Charity denies implied endorsement of Tory leader candidate
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/09/2021 (635 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Shelly Glover may be a “law and order” candidate, but launching her campaign to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba against the backdrop of a registered charity appears to violate Canada Revenue Agency rules.
The former Winnipeg police officer and Conservative MP announced her candidacy Friday morning in the parking lot of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba’s ReStore at 60 Archibald St.
Like the store, that sells donated new and used building materials, Glover said she wants to “renew, refresh and restore” the local PC party.
Habitat for Humanity Manitoba builds homes for low-income working families to purchase through a no-money-down, interest-free mortgage.
According to federal tax guidelines from the Canada Revenue Agency: “(A) charity may not take part in an illegal activity or a partisan political activity,” deeming “a partisan political activity is one that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office.”
Habitat vice-president of marketing, communications and philanthropy Michelle Pereira said the charity did nothing wrong.
“Habitat did not take part in this activity,” she said in an email Friday. “We loaned space in a parking lot to a long-time supporter for an announcement.
“Habitat does not endorse political candidates. There were no Habitat employees present at the announcement today, we did not participate nor promote the announcement.”
The charity had one of its trucks parked as a backdrop for Glover’s announcement, and her campaign signs are the same colour scheme as Habitat signage. Glover thanked the ReStore in her speech and gave a shout out to some of its employees.
“I love this place,” she said. “I used to be an ambassador for the women’s build” that brings women together to build a Habitat home.
Ethicist Arthur Schafer questioned the non-profit organization playing host to such an event then claiming it had nothing to do with it.
“Habitat clearly understood that it’s wrong for them to endorse a political candidate,” said Schafer, founding director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at University of Manitoba.
“First of all, they say, they said they didn’t take part in this activity and they say, we loaned space… They made it possible for her to associate her campaign and her candidacy with their cause,” he said.
“What they’re doing is they’re bestowing all the goodwill and credibility that Habitat has rightfully accumulated for its wonderful activities. They’re transferring it to a particular candidate because she’s a long-time supporter. Whether she’s a long time supporter or not, Habitat shouldn’t be endorsing her.”
He questioned if the charity would loan space to a candidate from another political party, and why Glover, a former federal cabinet minister, chose a charity to host her campaign launch.
“She’s taking advantage and breaking the rules, which are pretty important rules that segregate charities, which have a special tax status and tax exemption, from political activities.”
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.