Open The Books for Everyone

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Here’s a great piece from David Climenhaga contributing to rabble about fiscal openness.

While it’s extremely unlikely that the Harperites will follow his advice, I fully agree that now is the time to open all books for any organization that receives (or received) public funds of any kind.  If unions are being wrenched open – and I don’t see why they shouldn’t – then we have an opportunity to apply ‘what’s fair’ logic to the other organizations listed below:

  • Organizations like the bar, medical, engineering and other professional associations that members must join in order to practice in their fields
  • Private corporations that receive any form of subsidy paid by taxpayers
  • Private corporations that bid on any publicly financed contract
  • Any corporation or organization that exists for the purpose of influencing public policy, including lobbying firms and “think-tanks” not associated with public institutions, which have their own reporting requirements
  • Associations of corporations, businesses or individuals that by definition try to influence public policy and trade practices
  • Churches and religious organizations that raise funds for other than purely spiritual matters, including the operation of chartable, educational or public policy institutions
  • Any organization that can give charitable tax receipts for donations

I would add defense contractors and police organizations to the list, assuming the latter don’t already have to fully disclose details about spending activities (eg. G20 largesse) as part of annual budget reports.

It just makes perfect sense.  If you want to hide and recede from public scrutiny, then stop milking the public teat.  Stop accepting public funds.

If you want to get grants, subsidies or economic benefit of any kind, then accept the fact that the public has a RIGHT to see what you’ve earned, what you did with the money and decide if it was a good use of funds.

If we have this kind of openness, it’ll likely result in a significant reduction in the number of charities that have been set up simply to ensure a tax dodge for their creators and will go a long way to curbing the corruption that we’ve fomented in places like Montreal with programs like the Economic Action Plan.

The age of openness is upon us.  Conservatives ramming this aggressive ideological agenda down the throats of left-of-centre organizations like unions and the CBC will only cause grief for themselves as Canadians demand more insight into the rest of the organizations that they are involved with.

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