It was recently revealed that the Justice who presided over several anti-lockdown cases in British Columbia runs a group called the Vancouver Foundation. Looking into the details of this charity a bit more, this creates — at a minimum — the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. (See archive.)
The group describes itself in this way:
“Vancouver Foundation grants to hundreds of charities and non-profits in BC every year. Our vision is to create healthy, vibrant, and livable communities, and we focus on supporting projects that address the root causes of important issues. Our funding comes from generous gifts from the community, as well as from managing endowment funds for people, charities, and businesses.”
The Vancouver Foundation is involved in many different areas, and has undoubtedly has done a lot of good work. However, some things need to be questioned.
Anyhow, this is quite the rabbit hole, so let’s jump in.
The Vancouver Foundation Act is what governs the organization. This isn’t a traditional group, but one that was created in 1943 by an Act of Parliament.
Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson is a Director at the Vancouver Foundation, by virtue of his position on the Court. Far from being just a name on paper, he’s prominently listed as a Director (see margin on page 3). He also made the following rulings:
COURT CASES PRESIDED OVER BY CHIEF JUSTICE HINKSON
(A) Kassian v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1603
(Refusal for exemption to vaccine passport)
(B) Eliason v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2022 BCSC 1604
(Refusal for charter rights to travel, s.6 of Charter)
(C) Maddock v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1605
(Refusal for compensation due to injury)
(D) CSASPP v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1606
(Refusal to allow health care workers to opt out)
(E) Beaudoin v. British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 248, BCSC 248
(Refusal to allow a church to remain open)
True, one might get the impression that he simply called these cases as he saw fit. But there is more to things than meet the eye.
Kate Hammer is the Vice President for Engagement, was previously a Senior Policy Advisor for the Minister of Education (Ontario), and also worked in the Office of the Premier under Kathleen Wynne. Sure, that’s Ontario, but people in political circles have very deep networks of connections, and it’s rarely limited to a region. (See archive.)
She’s also now lobbying the B.C Government on behalf of the Vancouver Foundation. Things get even more convoluted. Why? Because the B.C. Lobbying Registry shows exactly what subject matters are being discussed.
The Vancouver Foundation is trying to get more access and influence from the B.C. Government. This can cause a problem.
- Activities to support an amendment to Vancouver Foundation Act related to definition of “reserve amount”
- Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options and opportunities for ensuring legislation and regulations related to lobbyists transparency do not limit charities and non-profits from participating in vital conversations about government policies and priorities.
- Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options and opportunities for the charitable sector to play a key role in pandemic recovery
- Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options for expanding the Unclaimed Property Act’s ability to use dormant assets to boost investment in community initiatives and organizations.
Let’s think about this one. Chief Justice Hinkson, a Director at the Vancouver Foundation, is making key Court rulings relating to “pandemic measures”. Meanwhile, his organization is lobbying the B.C. Government for greater influence in exactly those areas.
And what taxpayer sources is the Vancouver Foundation getting money from?
|Provincial Employees Community Services Fund||2022-09-08||$68.00|
|City of Surrey||2022-08-26||$3,000.00|
|City of Surrey||2022-06-22||$48.13|
|Advanced Education and Skills Training||2022-04-07||$250,000.00|
|Children and Family Development||2022-04-05||$2,760,000.00|
|Social Development and Poverty Reduction||2022-04-01||$1,350,000.00|
|Social Development and Poverty Reduction||2022-04-01||$30,000,000.00|
|Canada Cultural Investment Fund||2022-03-21||$1,005,258.00|
|City of Vancouver||2022-03-11||$45,000.00|
|Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development||2022-02-24||$5,000,000.00|
|City of Surrey||2020-10-08||$45.00|
|BC Arts Council||2020-04-02||$200,000.00|
|Social Development and Poverty Reduction||2020-04-02||$590,000.00|
|Advanced Education, Skills and Training||2020-03-31||$250,000.00|
|Canada Cultural Investment Fund||2020-03-16||$955,718.00|
|Provincial Employees Community Services Fund||2020-03-13 to 2020-09-10||$59.80|
|City of Vancouver||2020-03-13||$22,500.00|
The Vancouver Foundation has received several millions of taxpayer money in the last few years.
Glenn Wald gets an honourable mention. He was the Director of Communications at Vancouver Foundation from November 2017 until October 2022. He has also been involved with both the Federal and British Columbia Governments. (See archive.)
Joe Gallagher, Vice President Indigenous Health & Cultural Safety at Provincial Health Services Authority, is also worth listing. He was a Board Member at the Vancouver Foundation until July 2022, so very recent. (See archive.)
As covered previously, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Foundation is in fact a registered charity that contributes substantial amounts annually to up to 4 “qualified donees”. These are:
- B.C. Centre for Disease Control
- Community-Based Research Centre Society (also a charity)
- Provincial Health Services Authority (also a charity)
- University of British Columbia (also a charity)
The BCCDC Foundation used to have a scroller to cycle through their major donor list. It’s since been removed, but thankfully saved in an earlier article:
The BCCDC Foundation proudly lists the Vancouver Foundation as a donor, as well as companies like Pfizer. The BCCDC-F also admits that a significant portion of its funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. Is it any wonder why the B.C. Government is so pro-pharma?
In terms of following the money, the next sections are from CSASPP’s March 12, 2023 summary for the Vancouver Foundation’s financials. As a registered charity, it’s required to disclose a fair amount of information publicly. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are the highlights:
What is the result of all of this? We get a situation where there really is no separation between the judiciary, the legislature, and N.G.O.s with financial interests. Everything seems to blend together.
Was there anything to those anti-lockdown rulings in B.C.? Impossible to say for sure, but the connections of the Vancouver Foundation do raise a lot of questions.
(A) BCCDC Foundation Charity Page
(B) University Of British Columbia Charity Page
(C) Provincial Health Services Authority Charity Page
(D) Community-Based Research Centre Society Charity Page
(E) Vancouver Foundation Charity Page