` Columbia Journal- BC Federation Meets
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BC Federation Meets
By Dan Keeton

A battle between conflicting ideologies has emerged after an unprecedented attack from a right wing political organization and the provincial government ignited the news pages in late November. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation criticized a provincial grant of $200,000 to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' BC office from the former NDP government.

The Federation, a group lobbying for sweeping tax cuts and opposing public services spending, suggested political pork-barreling by noting the grant arrived only a few days before the NDP was swept from office. Liberal finance minister Gary Collins joined the fray, saying the grant would be investigated and claiming his government had never seen any benefit from it.

Within a few days, the CCPA responded. In a letter circulated to friends and members, BC director Seth Klein called the accusations mud-slinging and challenged Collins' claim.

"[The endowment] has helped us to produce: extensive analysis on the distribution of BC's tax cuts according to income; research on the impact tax and spending cuts are having on disposable income; research on pay equity; analysis of changes to employment standards and the Human Rights Code; research on poverty dynamics and income mobility; and…original research on the distribution of wealth by province. It is also helping to produce forthcoming research on the regional distribution of tax and sending cuts, and analysis of the latest welfare reforms," Klein wrote.

Collins' remarks are "beyond comprehension," stated Klein.

"As each of these publications is released, notices are sent to every sitting MLA. Many of these publications were formal submissions to government policy reviews. Mr. Collins has even publicly commented on some of this research in the media."

The CCPA scrupulously maintains a non-partisan stance, Klein contended. "We were a thorn in the side of the previous provincial government, just as we have been a thorn in the side of this government. We criticized the previous NDP government for their cuts to welfare, for their tax cuts…In fact, Mr. Collins, when in opposition, drew on our research to criticize the previous government."

The centre opposes philosophies espoused by right wing and corporate-funded groups such as the taxpayers' federation and the Fraser Institute, Klein said, but has never resorted to slinging mud at those organizations.

That they have done so is unfortunate but also an indication of the CCPA's success, he said.

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