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Alberta Fake Clinics Sponging Public Money, Part 2, Medicine Hat

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:02
To continue our investigation into Alberta fake clinics sucking off the public tit (Part 1 on Central Alberta Fake Clinic here), let's look at the Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society.

It doesn't seem to have its own website and does not belong to Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, the organization that the Ontario Trillium Foundation had a problem with.

It does have a Facebook page, which consists mainly of announcements of holidays on which they'll be unavailable to help any crisis pregnancies. For fun, here's its very goddy newsletter.

Things get interesting however, when we look at its finances. A site named CHIMP gets its information from the same place we do, the CRA.

This pie chart is fascinating, though. WTF does that mean?


But Chimp reports the 2013 data correctly. In 2013, Medicine Hat Haters spent 90% of their dough on management and administration, with 3% going to the "charitable program."



Note that they report 0% "government funding."

Now have a look at their filing for 2012. Then, they spent 95% on the charitable program and 5% on management, again reporting no government funding.


In 2011, again 95% went to the charitable program with no government funding.

Now, go back to the Alberta Lottery Fund and nose around a bit, you'll find that Medicine Hat scored government/pubic money as follows:

2012/13: $4500
2011/12: $6300
2010/11: $9300
2009/10: 0
2008/09: $4500
(figures are rounded to nearest hundred)

Two questions here:
1. Why are they not reporting government funding?

2. How the hell did they go from spending 5% on admin to spending 90%?

Honest mistake?

No flags were raised?

We will continue to ask questions.




h/t to Niles in the comments for the FB, CHIMP, and newsletter links.

Crisis Pregnancy Centres: Alberta Fake Clinics Get Public Money

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 05:54
As promised, we're taking a look at other crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) in Canada that apply for and receive public funding.

Back here in our how-to identify and expose fake clinics getting public money, Kathy Dawson found that the Alberta Lottery Foundation (ALF) does indeed funnel money to CPCs.

Alberta Lottery Foundation is like the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It redistributes the province's ill-gotten gains to "worthy" community assets. (Or does it?)

It's got a ton of dough to hand out -- $1.486 billion in 2013-14 alone.

The website has a handy search function. Kathy used the search term "pregnancy" and look what she found.


Since 2008, ALF has given $93,200 of "involuntary" donors' -- i.e. Alberta's gamblers' -- money to three "pregnancy"-related groups: Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society, Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association, and Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society (Red Deer and Olds). Most of the funding was for operations and all of the funds were doled out under the Community Spirit Donation Grant Program.
The Community Spirit Donation Grant Program supports the generosity of Albertans with a matching Donation Grant Program and the Enhanced Charitable Tax Credit.There's not much information on this program on ALF's site, but it seems that not only are public funds involved in the grants, but Albertans fork out again in forgoing taxes on the donors' contributions in the form of "Enhanced Charitable Tax Credits."

Let's have a closer look at Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre. It's interesting for a few reasons. First, it's pretty rich for these kind of operations.

From its mandatory filing at Canadian Revenue Agency, in 2013, it reported revenue of just over $450K, with "government funding" $68,690 or 15%.

In 2012, it reported revenue of $442K and government funding of $95,879 (22%).

"Government funding"??????????????????

It was also the target of an undercover investigation in 2000 by CTV, which exposed the usual lies, manipulations, and misleading information. I can't find any of the original stories but I found an interesting "rebuttal" by Fetus Freak Media outlet The Interim.

The Central Alberta fake clinic can also boast of the fact that one of its founders is Valorie Day, Stockwell Day's wife.

Here is its mission statement:

The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre is a Christian charity dedicated to upholding the sanctity of all human life. We help women, their partners, and their families to explore all pregnancy options; giving access to accurate information and the space and time needed to make a well informed decision.

The Centre does not perform, refer, or advocate for abortion. However, we are committed to unconditional acceptance of everyone we serve, regardless of their choices.It is also a member of Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, you know, the umbrella organization, that the Ontario Trillium Foundation had a "philosophical" issue with.
The decision came after pseudonym-using blogger Fern Hill reached out to OTF Oct. 29, confirmed Thomas Chanzy, vice-president public affairs.

“The issue that was raised when we looked into that grant more deeply was the affiliation with CAPPS, the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services,” he said.So, if you live in Alberta and buy lottery tickets, you are willy-nilly supporting these lying liars. If you live in Alberta and don't buy lottery tickets, your tax dollars have to stretch just a bit farther because you are underwriting donations to them.

Later, a look at the other two publicly funded fake clinics in Alberta.

False Witnesses: A Rogues' Gallery of BAD Scientists

Sat, 11/15/2014 - 08:03
Everyone who writes or cares about reproductive justice, women's rights, science, etc. should bookmark this amazing feat of research, Reproductive Health Reality Check's False Witnesses project.

Here at DJ! we have an abiding interest in BAD science in general but in particular as it is applied to abortion and women's health.

"BAD" stands for biased, agenda-driven, or science-for-hire. And it is everywhere.

Here's RH Reality Check's explanation.
First Big Tobacco, then climate change denial, and now, the anti-choice movement.

The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by conservatives to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.

They create nonprofits, staffed with die-hard ideologues, and set about producing and promoting bogus science, to build the illusion of dissent or doubt over conclusions drawn by peer-reviewed scientific or medical research. They develop their own “research findings” to suit their ideological views. Then they deploy scare tactics, all with the goal of passing laws that suit their agenda.
And anti-choice has been at it for decades now. They've even got "institutes" and sciencey-sounding "research groups." Some we've tried to profile here but RH Reality Check has really dug and got the goods.

In the False Witnesses Gallery are 14 "scientists" for hire, some familiar to us, some not so much. They're mostly USian. Click on their photos to find out more.

The format for each profile is fabulous. Each is divided into sections: "Signature Falsehood," "Setting the Record Straight," "Role Within the Anti-Choice Movement," and "Blatant Errors," as well as their connections, credentials, and the amount of dough they've raked in with their obligingness. And they are all connected, all cite each other's publications.

In short, hours of fun reading.

And while there are no Canadians among them, these liars regularly show up at Canadian anti-choice events and venues.

Like Martha Shuping, who caused a fuss recently when she was invited to speak at Memorial University, and Angela Lanfranchi, who is Maurice Vellacott's go-to gal for bullshit on the "abortion causes breast cancer" canard.

Very gratifying for us here at DJ! is the inclusion of our fave Perfesser of Home Economics and Slut-Shaming, Priscilla Coleman, whose work has been so thoroughly and utterly dismantled it's a wonder she has the gall to show her face. Here's the RH Reality Check research on her.

We have one addition. There is a disreputable gang of Canadians operating under the banner of the Deveber Institute. Small and pretty lame, but all ours.

So, bookmark and browse.

And congratulations and grand merci to RH Reality Check.

Philosophical Differences versus False Allegations: Defunded Fake Clinic Responds

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 05:48
Yesterday (November 13/14), Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre announced the rescinding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) of the second instalment (amount unknown) of a $83,800 grant.

Here it is.
Due to a fundamental philosophical difference the OTF has decided to rescind the grant.  This means we received funding for one year’s operation but will not receive further funding for the second year. 

. . .

One particular blog has been making false allegations regarding our Centre and is taking credit for the rescinding of the OTF grant.  This same group has been making allegations against other Pregnancy Centre’s [sic] in Canada.Hilarious, yes?

They claim to have "fundamental philosophical difference" with the once and future (?) major granting organization, but throw "false allegations" at a wee (unnamed) blogger.

The CPC in question seems to have set a stalking horse on us in the person of commenter and self-proclaimed videographer Nathan Colquhoun who takes issue with my post about inappropriate medical equipment at the Lambton outfit here and here.

He claims to have no dog in this fight but his profile shows him to be some kinda xian pastor.

Okey-dokey then.

Are they laying the groundwork to sue us?

In its blogpost the Lambton Liars refer to a paper supposedly refuting Joyce Arthur's damning report "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC".

When a couple of those fake BC clinics tried to sue Joyce for defamation over her report, it did not end well for them.

Lambton CPC's argument, of course, should be with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, not moi.

But, hey, this is totally typical behaviour for bullying liars. Take on the small fry while kissing the big kahuna's ass.

What I find mysterious -- and OTF must find relaxing, at least for the moment -- is the total disinterest by mainstream media over what seems to me (ahem) to be a fairly Big Story.

Major Grant Foundation (All But) Admits Error in Funding Prolife Liars!

OK, that's probably not the headline they'd go with -- but that's the story.

Stay tuned. . .

Donor Beware: Ottawa Senators' Fake Clinic Charity Re-Visited

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 14:09
'Tis the (ever earlier) season when you'll be hit up by various good causes. In light of the revelation that unbeknownst to Ontario gamblers they were helping to fund a religious anti-choice fake clinic, let's revisit the grandmother of anti-abortion trickery stories in Canada.

I was reminded of it by commenter Sub-Boreal, who reports a similar situation.
And it's not just lottery funds that end up funding the fake crisis centres. Example: I was horrified to discover a couple of years ago that my credit union gave a few thousand to a local centre after polling members on how to divvy up a fund among some charities. I hadn't been a very attentive member, so I'm not sure how the shortlist of charities had been compiled, but I'll be much more vigilant the next time any similar process gets announced.
For the holidays of 2007, the wives and girlfriends -- known as the Better Halves (awww) -- of the Ottawa Senators sponsored a charity dealie with three worthy charities the intended recipients of funds extorted exhorted from loyal Sens fans.

Planned Parenthood raised the alarm that one of the charities, First Place Pregnancy Centre, now rebranded (as they are wont to do) First Place Options, was a lying-liar outfit of the first order.

Before DJ!, deBeauxOs and I blogged at Birth Pangs. We were all over the story as were other bloggers, notably JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie.

CBC got on it in the person of Heather Mallick. (Her original story has vaporized, as has the re-issue at rabble.)

I found a link to the meaty bit of the story -- her phone conversation with the Senators Foundation prez as they went through the links on First Place's website.
I had an initially cheerful phone interview with Sens Foundation president Dave Ready, who said the Better Halves, when asked to choose three charities, chose: First Place, Kids Help Phone [and] Harmony House (a women's shelter).

First Place was “in line with our mandate,” he said. “We did due diligence and checked that it's a charity.”

“You went to the website?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Did you check on the links?”

“No.”

We went through the First Place site links together. There's a standard disclaimer but First Place hopes we'll find them “helpful.” I told Ready that some of the news headlines appeared to be libellous, particularly the ones linking corporations that make birth control drugs to the Jewish Holocaust and one drug itself to Nazi death camps. Others were grotesque: “One baby in 30 left alive after medical abortion” turns out to be an absurd, unsubstantiated anonymous “news story” in a British entertainment magazine.

You're also guided to a donation page for the American Life League, a hardline group based outside Washington. There's a shop, admittedly very funny, that sells “Abortion is mean” T-shirts for two-year-olds.

They offer booklets explaining that abortion is wrong even in the case of incest. They tell members to scare away raped children outside abortion clinics. They call RU-486 “the anti-human pesticide.” They offer sample letters to the editor to send to outlets that employ, I imagine, columnists like me. One begins: “Planned Parenthood is not 'a good guy.'”

Ready gets more and more quiet as we track this. Soon he is desperate to get off the phone. He will not let me talk to a Better Half, who might well explain that she hadn't known that First Place is financed by the Bethel Pentecostal Church (external - login to view) in Ottawa and its mission — declared on the Bethel website but nowhere on the First Place site — is not just anti-abortion but anti-birth control.In short, the Sens' Better Halves had stepped in some deep doo-doo.

Sens fans were wondering WTF? Pro-choicers (especially of the Leaf Nation variety) were pointing and laughing.

And bloggers were having a ball.

But before things could get any poopier, the lying liars pulled out. (This was characterized as a "gracious" move by the Fetus Freak Media. Ha. Right.)

We never learned how the Better Halves chose that charity. Was it an inside job? Were they duped?

There was one more move. First Place sued Planned Parenthood for "defamation over comments that the Centre is 'anti-choice'." As that blogger points out, it was pretty odd for one charity to sue another, and likely to be very expensive for both.

We don't know what happened there either since some kind of settlement was reached.

For us, it was lots of fun, especially as we were dubbed by LifeShite Vicious Abortion Crusaders, a title we wear with pride to this day.

But there's another more important takeaway: When someone asks you for dough, ask for details.

(It also explains why fake clinic websites don't link to their more lunatic, racist fellow travellers anymore. In public at least. We know from undercover investigations that they still spew the most outrageous nonsense once they have a live vulnerable woman in their fake clinics.)

Happy giving season!

Defunding Anti-Choice: A How-To

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 10:02
After DJ!'s involvement in the rescinding of a grant of public funds to a crisis pregnancy centre, aka fake clinic, we've been asked how to go about it.

First thing to know -- it's not difficult.

Second thing -- the ferreting part is tedious.

Third thing -- it's immensely gratifying. And FUN!

While we at DJ! despise crisis pregnancy centres, we don't deny their right to exist. What we do want to deny is access to public funds.

We chose Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), which distributes gaming proceeds to Ontario communities and groups, because it is a huge granting organization. We're not aware of other public granting bodies in Ontario. There may be some in other parts of Canada.

So, gaming/lottery-related organizations seem a good place to start.

Outside of Ontario, there seems to be two main lottery gangs: Western Canada Lottery Corporation and Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Atlantic Lottery Corporation seems to fund only events, but that may bear more investigation.

(I'm leaving Quebec out, because it's highly unlikely any similar granting body there would have any truck with forced birthers.)

Provinces seem to run their own grant programs with different criteria.

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Kathy Dawson, @blueskies366, did a little investigation in Alberta and found this.

So, in Alberta at least, pubic money is going to the lying liars at crisis pregnancy centres.

In Nova Scotia, all proceeds seem to go to "problem gambling." But again, this needs more looking into.

Here's the tedious part. Get into the databases. It's public money -- they have to account for it, if not for their fucked-up justifications.

Nose around. Key words: crisis pregnancy centres, pregnancy centres, pregnancy resource centres, pregnancy options, choices, alternatives, life.

Crisis pregnancy centres have become so notorious for lying and manipulation, they're rebranding themselves, using other words in their titles.

A very large nation-wide franchise (?) is called Birthright.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has done a lot of work on fake clinics. For example, here's a PDF on "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia". Visit ARCC's website for more help.

The granting organizations make a big deal out of getting credit for their largesse. Searching local newspapers and media outlets for the name of the foundation might be useful.

Similarly, the grantees must acknowledge funding. So check their websites. Also check local news -- they like to brag when they've scored public money. (Although that might change [*snerk*].)

If you find something, write to the granting gang to ask their rationale for the award.

DJ! blogged and tweeted about our discovery at this point. We don't do Facebook, but some pals posted the story there too. Public organizations are getting more and more sensitive about their social media presence.

If you don't blog, DJ! will help.

We were lucky or blessed with an unusually responsible granting foundation. Our story stops here. OTF replied (see top link) and rescinded the problem grant.

Your mileage. . .

What follows is speculation, not experience.

Local media generally like stories about unresponsive bureaucracies. They also love a whiff of impropriety in public funding.

Women's organizations probably have connections and networks to help put pressure on the foundation or to solicit media attention.

In short, get out the activist toolbox and rummage around.

Again, DJ! would be pleased to help.

It's estimated that there are about 200 fake clinics in Canada. Let's make their lives a little more difficult, shall we?

Poking the Trillium: CPC Grant Rescinded!

Sat, 11/08/2014 - 09:49
Last week DJ! reported on public funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) being given to a religious anti-abortion group, specifically the Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

I also wrote to OTF and tweaked them on Twitter. And got this quick response.

@fernhilldammit Thanks for this. As a public funder, we don't condone discriminatory practices. Getting info. We'll get back to you tmw.

— Ontario Trillium Fdn (@ONTrillium) October 30, 2014

A further response on Twitter directed me to OTF's website where one can download a PDF called Policy Suite, dated October 30, 2014 (!). I was directed to the anti-discrimination section.

On page 37, we find this.
Funding of grantees
OTF will not fund organizations that discriminate, or that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of people.Which is a quite succinct description of crisis pregnancy centres.

My email to OTF was passed along to Thomas Chanzy, Vice-President, Pubic Affairs. I had linked to the relevant DJ! blogposts and informed them that I intended to blog on their response, so they should consider themselves on the record.

Here's part of what he said in his first email:
Thank you for your email and thank you for raising this issue with us. I appreciate your interest in ensuring that our funds are a good use of public money, and we are taking your comments very seriously.
 
As indicated on twitter, we, as a public funder, do not condone discriminatory practices and we have an anti-discriminatory policy in place to ensure that our grants do not fund such practices. In addition, our program guidelines clearly states that we will not fund advocacy activities.  
 
We acknowledge that the lines can be blurry between advocacy and non-advocacy activities in the nonprofit sector. That’s why we are committed to always improving our granting practices. We have recently revised our anti-discriminatory policy as part of our ongoing review process. In particular, our revised policy now explicitly prohibits the funding of activities that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of Ontarians.
 
I note that you have specific questions about our grant to the Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre. Let me consult our program staff on this particular grant and we will provide you with an answer by the end of this week.
And he did. It's full of careful (and very good) bureaucratese, but it's about as straightforward as this sort of communication can be. I was impressed. I'll post the whole thing if people are interested. For now, here are the relevant points.

I had three questions.

Question 1. What due diligence did OTF conduct to assure itself that the Lambton CPC was a legitimate community asset and not a religious organization with a clear agenda of dissuading women from accessing a legal medical service?

The answer: OTF uses local decision making and volunteers do the work. Then matters go up the chain and staff assesses "the organisational eligibility of the applicants, and the feasibility of the projects for which funding is sought."

Here's the good part.
Our process relies on assessments by individuals, and all act in good faith. It is not fail proof.Then, more on process and overseeing committees, blahblahblah.

Question 2. What measures are being taken/will be taken to ensure that no money is ever given to such groups again?

Answer:
We acknowledge that no system is fail proof. That’s why we are committed to always improving our granting practices. 

As already noted, our revised policy now explicitly prohibits the funding of activities that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of Ontarians.
Not quite "mistakes were made" but pretty darned close, eh?

Question 3. Under what circumstances might a grant be rescinded? I note that the grant to Lambton CPC -- a sizeable one of $83,800 -- is to be delivered over 2 years.

And now the WOOHOO! part:
We have reassessed the grant made to this organisation and have rescinded the remainder of the grant.  We have informed the organization that no more funding will flow. We have a clear policy on rescinding grants; several grants are rescinded annually, for compliance, financial and risk management purposes.
No more funding will flow.

Now DJ! would never ever take credit for something that wasn't totally merited, and despite Mr. Chanzy's assurance that "several grants are rescinded annually," we say again:

WOOHOO!

We must commend OTF and Mr. Chanzy for their quick and responsible response. I'm not a gambling gal, but I am reassured that Ontario's ill-gotten gains are being returned to communities as well as possible.

When I told Sweetie the news, he wondered about the legality of picking (on) a trillium. I looked and found this.
…despite what most Ontarians think – it is not always illegal to pluck or otherwise annoy the trillium.