Thanks to all of you who responded to our call to write to Canadian senators and MPs, telling them to stop attacking people who care about the environment. Within days, more than 10,000 of you sent letters. Judging from the reaction, your letters made a difference.
It didn't take long, though, for some media pundits and senators to misinterpret the issue, charging, among other things, that we are afraid of scrutiny.
We wouldn't have a problem with Sen. Nicole Eaton's inquiry into the "Involvement of Foreign Foundations in Canada's Domestic Affairs" if we thought it were a sincere attempt to examine the wide range of foreign involvement in Canada's affairs, or even the donations to all Canadian charities from international sources.
We believe in transparency, which is why the David Suzuki Foundation publishes on its website details about who donates, how donations are used, and our policies to ensure that money comes from ethical sources — something some of the senators failed to notice.
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That some senators are willing to sling mud and make inaccurate accusations without even checking the websites of the non-profits being criticized is enough to make any thinking person question the motives behind this Senate inquiry.
Rather than fostering an honest discussion about foreign influence in matters of the national public interest, which would include the selling of our resources and resource industries, the aim seems to be to demonize and silence people and organizations that question their policies.
We believe charitable organizations of all kinds have made great contributions to Canada and Canadians. Environmental groups have protected human health, natural areas, and numerous species of plants and animals when governments and the corporate sector failed to take into account important values. We've seen it in everything from the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer to the Species at Risk Act.
It may not be convenient when hundreds of thousands of Canadians demand a real discussion on massive pipeline or resource projects before the government rubber-stamps them. But that's what democracy's about.
Read more about the Senate inquiry and reaction to your letters:
Transcripts of Senate debate:
Sen. Grant Mitchell's response:
Sen. Nicole Eaton news release:
Environment Minister Peter Kent reaction:
Peter Foster Financial Post article: