A prime example of the hypocrisy of party politics

I work for a registered charity which is authorized to issue receipts for donations so that people can receive a tax deduction for their generosity. The more they give, the more they get back. When the federal and Alberta amounts are combined, the refund on donations over $200 is close to 50%, which is nothing to sneeze at.

However, our charity (which is a church) is, of course, strictly forbidden from engaging in partisan politics. If we were to do that, we would lose our charitable registration and would no longer be able to issue receipts to our members for tax deductions.

Does it bother me that I can’t engage in party politics in my official capacity as pastor of my church? No, not really. On the other hand, if I was working for a charity that was trying to alleviate child poverty in Canada, I might feel a little more constrained by the system. After all, child poverty can’t be solved by donations alone. To use an old illustration, if you start noticing that the river is full of drowning babies, it’s not enough to have an efficient rescue operation; sooner or later, someone needs to go upstream to find out who’s throwing them in. And the answer to that question may well have political implications. But charities aren’t allowed to go near that, or they lose their status and their ability to issue income tax receipts.

And now, behold the hypocrisy of the Canadian political system. Today I gave a donation to a Canadian political party (most of you will be able to figure out which one!). On their website, they promptly informed me that according to Canadian law, when income tax time rolls around, I will receive a tax refund equal to 75% of my donation!

That’s right, folks. Registered charities can’t get involved in party politics or they lose their ability to issue income tax receipts, but if you donate to a Canadian political party (which engages almost exclusively in party politics), you’ll get 75% of it back at income tax time. That’s over half as much again as you’d get for donating to a charity that helps to feed the poor, as long as they don’t get political about it.

You couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?

One thought on “A prime example of the hypocrisy of party politics

  1. Apparently my information is not entirely accurate. The following is copied and pasted from a pop up explanation on the website of Canada’s NDP:

    ‘All Canadians with taxable income receive generous tax credits when they donate to Canada’s NDP. For example, a donation of $500 costs you just $150.

    ‘All donations received before December 31 are eligible for tax credits in the new year.

    ‘You get back
    75% for the first $400 you donate.
    50% for the next $350 you donate.
    33 1/3% of the rest
    up to a total tax credit of $650.
    You can give a maximum of $1,500 a year to Canada’s NDP.

    ‘You can also give a maximum of $1,500 a year to all local campaigns, riding associations, or nomination races combined.

    ‘And you can also give a maximum total of $1,500 combined to all leadership contestants per leadership contest.’

    So I guess I was in error in that I extrapolated from my small donation and thought it was applicable to all donations.

    My point remains that it is hypocritical to deny registered charities the right to engage in political activities on pain of losing their right to issue tax deductible receipts, and then give tax deductible receipts to those who donate to political parties.

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