Letter to the Editor: Should the names of donors to Gofundme causes be made public?

“Voters have a right to know if a company or other organization is actually funding a group that claims to be supported by citizens”

The fact that Freedom Convoy Truckers raised more than $7 million online through GoFundMe has politicians and bureaucrats so frightened that they now want the names of the donors and the amounts they gave.

A January 29 CBC report by Elizabeth Thompson titled “Critics call for new rules for online fundraisers after protest convoy takes anonymous donations” tells how,

“Critics are calling on the feds to introduce new rules for online fundraising campaigns after a fundraiser … raised millions of dollars – in part from anonymous donors and people using fictitious names .”

Apparently, they fear the funds “will be used by large corporations or foreign state actors to circumvent Canada’s political finance rules.”

No one has complained, no one has been accused of wrongdoing, but Elizabeth May of the Green Party says ‘online fundraisers should be required to register with Industry Canada to protect consumers .

Apparently, Canadians need to be protected from themselves.

May said “donor names should be made available to government officials, even if they are not published on the website.”

The government therefore wants to know the names and amounts given by each person “to protect consumers”. Additionally, the government should oversee the distribution of donations, she said.

A “consumer protection authority could check whether donations collected online go to their cause”.

Ms Thompson reports: “Earlier this week, NDP MP Charlie Angus said people donating to a political protest calling for an end to COVID-19 measures should not be allowed to hide behind the ‘anonymity.

The Freedom Convoy is not a political demonstration. People don’t protest against a political party, they protest against government policies.

In the report, Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, said “anonymous donations to political causes are disturbing.”

The Democracy Watch website says it advocates “cleaning up and making governments and corporations more accountable to you.”

It also states that “Democracy Watch is supported solely by donations from individuals and groups of citizens.”

Conacher told Ms Thompson: ‘Anonymous donations to citizens’ advocacy groups are a problem because they can come from a corporation, a large corporation or another organization and that makes the citizens’ group a front for this company or another organization,” he said.

“Voters have a right to know if a company or other organization is actually funding a group that claims to be supported by citizens,” he said.

You can donate to Democracy Watch online. I wonder if Democracy Watch will be the first to submit its list of donors.

Where would this “consumer protection” stop? Would the government require every charity or cause to comply, or only those it is afraid of.

Rand Kemsley

705 667 0211

Editor’s note: Mr. Kemsley is a director on the People’s Party Board of Directors in the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming

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