Photo: Some sober second thoughts on... Martian funding?

(Credit: NASA)

By Ian Hanington

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.

March 15, 2012

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Apr 02, 2012
4:59 PM

After years of doing a poor job of posing as an objective journalist, Duffy lost any shred of credibility he might have had when he accepted his patronage appointment to the senate. The only anti-Canadians that I can see are in the Conservative government. They have steadily turned back the clock on Canadian progress, returning us to the days when we were a nation whose employment was largely rooted in the extraction of commodities and the selling of them without any value added. As a result of Conservative policies the future of this country looks grim. In a few decades time we'll have little control over our own resources, and with the bulk of jobs tided to those resources domestic policies for the country will be set by foreign interests. Everything from wages to the environment will be decided elsewhere, and by then it'll be too late to do anything about it.

It seems we now live in an ideological dictatorship wherein anyone holding a contrary view is immediately branded an enemy of the state. If the Conservatives truly believed in the morass of legistlation and initiatives they have been forcing down the throat of the Canadian public they wouldn't resort to such infantile and vacuous vitriol when questioned on it. The fact that they act threatened and so viciously attack opponents suggests they know very well that the foundation of their policies is weak and won't bear detailed and objective scrutiny.

Mar 22, 2012
12:23 PM

Thank you all for your kind words and your ongoing support!

Mar 16, 2012
2:58 PM

Really? I find the only people in this story not credible is the Conservative Gov't of Canada, if it weren't for you and your fellow radicals I would be completely ashamed to be called a canadian, they have done a lot of damaged worldwide and here in Canada with they're treatment of the environment, first nations and anyone who doesn't share their narrow capitalist views. Thank you and all other organizations for standing firm, thank you from the bottom of my heart

Mar 16, 2012
10:54 AM

To say that environmentalists are anti-canadian is ridiculous. Environmentalist fight for the country, not with guns but by the power of words, research and and man power. They are probably the most canadian of us all. They fight endlessly for our future, generally without pay and without a pat on the back.

We need groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation to keep the public informed and to keep research going. Without these groups the world will stop listening, and we will be left with nothing but a poisoned husk at the end of the day.

Mar 16, 2012
10:44 AM

I am against the tar sands project and the pipeline across our beautiful country. Oil/bitumen/drilling/fracking companies cause poison to get into water/ecosystems and there is no need when there are alternative sources of power/fuel freely abailable to us ie: the water car in Japan, or an invention that turns plastic garbage back into fuel. We can even make a type of plastic from hemp/plant fibre. I love my mother Earth, I am not a terrorist. Is the government a corporation now, that greed and profit are all that count? Is it ok to destroy land that many native cultures have kept pristine? Does it make the conservatives proud that they are being looked at by the world as an evil empire that is stubbornly trying to commit genocide on it's native people by poisoning their water and their land? It makes me ashamed of the Canadian government.

Mar 16, 2012
9:49 AM

I am so proud of being a Canadian…and it is because of people like you…this is the heart of who we truly are, caring and compassionate for each other, the world and our environment! I am deeply greatful for all your precious work!

Mar 16, 2012
8:59 AM

When I think of those who call Canadians who believe in maintaining a healthy environment anti-Canadian or radicals, terrorists etc.., I find it difficult in light of the current junk-economics based policies they support, to envision these people as being draped in the Canadian flag.

They're looking more like the emperor with no clothes by the day!

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