News you may have missed...

web posted November 22, 1999

Animal rights group run by David Suzuki faces probe

Revenue Canada auditors are examining the books of an animal rights organization that campaigned to ban Ontario's spring bear hunt and allegedly threatened to spend millions to defeat the provincial Conservative government unless the cull was cancelled.

The Schad Foundation -- run by businessman Robert Schad and CBC host David Suzuki -- confirmed on November 18 that federal auditors had visited the charity's offices and a review was continuing.

"They were in for a couple of days a few weeks ago but I think it will take them a month or something to write up the report afterwards," said Peter Kendall, a foundation director, who was confident the auditors would not identify any problems. "There weren't any issues when they were here at all, it was a fairly basic audit."

The audit follows a call by the Canadian Outdoor Heritage Alliance, a non-profit group for hunters, anglers and trappers, for a probe into whether "the Schad Foundation's status as a charitable organization is compatible with its giving funds ... for overt political and lobbying activities."

Kendall would not discuss what aspect of the foundation the auditors were examining, but documents obtained by the National Post showed the following:

- In the charity's 1998 annual report, Schad says: "This year has seen the foundation invest nearly $4.5-million with approximately 45 organizations." But the foundation reported four donations to outside organizations, worth a total of $316,500, to Revenue Canada.

- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society thanked the Schad Foundation in its promotional material for a donation in the "10,000-$39,999" range in 1997, and yet no such contribution is mentioned in the foundation's financial report to the government.

- The foundation's financial returns say the charity made no donations outside Canada, but the annual report says the charity "supported and advised" on environmental campaigns in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, China, Russia, the Canary Islands and the United States.

Kendall would not discuss questions arising from the documents. But discrepancies may result from the mixing of donations made by the charitable Schad Foundation and those made privately by Schad's company.

A Revenue Canada official said he could not comment on the audit. "We cannot, of course, confirm or deny whether or not a group is under investigation," said Michel Cleroux, the media relations officer.

The Schad Foundation operates out of the office of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., the Ontario company of which Schad is president. The charity supports a variety of environmental causes, such as the World Wildlife Fund.

Suzuki is one of four Schad Foundation directors. Last year the foundation "supported and advised on" a $500,000 grant to Suzuki's own charity in British Columbia, the David Suzuki Foundation, the annual report says.

(Suzuki works on contract for the CBC, but he is not subject to the broadcaster's journalistic guidelines on outside advocacy work because his show, The Nature of Things, is considered "arts, music, science and variety" rather than "news and current affairs" programming, said Ruth-Ellen Soles, the CBC spokeswoman).

Recently Schad took on the two-month spring bear hunt in Ontario as a "major project," spending $665,000 on the campaign last year. The foundation claimed one-third of the bears killed in the hunt were female, leaving hundreds of newborn cubs to die.

Writing in the foundation's annual report, Schad called Ontario's decision to ban the bear hunt "the successful culmination of a four-year effort by a large number of organizations and individuals across the country."

The International Fund for Animal Welfare was also active in the campaign and has admitted it "targeted" eight Tory politicians, "who had been elected in close races," in a radio and billboard campaign. "Facing this widespread public opposition, the government caved in," the IFAW says in its literature.

In announcing the hunting ban, John Snobelen, the Ontario Natural Resources Minister, said the government made the decision "because it will not tolerate cubs being orphaned by hunters mistakenly shooting mother bears in spring."

But in a lawsuit filed last month, Ontario guides and outfitters claim the decisive moment came during a meeting in the first week of January, 1999, when Schad allegedly told Mike Harris, the Premier, that he would "spend millions of dollars on the issue of the spring bear hunt during the upcoming provincial election in an effort to have members of the Conservative party defeated unless Harris immediately cancelled the spring bear hunt."

The hunt was cancelled Jan. 15.

Guides and outfitters claim the decision has robbed them of their livelihood and filed a $40-million lawsuit against Harris, Snobelen, Schad and the Schad Foundation alleging "conspiracy ... intentional interference with economic relations, misfeasance of public office and neglect."

Kendall declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In May, the Schad Foundation offered to assist businesses hurt by the cancellation of the hunt. The outdoor federation says the hunting ban has "almost bankrupted" 800 Northern Ontario families.

Anti-Clinton protests erupt into riots in Greece

Riot police fired tear gas, and anti-American protesters responded with gasoline bombs on November 19 as central Athens became a battleground just as U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in the Greek capital for a short visit.

Clinton originally planned a longer stay in Greece, to begin before a European security summit in Istanbul, Turkey. But Greek and U.S. security concerns pushed him to postpone the trip until after the summit and shorten it to less than 24 hours.

The leftist protesters are angry at the U.S. role in NATO's bombing attack on Yugoslavia earlier this year.

The riot erupted in Syndagma Square almost at the very moment Air Force One touched down at Athens international airport. More than 10,000 protesters, who had come to the square for a Communist-led rally, tried to defy a ban on marching to the U.S. Embassy, but were blocked by a wall of helmeted, black-clad riot police.

Walking slowly en masse down the street toward the embassy, the protesters came literally face-to-face with the police -- and the tear gas.

A group of anarchists, who had gathered at a nearby rally, joined the main demonstration and responded to the police use of tear gas by hurling firebombs, rocks and marine flares, smashing storefront windows and burning American flags.

A series of running battles between police and rioters followed through the city's shopping and business district. At least five banks were damaged, one severely.

With thousands of police closing off many central Athens streets, Clinton was likely to see nothing of the protests just a few blocks away from where he was to attend a state dinner after leaving the airport.

Greeted at the airport by a small crowd waving American and Greek flags, the U.S. president declared himself a "friend of Greece."

"We look to ancient Greece for inspiration, but we look to modern Greece for leadership and partnership," he said. "Through this visit, I want the American people to see the changing face of Greece."

"I have come here as a 'philhellene' -- a friend of Greece, and I look forward to experiencing that wonderful quality of Greek hospitality known to all the world," Clinton said shortly after his arrival.

He told reporters that he believed the NATO bombing was the right thing to do, and he was unconcerned about the demonstrations.

"I know that a lot of people in Greece disagree with my position on Kosovo, and they have a right to their opinion and I have a right to mine," he said.

Of course, they couldn't bomb anyone to enforce their opinion.

Bush lays out foreign policy vision

Saying a president must be a "clear-eyed realist," Texas Gov. George W. Bush set forth on November 19 his foreign policy vision of a "distinctly American internationalism."

The GOP presidential front-runner said America must "encourage stability from a position of strength," setting national defense as the "first focus" of a Bush Administration, and pledging to develop and deploy missile defense systems.

"The empire has passed, but evil remains," Bush said from the Ronald Reagan presidential library in California. "Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation."

But Bush, who has been criticized for his lack of international policy experience, carefully laid out a larger vision for the United States' role in leading the world into the next century -- rejecting the isolationist impulses of some of his competitors for the Republican presidential nomination.

"We are no longer fighting a great enemy. We are asserting a great principle that the talents and dreams of average people, their warm human hopes and loves should be rewarded by freedom and protected by peace," Bush said. "Let us reject the blinders of isolationism, just as we have refused the crown of an empire."

Bush emphasizes balance, consistency and patience in developing and maintaining relationships with strategic partners around the world, including South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and India, as well as responding to crisis situations. He lent specific importance to tending to relations with China and Russia.

"China and Russia, are powers in transition ... If they become America's friends, that friendship will steady the world. But if not, the peace we seek may not be found," he said.

Warning that under a Bush Administration China will be "respected as a great power ... unthreatened, but not unchecked," Bush criticized President Bill Clinton's Administration saying, "China is a competitor, not a strategic partner."

But Bush's harsh warning for China on the issues of human rights, espionage and the protection of Tiawan, did not extended to trade.

"The case for trade is just not monetary, but moral...trade freely with China and time is on our side," Bush said, promising that if he wins the Oval Office "China will find in America a confident and willing trade partner."

Bush also had strong warnings for Russia.

"We cannot buy reform in Russia for Russia, but we can be Russia's ally in self-reform. Even as we support Russian reform, we cannot excuse Russian brutality," Bush said, referring to the Russian military's actions against Islamic guerillas in Chechnya. "The Russian government will discover ... it cannot learn the lessons of democracy from the textbook of tyranny."

The governor decried the latest reports of financial mismanagement in Russia, saying, U.S. "assistance, investments and loans should go directly to the Russian people, not to enrich the bank accounts of corrupt officials."

Bush also denounced the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and called for international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to be more "more transparent and accountable," while promising to support payment of the United States's dues to the United Nations only if the U.N. also pledged to reform.

The speech marked Bush's first extensive detailing of his foreign policy vision, but his campaign promises it won't be the last. Campaign sources tell CNN's Candy Crowley that in addition to Russia and Europe and China and Asia, Cuba and the United States' neighbors are also a high priority for Bush. One he will soon address in more detail.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Current Issue

Archive Main | 1999

E-mail ESR



1996-2018, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.