A fabulous Saturday campaigning in and around my own riding. A unique moment in the campaign – my daughter “pied” me at a fundraiser for a wonderful local charity. The Mustard Seed in Victoria has an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to the food bank model. They have farms where marginalized and homeless can grow fresh vegetables then provided through the store. They provide other services for customers. Like a tiny mustard seed, their efforts grow. The #YYJPIEOFF is an online campaign.
Speaking of charities, for the last nine years, Stephen Harper has increasingly muzzled charities from saying almost anything that could be seen as critical of his policies. The effort really ramped up in 2012 when the Conservative budget included $8 million to audit and harass environmental groups. That amount has grown to $13 million.
So I began to wonder how the Munk Debates, run by a charity started by Barrick Gold’s Peter Munk, was able to insert itself in the election campaign. By holding a debate that excludes two of the parties with MPs elected under the party banner (the usual threshold for inclusion in debates) this charity is interfering in the election. We checked with a law firm that does a lot of work in this area, and they agreed. We have filed a letter of complaint with the CRA. But perhaps the CRA only objects when environmental groups oppose the fossil fuel lobby, not when they are on this lobby's corner.