Thursday, November 3, 2011

Charity, redefined

CHARITY (Oxford Dictionaries):
generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless.

The Fraser Institute styles itself the most influential market research organization in Canada. It is certainly the best funded and, in my view, one of the most politically active, despite its annual reports to Canada Revenue Agency that it engages in no political activity, thus preserving its status as a charity, allowing it to issue tax receipts to donors.

The organization makes this claim in its 2010 Annual Report:
"In order to protect its independence, the Fraser Institute does not accept grants from government or contracts for research."
Is that an accurate claim? Is it an ethical position? No and no.

This think tank may take no "grants" from government but its financial supporters take millions of income tax relief when their contributions are treated as charitable donations. For the government of Canada, the Fraser Institute indeed has a cash cost in the millions each year.

Perhaps, the organization takes no contracts for research because it does no research. That act is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as:
"The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions."
I challenge anyone to examine the output of the Fraser Institute over the years and find any new conclusions. They hold consistently to the tenets of neo-liberalism and their primary goal is to convince others to share those views. One of the strategies is to publish papers and news releases that reinforce the same concepts today that they held years ago. To further its goals, the Fraser Institute spends millions of dollars each year for papers written by academics and self-proclaimed experts, as long as those writers have proven themselves reliable.

Do any readers doubt that ethically challenged academics are willing to write whatever the people with the chequebooks want? Well, then watch this short video extract:

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5 comments:

  1. The Fraser Institute comes up with a preliminary report, and then shops it around. When they 'coincidentally' happen to receive a big donation, the report happens to 'coincidentally' get finished up and released. They just have to do a decent job guessing what topics will result in monetary interest.

    So no, technically corps don't go to the Fraser Institute and pay them money in a contract to get a report done up. But is the end result any different?

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  2. A few simple questions and anyone can become a blithering idiot! Where did they find that guy anyway?

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  3. For some reason the words Jack, Mintz, Harmonized, and Tax keep popping into my mind.....

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  4. You can bet that grad students at University of Calgary can offer opinions from a rather narrow range of ideas if they hope to succeed. From what I hear, there is little tolerance for dissent from the economic philosophies that are considered acceptable.

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  5. The Fraser Institute has been since the beginning a right wing conservative, here's what should be a oxymoron, "think tank". They fit the data to coincide with their narrow views of reality. Their so-called findings are merely right wing, to the right of Genghis Khan, propaganda garbage. To even discuss their "results" is to give them credibility.This propaganda machine should be boycotted.

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