Among all the secretive and secretly funded think tanks in Canadian politics, surely the most preposterous rationalization is provided by the Montreal Economic Institute:
Although the MEI discloses the amount and the breakdown of its funding, its policy is not to list specific donors. Publishing such a list would give organizations similar to the MEI an opportunity to solicit its donors directly, which is not desirable.
Yeah. Exactly what “organizations similar to the MEI” are there, anyways? There are a half-dozen major free-market think tanks in Canada, they get the lion’s share of their funding from the same sources, and I’m pretty sure that everybody in that privileged circle of wealthy welfare bums and their loyal water-carriers in the think tank sector already knows everybody else. I honestly doubt that the Fraser Institute, say, is desperately trying to poach donors away from its sister institutes, but perhaps I’m underestimating the ruthlessness of these propagandists.
In any case, it’s patently apparent that they also don’t really want us to know, probably coupled with the fact that at least a few donors just want to remain anonymous. So I’m going to perform a public service. I hope that representatives of “organizations similar to the MEI” are reading this list, because I’m about to make my best effort to give you a list that you can use to poach their donors, assuming there are any that aren’t already giving you money anyways.
According to the MEI, it takes in about $1.4 million per year. Hilariously, it then prints a graph comparing its revenue with the total union dues collected in the province of Quebec, a bizarre non-sequitur which probably says all you need to know about the mentality behind these clowns. Clowns, incidentally, who include a variety of former Reform and Conservative insiders. As usual, in other words, this is a non-partisan think tank that just happens to side decisively with one political party.
Unlike with the Fraser Institute, none of these parties are donating endowments of $1 million and up. If we are to believe the Montreal Economic Institute, which says that the largest donor supplies 9% of their annual budget, they have yet to find such a useful major benefactor. The MEI doesn’t bother to identify which wealthy benefactor gives them $1.2 million a year.
What follows is a partial list, because the Canada Revenue Agency does not supply the same sort of information about Canadian foundations that you can get about American foundations from various websites. That said, it was interesting to see the Koch brothers show up as funders, even if it was a few years ago and apparently not since.
- Max Bell Foundation — Supplies targeted funding for special projects, like some studies promoting “entrepreneurship” in healthcare, with price tags ranging from $15 000 and up.
- Graham Boeckh Foundation – Donated $25 000 in 2010.
- Stéphan Crétier Foundation – Donated $75 000 in 2009, but only $10 000 in 2010.
- Donner Canadian Foundation – Regular grants, for instance, at least $35 000 in 2009 and $115 000 in 2005. Donner money was responsible for the proliferation of new think tanks in Canada in the 1990s, including the MEI.
- John Dobson Foundation — The foundation has donated at least $50 000 in the past decade, and may continue to do so.
- Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation — Supports the MEI on a regular basis.
- Koch brothers — At least one donations from these backers of the Tea Party movement: a $15 000 grant in 2005 via the Lambe Foundation.
- Jarislowsky Foundation — Donated $30 000 in 2007 and may continue to do so.
- Lassonde Family Foundation — Donated $65 000 in 2009.
- Bank of Montreal – Donating as of 2009.
- Peter Munk (Barrick Gold) — The Aurea Foundation gave $50 000 in 2009, and may give similar amounts on a yearly basis.
- Royal Bank — Donating via the RBC Foundation as of 2010.
- Scotiabank — Donating as of 2007.
- Jean-Louise Tasse Foundation — Donated $10 000 in 2010.
- Wilson Foundation — Has donated in the past decade, and may continue to do so
- Zeller Family Foundation — Annual donation amounts range from $5000 to $37 400.