Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler discuss the challenge facing charities as compared to the special treatment of businesses in trying to advocate as to public policy:
(T)he solutions to many of society’s problems do not need more research and the criticism-free public education that the CRA permits. They cry out for advocacy and changed law. Unfortunately, the CRA only allows NGOs to spend 10 per cent of their income on policy advocacy and law reform. Thus a charity has to be substantial in order to be large enough to fund meaningful advocacy.

In contrast, while the Harper government blocks charities from using tax credits to influence public opinion, it allows corporations to write off as a business expense 100 per cent of the money they spend to derail or support legislation that affects their interests.

Unfortunately, the situation is worse than the 10 per cent limit imposed by CRA guidelines. The chill created by the fear of the loss of charitable status inhibits many NGOs from working effectively. The self-censorship that is produced constrains even the allowable advocacy. Thus, there is a good reason to question whether charitable status is more of a burden than an asset for many non-profits.
- PressProgress exposes five of the Cons' most regressive policies. And Barrie McKenna points out the need for greater investment in young families, rather than allocating resources based solely on the goal of buying off wealthier and older voters.

- Meanwhile, Anuj Shah observes that people operating under a mindset of scarcity value resources far more consistently than those who have money to spare. But the most significant outcome of that finding looks to me to be that a focus on additional unnecessary resources at the top of the wealth scale only amplifies irrational decision-making.

- Robyn Benson argues that we should all be able to agree on the importance of safe workplaces - making it particularly striking that the Cons are spending so much time trying to force workers to impose the dangers of ill health or fatigue on themselves and the public. And Eric Atkins discusses the continued epidemic of oil derailments.

- Finally, Jim Harding slams the Cons' wedge politics, while asking whether we'll allow them to dominate the 2015 federal election. L. Ian MacDonald calls out Stephen Harper's step toward outright xenophobia. And both Lawrence Martin and the Globe and Mail's editorial board weigh in on the disastrous consequences of the Cons' terror bill, while Shawn McCarthy reports that "anti-petroleum" activity figures to be one of the main targets.

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