Kate Bahen Has Lost the Plot

Kate Bahen Has Lost the Plot
by Mark Bourrie
May 21, 2024
Kate Bahen Has Lost the Plot

In the cesspool that is social media and in nutbar culture at large – including on the highways where we see black pickups festooned with F*ck Trudeau flags – we’re seeing more  Trudeau Derangement Syndrome. From inflation, to taxes, provincial vaccine mandates, grocery prices, diversity initiatives – no grievance is too big or too small to blame directly on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’s become the national sin eater, the person who’s been saddled with all the faults of this country (and its people).

This is one of several mass psychotic breaks. The last century has been called The Century of Violence in one book series. The 21st century may be the century of bullshit, with people seizing on easy answers and quick fixes without doing the work to learn some facts.

In the summer of 2019, I started writing pieces debunking the attack on We Charity and the Kielburger family. In the early years of Free the Children and its successor, WE, I hadn’t given much thought to Craig and Marc Kielburger. This changed when my kids were in school. Then, when Jesse Brown went after them, I thought it was typical Canadian tall poppy syndrome. I also saw Brown’s attack as flawed reporting, and as a good case study to unpack the ridiculous idea that outfits like Canadaland would, or could, replace mainstream media.

And I thought the attack would blow over, since Canadaland has minimal reach among people who count in this country. Then came the WE Charity Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) affair in the Covid summer of 2020, an exercise in media and political smear with few precedents in Canada. Since then, I’ve noticed a less widespread but equally deranged phenomenon that I’d call WE Charity Derangement Syndrome (WECDS). Infected people believe that everything the charity and its founders were involved in was corrupt, fake, and sinister: everything the charity did was a smoke screen to hide the creation of a Kielburger real estate empire from donations meant for children.

Everyone’s in on it, of course: federal bureaucrats, politicians from all parties who supported the charity before 2020, celebrities, corporations, the Globe and Mail, the CBC, world leaders, and the entire Trudeau family… and me, I suppose.

Patient zero of WECDS was Jesse Brown. Brown became obsessed with the charity and the Kielburgers, dedicating years of his life to try and find something, anything, wrong. For a while, he gave up, concluding in 2019, “There is no smoking gun. There is no big scandal... one thing that became really clear to us early on is that WE is legit. This was never going to be a story about a crooked charity.”

But, like many bad smells, Brown was revived when more rot set in.

He became Witness Brown in a 2020 parliamentary committee hearing when the CSSG story broke. Then came the White Saviors podcast, when Witness Brown put on his producer hat and became Journalist Brown before assuming his current role as “The Defendant”.  (More on this suit, here).

The WEDCS infection spread around the country almost as quickly as COVID-19 Politicians like Charlie Angus and Pierre Poilievre caught bad cases of WECDS, as did the Canadian media pack, including the CBC’s Fifth Estate, which now a defendant in a U.S. federal court, where things don’t look too good for this often-sued and rarely-legally-successful program.

Renowned cranks like Vivian Krause became, for magic moments, experts before parliamentary committees, testifying to horrors and conspiracies that WE hid for decades.

Amid the wild accusations fueled by Brown and others, Kate Bahen, the Managing Director of Charity Intelligence, was thrust into the spotlight, cast as an “expert” on WE Charity.

In those hearings, she emerged as the most infected WECDS patient to date, and she haunts us still.

Over the Victoria Day weekend, Bahen jumped the shark. She strongly implied the WE bribed the judge who ruled that Theresa Kielburger’s case against Jesse Brown and company must proceed toward trial, and that there appeared to be no credible defence for Canadaland.  

Here is a screen shot of what she said:

Accusing a judge of being paid off for a decision is a very serious allegation. It’s false and its contempt of court. Bahen says I misinterpret her words. Yes, you could look at each of her statements as stand-alone, not connected to the others. But I don’t believe people parse things that way. To me, the clear and plain meaning of the post is obvious.

Her words speak for themselves, and they remain in her Twitter/X feed at the time of this posting. She would be wise to delete the comment, but it’s probably too late.

As I’ve written about before, Bahen, the highest paid employee of the boutique charity rating agency, lives in her own world – one in which she thinks she’s an expert on everything and is somehow above facing the same scrutiny she applies to all others.

In this case, she misrepresents the judge’s motives and the decision itself, claiming the judge relied solely on evidence from WE’s employees. In fact, the judge referenced a letter from the Ontario Federation of Labour refuting claims made against Ms. Kielburger and the charity that were repeated by Brown in the White Saviors podcast:

“[63] At the centre of the Plaintiff’s claim is one sentence spoken by Brown in the Canadaland podcast which is identified as crucial to the alleged libel: the statement that the Plaintiff “deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations directly into the family's personal bank account.” On its face, that statement is one of fact, not opinion. If true it can be verified as true, and if false it can be exposed as false. The bank account documents and those who deposited money there will reveal the factually correct version of events.

[64] While this is not the place for any definitive finding on the merits, the evidence in the record goes a long way toward establishing that this repetition of the Money Passage is untrue. Brown and Canadaland were aware of, but never mentioned, the accountant’s letter and the OFL’s letter that appear to disprove this allegation about where the funds were deposited. The Plaintiff has reason to believe that Brown, Canadaland, and its related Defendants have no defence of fair comment with respect to this statement.”

Charity Intelligence has deep personal and financial connections to the Conservatives and I broke the news recently that she personally donated  to NDP MP Charlie Angus, a lead figure in destroying WE Charity.

She can’t lead a supposedly unbiased and impartial charity rating agency while being a donor to the MP who did the most to destroy WE Charity. And I agree with her testimony before the standing committee examining the CSSG affair that “I find partisanship toxic.” But she doesn’t walk the walk.

It’s not Bahen and Charity Intelligence’s first rodeo. In 2019, she was forced to publicly apologize for defaming another Canadian charity that raises money for work with kids.

As I noted in my last piece, I’m going to be digging into how Charity Intelligence operates, its political connections and Bahen’s real estate holdings and salary. And given that Charity Intelligence operates as a charity, transparency is a two-way street.

We need oversight of charities. It’s a function that should be done by governments. If governments abdicate this responsibility and this work is to be done by private agencies, it better be done right.

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