Canada: Civil Society under Neglect

Susan Phillips



Mandeep Tiwana and Clare Doube remind us in their article “Civil Society Under Attack,” featured in this issue of The Philanthropist / Le Philathrope, that civil society is openly repressed and under attack in many parts of the world, which should make us feel very fortunate as Canadians. Our governments may suddenly with­draw funding from civil society organizations that they wish to punish or feel we no longer need, thus forcing them into bankruptcy, as has occurred with several think tanks and other nonprofits in recent years. Canadian governments tend not to put civil society leaders in jail just for speaking out, however, and we have not shot one for some time. But Canadians should avoid being too smug about our governments’ stance toward the third sector. Absent the violence and the abuse of human rights that Tiwana and Doube report, the underlying problem they describe is not that different in Canada: the reality of public policies for the third sector falls far short of political rhetoric or potential for a constructive relationship.


Civil society; Nonprofits; Canadian government

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