Who funds the Canadian Taxpayers Federation?
June 26, 2008 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Where does the Canadian Taxpayers Federation get its funding?

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is often quoted in the press. Today, for example: "Our organization views government surpluses as a sign of overtaxation, and [the $20 billion in surpluses] shows that despite tax relief that has happened at the federal level, and in some cases at provincial levels, governments still take too much money from Canadians," said Adam Taylor, the taxpayers group's national research director. WHAT?! The CTF doesn't think we need to run surpluses to pay off the $500 billion in outstanding debts? (Federal debt is about 30% of GDP, provincial debt is about 20%.)

As they claim to speak for Canadian taxpayers, I'm pretty annoyed by this stance. Looking at their website (linking to climate change deniers and other conservative causes), I'm even more annoyed.

So now I'm wondering: who funds these guys? On their website, they describe themselves as a non-profit organization, and refer to a board of directors; but I don't see any reference to an annual general meeting. It looks like they've got a staff of at least 10 or 20 people. That's, what, running costs of at least half a million a year? I'm skeptical that they're funding this from member contributions of $40/year.
posted by russilwvong to Law & Government (9 answers total)
What, you're thinking they're a Conservative party agent provocateur? It's possible I suppose, but more likely that they just get donations from a lot of right wingers who are happy with their stance.

If their running costs are a half million a year as per your estimate, they only need about 12,000 paying members to accomplish that funding level. Easily doable. I bet you could find 12,000 Albertans alone who are/would consider membership.
posted by barc0001 at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2008

The CTF is funded by donations from private supporters. Some with vested interests in their lobbying efforts would undoubtedly donate much more than $40/year.
posted by rocket88 at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2008

You should go through the Canadian Revenue Agency to find out who is on their board and what the salaries are for their executive leadership. That's a clue. This is an org that has comparatively few members but a large I-can-do-that media presence and a good contact sheet. That's really all you need to be a gadfly these days, sadly.
posted by parmanparman at 12:26 PM on June 26, 2008

parmanparman: CRA has a database of charitable organizations, but CTF isn't in it. (They don't give you a charitable tax receipt when you make a donation.)
posted by russilwvong at 12:33 PM on June 26, 2008

from the federation's blog: http://www.taxpayerblog.com/2005/08/taxes-to-curb-gas-consumption-dont.html

they obviously have no interest in revealing the fact that they're basically a corporate shill group along the lines of the american enterprise or fraser institutes.

the reaslly depressing thing is that the canadian media are constantly parroting the ctf and fraser institute's policies and "research" as gospel truth. it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the CTF gets a lot of its funding from canwest.
posted by klanawa at 2:00 PM on June 26, 2008

I used to sometimes have beers with one of the spokespeople for it, as he was a friend-of-a-friend.

I think the official line is that they are member supported, and claim a huge base of memberships (I think they said 15K in Sask, which seems unrealistic). That said, I can't remember ever meeting a member even among admited conservatives. The people on this list, or any other donors are a closely guarded secret that they won't talk about.

I'd say there is a small chance, there is this large but invisible group out there. I can remember seeing newspaper want ads for membership salespeople, so they might push them very hard. While the CTF are generally pretty hard on left or even centre-left policy, parties, and platforms they don't always tow the line with the CONS and their provincial equivalents - very murky group.

I don't like how the media takes their press releases at face value and uncritically reads them on the public airwaves. Even the freakin' CBC does this........
posted by Deep Dish at 2:51 PM on June 26, 2008

"they don't always tow the line with the CONS and their provincial equivalents"

this is true, however the wiki article lists a string of conservative MPs who've emerged from the CTF to take public office. in that way, the CTF functions as kind of an incubator.
posted by klanawa at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2008

They are a registered non-profit federally. However, I'm having difficultly finding the regulations that means they operate under - non-profits incorporated provincially in Alberta do have obligations around financial statement disclosure.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't hurt to just email the CTF and ask them for last year's financial statements.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:36 PM on June 26, 2008

Thanks, never used baby shoes: there's a list of directors. As of March 31, 2008:


Andy Crooks is a prominent Calgary lawyer, chair of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a co-author with Stephen Harper and four other Albertans of the now-famous 2001 Alberta Agenda open letter.

Jim Silye is a Canadian politician, businessman, and former professional football player for the Canadian Football League. ... He is the President and CEO of Eagle Rock Exploration Limited, an oil and gas exploration company based in Calgary, Alberta.

Crooks is described as being a key member of the Reform Party; Silye is a former Reform MP. CBC:
[Stockwell] Day was eventually forced to call a leadership convention. Out in Calgary, sitting in Andy Crooks' office, Stephen Harper was watching the media coverage.

"Stephen turned the monitor off and said, 'What do you think?' So we talked about it then and I think that was the beginning of the decision to run. It was entirely fortuitous."
Nick Loenen is a former Socred MLA and Richmond city councillor; a strong advocate of proportional representation (unusual for a conservative).

Regarding financial disclosure obligations, it looks like the Canada Corporations Act applies. An overview.

In particular: All corporations, both large and small, must hold at least one annual meeting of members every calendar year and not more than 15 months after its previous annual meeting.

And: Each corporation is required to prepare annual financial statements for examination by the auditor. These statements will be presented to the members at the annual meeting along with the report of the auditor.
posted by russilwvong at 5:47 PM on June 26, 2008

« Older if i had waited ten more exits the gas would have...   |   New CA cell phone law: why not ban text messaging? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.