Canadian senators are in the midst of a strange inquiry into international funding for Canadian charitable organizations. To be clear, they appear to be focused not on charitable groups whose positions they agree with, but only on organizations that have spoken against building a foreign-funded pipeline through pristine wilderness so that tar sands bitumen can be loaded onto supertankers and shipped through precarious waterways and across the sea to China for refining.
The government has already labelled the tens of thousands of Canadians who question the pipeline as "radicals" and listed them as potential terrorists, but its appointed senators recently kicked things up a notch.
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Senator Don Plett, former president of the federal Conservative Party, asked his fellow senators, "If environmentalists are willing to accept money from Martians, where would they draw the line on where they receive money from? Would they take money from Al Qaeda, the Hamas or the Taliban?"
Former TV reporter Mike Duffy went on to charge that organizations including the David Suzuki Foundation, the Packard Foundation, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, the Hewlett Foundation, Ecojustice Canada, Bullitt Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Tides Canada are "all anti-Canadian."
For the record, the David Suzuki Foundation gets more than 90 per cent of its funding from Canadians and from six to seven per cent from international sources. We're proud of that, just as we're proud that countless Canadians support charitable work in other parts of the world. We also have an Ethical Gift Acceptance Policy that specifically prohibits us from accepting Martian currency. (Well, not really. We'd probably accept donations from ethical Martians who support our goals of ensuring Canadians have clean air, water, and land.)
So, what do you think? Are we anti-Canadian? If you think so, maybe there's a Senate appointment in your future. If you don't, consider supporting our work and the work of our allies. We'd be more than happy to increase our donations from Canadian sources. We're heartened by the fact that so many of you already contribute, with many of you donating monthly. But as you can see, we have our work cut out for us.