The federal government’s March 29th budget announced that Canada will soon cease to produce and use pennies. Since this announcement, Canadians have been rushing to implement Finance Minister Jim Flaherty solution to fund Canadian charities: “Free your pennies from their prisons at home and donate them to charity.” Many lamented that you will no longer be offered “a penny for your thoughts.”
The fine print in the budget’s Notice of Ways and Means reveals that the government does not want those pennies to be spent on political activities. Weeks before the budget was announced, Senator Doug Finley made the Conservative Party’s political agenda clear when he told the senate, “it should never be considered a charitable act to attack Canada’s oil sands.” The government wants to block funding to environmental charities, particularly those that engage in political activities. Charities play an important role in helping Canadians form value judgments about the merits and flaws of proposed social, economic and environmental plans and solutions. The proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act are intended to reduce the flow of pennies that support these important voices in public discourse. Canadians need to recognize that the government is much more intent on extinguishing “thought” in the charitable sector than extinguishing the penny in everyday commerce.
Tags: Budget 2012, Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, charitable giving, Conservative Party of Canada, CRA, donation, Environmentalism, Federal Budget, fundraising, Pennies, Political Activities, Public Debate
Categories: Charity, Environment, Law, Politics