Groups Opposing Enbridge Worried They May Lose Their Charitable Status


Read this story form The Globe and Mail about the fears some environmental organizations face of losing their charitable status as a punishment for speaking up against the controversial proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. (Jan 13, 2012)

Environmentalists are fearful that the Conservative government is planning to limit their advocacy role after Prime Minister Stephen Harper complained that groups flush with “foreign money” are undermining a controversial pipeline review.

Mr. Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver stoked activists’ fears in recent days by lashing out at environmental groups that have taken money from U.S. donors to build opposition to the $6.6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry oil-sands bitumen to the British Columbia coast.

The Conservative-dominated Commons finance committee is set to begin a review of the charity sector, and several activists say government MPs have told business groups that the committee will look at the environmental sector’s transparency, its advocacy role and the flow of funds from outside the country.

PMO spokesman Andrew MacDougall dismissed as “speculation” the concerns that the government is targeting the environmental sector. He said Ottawa is focused on streamlining the environmental-review process so that groups can’t employ delaying tactics, echoing Mr. Oliver’s pledge to introduce new rules in the coming months…

…But John Bennett, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, isn’t reassured.

“I’m quite convinced that we’re the next on the hit list of this government that doesn’t know how to find compromises but only bully people,” Mr. Bennett said.

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