Did I fall asleep and miss when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) became part of Dalton McGuinty’s government? I must have because, when Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne held a news conference today to announce strict new rules for young drivers, she was accompanied by the CEO of MADD. And friends who have been pulled over in a police spot-check have reported they had a representative of MADD at their car window along with a police officer.
I find this distasteful. MADD is one of those “pretend” charities that exist more for the benefit of those who run it than anything else. People have this image of Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a charity that spends most of the millions it raises annually stopping drunk driving and helping families traumatized by fatal crashes. To the contrary, as a Toronto Star investigation in 2006 revealed, most of the so-called charity’s money is spent on fundraising and administration, and only about 19 cents of each donor dollar is used for charitable works.
This is shameful. Of course, MADD’s chief executive officer Andrew Murie, at the time, defended the imbalance in expenses by claiming that paid telemarketers and door-knockers were performing good works because they educate the public as they ask for cash. For years MADD had been claiming over 80 per cent of donations were spent directly on MADD Canada programs, but when the Star obtained MADD’s financial statements, it was clear that millions of dollars went in payments to the fundraising firms, making up a big chunk of its charitable programs.
At the time of the Star’s exposé, it reported that Elizabeth Tromp, director-general of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate, said “When a professional fundraiser has been retained, it can reasonably be inferred that the intent of the expenditure is fundraising.” I agree with that.
The Star also reported. “MADD Canada founder John Bates, who received the Order of Canada for his anti-drunk driving work, said the group created at his kitchen table many years ago has lost its way. [Emphasis mine]
This is a group which exists for its and its executives’ aggrandizement and self perpetuation. Its charitable work is a means to its perpetuation and a continued source of employment income for its executive.
This is not the sort of organization I want to see playing a quasi-official role in Ontario’s policing and government policy and law making.