Thursday, September 20th, 2018 at Queen’s Landing Hotel in NOTL – Tickets Only $275
Can You Afford A Ticket For This? And Where Do The Proceeds From The Ticket Sales Go?
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 20th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
It’s not too late to ante up and make your charitable donation to conservation projects in Niagara by buying a $275 ticket to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation’s 2018 Water and Environmental Leadership Award Gala this Thursday, September 20th at the oh-so-swanky Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Or if you have a group of people you want to go to this gala event with, you can fork out $2,500 for a table for 10. Or how about half a table for a grand total of $1,350.
Can you afford a ticket for this?
I might as well be honest and confess to you that I can’t right now.
And I know a whole lot of other people in this Niagara region – including a good number of younger people who are still looking for some kind of real, full-time job with decent wages and benefits – who probably can’t afford to cough up that kind of doe for a ticket for this either.
Hopefully, there are enough people out there who can, and that that a good portion of the money they pay for their ticket will go to conservation projects like (just to cite the NPCF’s own literature) “improving our water quality, increasing green spaces, wetland and habitat restoration, and environmental research and education.”
Those are certainly good projects to donate to aren’t they? And the reason I say I hope that a good half or more of the proceeds from the ticket sales for this gala go to them is that the NPCF which, as I noted earlier is the fund-raising wing of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), has been in the news lately and the reports about its expenditures around charitable donations over the past four or five years have raised more than a few eyebrows.
Indeed, according to recent stories in The St. Catharines Standard, numbers made public by the Canada Revenue Agency show that in 2017 alone, 88 per cent of the NPCF’s expenditures went to covering the cost of fundraising activities.
For the years 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, the CRA data shows expenditures for fundraising activities adding up to 67 per cent, 42 per cent., 87 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
The CRA’s guidelines say that 35 per cent or less of a charitable agency’s expenditures should to cover the cost of fundraising events or activities.
Brian Baty, a Pelham regional councillor who sits on the NPCA’s board of directors as well as the board for the NPCF, and is currently the ladder body’s board chair, did not appear to take kindly to The St. Catharines Standard reports.
In a September 16th interview with The Standard, Baty reportedly accused the newspaper of attempting to “malign” the foundation. And in an email he circulated to other Niagara regional council members around the same time, he wrote; “Following the attempt by the media to discredit the NPCF, I request you to consider ticket purchase by Monday for the remaining seats at next Thursday’s (September 20th) event (at Queen’s Landing).”
“Your ticket,” Baty added in his email to fellow regional councillors, “is an eligible expense item; your support will be appreciated by me”
Isn’t that good news. The councillors can claim all or some of the cost of their $275 ticket on their expenses.
But, wait a minute. Who covers the cost of the expenses regional councillors claim? Aren’t those costs – if they add them to the expense sheets they have as regional councillors – ultimately covered by Niagara area taxpayers?
Even by those of us who pay taxes and are hard pressed to find the money to purchase a ticket to this gala event ourselves?
If I had known this in July, maybe I would have registered to run for a seat on Niagara regional council in this coming October 22nd’s municipal elections.
I trust that there are a number of individuals now sitting on Niagara’s regional council who would not purchase a ticket for this gala and expect the taxpayers to cover the cost of it.
I am sure there are at least some, and if I were sitting on that regional council, I wouldn’t either.
But boy, do we ever need this municipal election.
Please take the days and weeks ahead to learn as much as you can about the candidates running for regional council and the local council in your municipality, and make your vote this October 22nd elections count for better municipal governance for the next for years.
Do it for the sake of yourself and for the future of your family, your friends and neighbours in your community.
Nothing less than our future in this Niagara region is at stake.
To read The St. Catharines Standard’s recent story about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation’s expenditures, click on –https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/8894834-npca-foundation-spends-big-on-events/
To see some of the Canada Revenue Agency’s numbers for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation for the past five years, click on the following link, then click one year at a time under the words “Quick View” to scroll down the page of the CRA document to review the pie charts – https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form22QuickView-eng.action?b=119057511RR0001&fpe=2017-12-31 .
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