns and would support any audit to ensure that activities meet obligations. I'm sure my like minded Conservative friends would agree, because these new rules are ethical, not political in their genesis.


Holly Stick said...

This made me wonder if they DUC has a connection to Vivian Krause so I googled: "ducks unlimited" krause and found this interesting blog post:

I also wonder if Vivian has any connection to Krause Excavating in Wisconsin which does work for Ducks Unlimited:

Maybe it's just a coincidence of names, but it is interesting that they seem to make much more fuss about Tides when DUC gets more foreign funding:

I don't hjave time to look carefully at all this stuff right now but maybe someone who reads this will.

Steve V said...

I'm not disparaging DUC in any way, just riffing off Kent, Oliver and THEIR concern about foreign donations.

Holly Stick said...

Well they have connections to Suncor, Transcanada and other oil companies, according to my first link, which may explain their support for changing the Fisheries Act. It raises questions.

Steve V said...

My only real point, it is kind of funny that this gov't is concerned about foreign money influencing Canada and they appoint the biggest benefactor to the wildlife advisory panel. Really does speak to the absurdity of their arguments, as well as decided bias being the true spirit behind their thrust.