Her quest for fairness and compassion for rural communities isn't putting food on the table
I was introduced to Vivian Krause just about two years ago. It was in June 2010 that City Caucus published this story about how Krause made the mistake of trying to chat with David Suzuki at a small occasion they both attended. He told her to fuck off.
For the following year Vivian Krause's writing was featured up to ten times at City Caucus and we were proud to give her a platform on the west coast as her fame grew across Canada. In her columns she asked fair questions about the sources of funding behind the environmental movement and Vision Vancouver, and urged openness at every step of the way. The predicament faced by the David Suzuki Foundation and Tides Canada Foundation today is purely the result of their arrogance. They considered Krause to be a crank, and calculated they could ignore her calls for transparency.
Now if someone was trying to get between me and my paycheque, I admit I might have the same visceral reaction Suzuki had in 2010. It's the economic threat Krause represents to these charitable organizations that best explains the antagonism expressed toward her by people like activist Tzeporah Berman. Berman likes to throw down smack like this regularly on Twitter without a stitch of evidence to back it up:
More right wing commentary & Tides trash talk Vivian Krause today’s National Post.fyi this not ‘investigative reporting’ its harassment
— Tzeporah Berman (@Tzeporah) June 27, 2012
Painting Vivian Krause as a right winger is the latest tactic to marshall the anger of the public against her. The Tides Canada network of cronies including Berman accuse Krause of being a "paid shill" for big corporations. Not for a minute did it cross their minds that it was Krause's principles that motivated her work, and that she didn't receive a penny from any third party to produce her research (she’s been up front about her sources of income – see here). After Krause announced that she was wrapping up the Fair Questions blog, Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason tweeted that Krause "should be commended for all the work she did, unpaid". But Mason didn't stop there, taking direct aim at Krause's accusers like Berman, Allen Garr and Joel Solomon's sister.
Those people who wrote untrue slurs about Ms. Krause and funding she was supposedly getting should be ashamed of themselves.
— Gary Mason (@garymasonglobe) June 15, 2012
Her research may have impacted public policy at a national level, but the whole enterprise has come at a huge personal sacrifice. Therefore it is understandable why she is hanging up her blogger's gloves. Krause is not intending to disappear, as her fiesty Wednesday column in the Financial Post indicates.
In tax filings, Tides USA has reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that Tides Canada and the Endswell Foundation are related. Indeed, for many years, all three organizations had Drummond Pike and Joel Solomon at the helm. Pike is the founder of Tides USA and was CEO for 34 years, until he stepped down in 2010. Pike has been on the board of Tides Canada since 2000 and is its “founding chair.” Joel Solomon is the former chair of Tides USA and is the vice-chair of Tides Canada. Pike and Solomon are also Endswell’s long-time chair and president, respectively.
During the 1990s, Endswell was the largest funder of environmental groups in B.C. Between 2003 and 2009, Endswell made grants for a total of $8.7-million. Of that, 99% went to Tides Canada, tax returns show. Given that the senior leadership at Tides Canada and Endswell is the same, these organizations are, in essence, two pockets in the same pair of pants and have been simply transferring money from one pocket to the other.
As a result of Krause's accusations, a war of words is happening online with Tides Canada going on the attack. With the help of public relations experts, Tides launched a "charm offensive" using an odd video which depicts a woman lawyer after she's had a roll in the hay with a hippie. The video dubbed "Strange Bedfellows" implies that business and environmentalists can find common ground by screwing each other. The charity also took the "unprecedented" step of releasing many sources of its funding. Krause reacted by saying the organization had cherry-picked the data.
Just last month Krause momentarily rocked Vancouver politics with this Province newspaper story by Sam Cooper:
Using U.S. tax records, Krause has pointed to about $60-million donated to Tides Canada from American foundations. She noted Tides Canada and another green charity with common directorship, Endswell Foundation, contributed funds to a group of five public relations and investment companies. Using civic election records, Krause showed these companies — Interdependent Investments Ltd, Renewal Partners, Strategic Communications, Convergence Communications and Communicopia — were top funders for Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson in 2008.
Krause suspects the CRA is questioning whether the five companies were used to indirectly pass money from charities to Vision Vancouver.
“I think Tides Canada are skirting the spirit of the law that charities should not contribute to political parties, within the income tax act,” Krause alleged.
Meanwhile, Krause tweeted a link to a detailed 32-page open letter titled "Fair Questions to Tides Canada". It covers virtually every unanswered question about the Tides Canada charity, its funding sources, and its political activity. It should be required reading of both veteran and novice journalists alike.
We here at City Caucus also wish to thank Ms. Krause for her sacrifices and her passion. She may be closing an important chapter of her life, but I'm sure we've not heard the last from Vivian Krause.
- post by Mike