CBC Story On “Birdwatchers” CRA Political Activity Warning Reads Like Partisan Propaganda (Feat. Dean Beeby)


Considering his name, you’d think the author was with the BBC…

There’s been a lot of talk about the Canada Revenue Agency’s enforcement of charity regulations the past few weeks. The media chatter got started when the CRA decided to audit several (questionable) charities- the bovine excrement meter has been at red ever since.

Yesterday, right when it appeared that the bullshit couldn’t get any deeper, the CBC published a scare story that achieved new heights of poor journalism. The story, titled Revenue Canada targets birdwatchers for political activity, follows a similar pattern- starting by framing the charity as an innocent victim, then chastising the government for enforcing the rules.

The problem is, it’s all bullshit- and it only took five minutes of research to disprove…

Minutes 1-2: More Than Just Birdwatchers


I spent the first minute of my investigation into this story by looking up the website for the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists and making my way to the About page. Once I arrived at the page it became immediately apparent this is more than just a group of “birdwatchers”- they’re a group that’s taken on the task of protecting and preserving wildlife.

Shortly into my second minute I read the last line of the group’s objectives:

“to support public interest in nature and its preservation by supporting the enactment of wise legislation and by other means that fall within the scope of the Corporation.”

The first problem is that supporting the “enactment of wise legislation” is a whole lot more than simple birdwatching. The next problem here is that “supporting legislation” is not a charitable activity- but there’s no problem with that- unless they’re spending more than 10% of their resources on that activity. We’ll have to leave that up to the CRA to decide- that said, if you search the KWFN on Google News, they certainly do spend a lot of time pushing this mandate.

Minutes 3-5: Blatant Partisan Activity In The Newsletter


The next step I took in my investigation was to search KWFN’s website for keywords that would indicate political activity. Words I searched included “Harper”, “election”, and “vote”. Searching “Harper” was a good choice- giving me a link to their newsletter that completely invalidated the group’s complaints about the CRA.

The President’s Ramblings column was the culprit, saying:

“Well, we are now hearing that Harper’s minions are at it again”

CRA regulations are explicitly clear about partisan political statements and activities- they are completely forbidden. It’s okay for a charity to spend up to 10% of their activities on political issues, but partisan statements are not allowed.

So, for example, this would be okay (within 10%):

“The government needs to introduce legislations to save the whales!”

But, this is completely forbidden:

“Harper’s minions are attacking the whales!”

If I had the time, I could go into a lot more depth about KFWN’s political activities, but it’s not necessary at this point. The moment the group’s president attacked “Harper’s minions” on their newsletter, he opened the group to the CRA’s scrutiny.

And, as for the CBC, it’s becoming more clear each day that the network is promoting a political agenda. I say this giving reporter Dean Beeby the benefit of doubt- it would be unfair to assume he’s so blatantly incompetent he couldn’t have spent five minutes researching his story.

That said, perhaps he’s just dumb as a box of rocks…


Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2014/10/17/cbc-story-on-bird-watchers-cra-political-activity-warning-is-an-embarrassing-failure-feat-dean-beeby/


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  1. I personally think it’s a mindset, an indoctrination that has permeates their core value system and very difficult to change because it gives these CBC reporters a sense of power and feelings of superiority. Remember, Suzuki is one of their own and just like Suzuki many of the CBC staff want to change to world, some more than others and the result is usually the lack of critical thinking by many since human nature is lazy. I’m sure there is no love loss either since Harper instituted huge cut backs to their budget, so hard feelings prevail. Thanks for highlighting this issue!! Now I wish we could just teach your kind of healthy skepticism in our schools.

  2. Critics of government policy are threatened and muzzled. Nothing new for Harper.

    However, we should be critical of all technologies, including Industrial Wind Turbines, which are known to harm birds, bats and humans living nearby. Bird and nature organizations have been reluctant to criticize wind turbines until very recently.

    The irony of this is that Ontario for all its money spent on subsidies for renewable energy, is not even reducing C02 emissions. We have been sold a bill of goods by our government, and by the environmental movement in general. Neither wants to admit that this scheme has been a huge failure.

    OSPE (Ontario Society of Professional Engineers) have written a number of reports that show the difficulty integrating intermittent wind energy into the electrical grid. For details look at the document “Engineering Expertise Vital to Success of Ontario’s Electricity System: OSPE”, Jan 16, 2013.

    Engineers’ reports are significant because they are legally bound to report success (or failure) or their projects. Reading the reports you’ll see what we have suspected all along. Engineers must follow government mandate (move to Green energy), but they cannot show a reduction in C02.

      • Fritz Becker on October 20, 2014 at 12:09
      • Reply

      Wind power always was a waste of time given how much of the baseline electrical power is generated in Canada. By far most of the electrical generation in Canada is done so with hydroelectric damns, followed by nuclear power plants. So insisting on wind power is mostly offsetting electricity generation through hydro or nuclear, neither of which produces air pollution.
      As for Harper threatening and muzzling critics, could you please cite some examples? As far as I know the only organizations, or critics, that are on the hot seat are ones that chose to organize as registered charities. The rules governing the tax exempt status of registered charities have been in place for decades, and it is very clear, no more then 10% or a charity’s activities can be political, and none can be partisan. Note that Greenpeace was stripped of it’s charitable status in the mid 1990s, that was under Jean Chretien’s Liberal government.

  3. Oh good grebe, this is more than any one should have to swallow. I wonder if they have an alterior motive, or if they’re just doing it for a lark. Time owl tell, I suppose. The govenment has always seemed a bit cuckoo to me, but this is stork raven mad! Fowl play indeed. I don’t mean to sound bittern and grouse on about this, but time and ptarmigan they seem to behave most unpheasantly. One good tern deserves another because toucan play at this game. The bird watchers just need to get their ducks in a row then they can shrike back and make the feds egret it. From heron out they should clean up their act I say! Remember the cardinal rule: do unto others. It’s not ostrich of the imagination to think we’d all be better off if we just pigeon and help each other. Hopefully this comes to a swift resolution. Oriole go out on a limb here and say somebody should Tweet about this, it’s certainly something to squawk about. Those birdwatchers should tell the revenue agency to flock right off. They’re just a bunch of turkeys anyway. They should flight this thing in the courts, give a chance for them to air their grievances in public. I don’t know feather they’d win or goose, but they have to try to ruffle a few feathers. I know I’d be awful soar if my hobby was unfairly targeted. I’d crow about it until my voice was horse. I wouldn’t flamingo down without a fight and make them sorry they ever albatrossed me. They’re vultures, the lot of them. Well, I suppose that’s not fair, a few bad eggs can easily give the roost of them a bad name. Migratest pet peeve is wren some politicians see their responsibilities as a yolk and just don’t give a hoot. This is obviously aviary troubling article, in my pinion the CRA is just making the situation hawkward for everybirdy. I think I’ll sparrow you any more puns and this can be my swan song. To be honest I was just winging it with my natural talont for puns, but I’ll give it a nest now. Ibis seeing you!

      • znpaul on December 12, 2014 at 14:36
      • Reply

      Thanks for my laugh of the day. Brilliant.

  4. “Well, we are now hearing that Harper’s minions are at it again”

    Hard to see how this qualifies as partisanship, even under CRA’s definition. Attacking “minions” is not the same as advocating for or against a political party. In context, this conveys a disagreement over public policy. Well within bounds, but thanks for playing.

    1. The the amount of bullshit I’ve heard from partisans who are trying to stand-up for the CBC’s story is astounding…

    2. See no evil, hear no evil… but John is missing a wise monkey.

      • Fritz Becker on October 20, 2014 at 12:16
      • Reply

      What about the rest of that column, it reads like a newspaper editorial? Such as this line “Continuing their attack on inconvenient science and environmental realities”

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