02.26.2014 1

Canada shows how to fight radical green groups

A version of this article was originally published in Investors.com

Canadian_FlagBy Bill Wilson

The global economy is an increasingly high-stakes battlefield, and governments large and small must determine daily when and how to enter that fray.

Do they engage on the side of free markets and expanded individual liberties — promoting greater prosperity and freedom for all people? Or do they align themselves with entrenched interests and bureaucrats bent on expanding centralized power (and political patronage) — thus promoting greater dependency?

Make no mistake: Thousands of such decisions — budgetary, monetary, personnel, regulatory, etc. — help make or break the lives of billions of people around the globe.

Unfortunately, when it should be engaging against established anti-competitive interests — or staying out of policy debates altogether — the federal government of the United States invariably jumps in on the wrong side.

Recent examples include President Barack Obama’s failed economic stimulus, the Federal Reserve’s ongoing money-printing experiment, ObamaCare, the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on energy, the National Security Agency’s domestic spy network and the Internal Revenue Service’s persecution of limited-government groups.

The results of these policies is unmistakable: Record welfare expansion, a shrinking workforce, stagnant wages and lost liberties.

By contrast, the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently entered a critical policy debate on the right side — directing the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to conduct audits of several radical environmental groups accused of conducting political activity in violation of their tax-exempt status.

Among the groups being audited? The David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, the Pembina Foundation, Tides Canada and West Coast Environmental Law.

The far left in Canada is apoplectic, but the real targets of this action are the radical American billionaires funneling money through faux Canadian front groups — hoping to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline by exploiting the country’s Aboriginal population.

In fact a plan to do precisely that was hatched in 2008 by the uber-liberal Rockefeller Foundation.

“They, along with other American foundations like the U.S.-based Tides Foundation, have poured millions into Indian activists, directing them against Canada’s interests. And against their own Indian bands’ interests, too,” columnist Ezra Levant wrote last year for the Toronto Sun.

“Only in the past year have Canadian politicians woken up to the hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign money pouring in to create fake anti-(Keystone XL) shell organizations.”

American policymakers should take heed.

Liberal elitist foundations — Rockefeller, Pew, Ford, Heinz, etc. — have hidden for years behind a labyrinth of carved-out rules and special protections, unfair advantages enabling them to pump billions of dollars into a far-left agenda while donors claimed untold amounts of tax deductions.

Meanwhile, an IRS bent on protecting Obama and vulnerable Democrats in advance of the 2012 elections has effectively silenced groups with the words “Constitution,” “Tea Party” or “Liberty” in their titles. Does that sound like equal protection under the law? Of course not.

Canada has shown it has the courage to stand up to these wealthy eco-radicals. It must be the policy of the next U.S. administration to follow suit. The IRS must aggressively audit these groups — and if so much as a trace of evidence is uncovered attesting to their involvement in political activity, then their tax-exempt status must be immediately and permanently revoked.

In addition, punitive measures must be taken against individuals who have orchestrated these taxpayer-defrauding scams — with their assets seized and used by the government to pay down the national debt.

With fuzzy science and shady front groups, wealthy eco-radicals have declared war on American energy production. Yet, instead of condemnation, these groups have received nothing but bureaucratic backing and political cover from the Obama administration.

Those fighting the Obama agenda in Washington — and those seeking to replace him in the Oval Office — would be wise to follow Canada’s lead in turning the tables on these anti-competitive organizations.

Given the direct impact this particular battleground will have on energy prices in the coming years, this is a fight worth engaging — this time on the right side.

Bill Wilson is a member of the board of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

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