A Canadian Press article last summer points out another reason to think twice before you vote for the status quo in the next federal election.
Apparently the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has told Oxfam Canada that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty— because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.
“The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector,” says the CP article.
The Ottawa-based charity had to file paperwork to renew its non-profit status but in describing its purpose as a charity is “to prevent and relieve poverty, vulnerability and suffering by improving the conditions of individuals whose lives, livelihood, security or wellbeing are at risk,” they ran afoul of the pencil pushers.
The international development group, founded in 1963, spends about $32 million each year on humanitarian relief and aid in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, with a special emphasis on women’s rights.
CRA officials informed Oxfam that “preventing poverty” was not an acceptable goal.
“Relieving poverty is charitable, but preventing it is not,” the group was warned. “Preventing poverty could mean providing for a class of beneficiaries that are not poor.”
Oxfam Canada’s executive director called the exchange an “absurd conversation.”
If the cold weather isn’t enough to make you want to get through the winter really fast and closer to the next federal election—news like this certainly should have you counting the days.