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Ezra Levant questions source of Council donations

Sun News Network host Ezra Levant recently accused Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians of corruption for accepting grants from U.S. foundations.

We are committed to financial transparency and accountability. As Executive Director, I am responsible for putting those principles into practice.

Every year, we publish a summary of our financial statements. You will find the latest summary in our annual report for 2011-2012 in the May 2013 issue of Canadian Perspectives. Full audited financial statements are also available to the public.

The fact is, it’s supporters like you who make our work possible. Small donations from thousands of individuals are the lifeblood of the Council of Canadians. Gifts from individual Canadians, which average $54.59, accounted for 92% of our total revenue in 2011-2012.

We accept no corporate donations, no political contributions and no government funding – and never have. Because of our strong advocacy role, we are not a registered charity.

Foundation grants constitute a small part of our budget. We are very grateful to partner with progressive international foundations to lead global action on the human right to water. Ezra Levant and Sun News have failed to explain what is objectionable about working to ensure the world’s poor have access to clean water.

Mr. Levant ridicules us for “passing the hat” at our events to pay for venue costs and materials. We’re proud to be funded by such small acts of generosity and good faith. Whether you contribute $10 or $200, you are a valuable part of what makes us a truly grassroots organization. And I can’t thank you enough.

Given that our financial information is public and readily available, why is Sun News spreading blatant misinformation about the Council? And why now?

Odds are it’s because we’re mounting strong public opposition to both the “Unfair” Elections Act and TransCanada’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline. This opposition is growing and is beginning to make a difference. And this isn’t sitting well with the Harper Conservatives and Big Oil, so their mouthpiece Sun News is responding.

This isn’t journalism. This is a well-funded and strategically timed smear campaign meant to discredit Maude Barlow, the Council of Canadians, and the advocacy work you so passionately support.

With your help, we can send Ezra Levant a strong message. Please consider making a donation now to help keep us at the forefront of holding governments and corporations – even right-wing corporate media – accountable. You can also support our work year-round with a monthly sustaining gift.

After all, according to Sun News, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

Thank you for all you do,

Garry Neil

Executive Director