Corporations Canada sends an email today reminding that Opposition International has existed for one year now and a tax return needs filing by March 14, 2023. Notification of any changes to the Board of Directors or bylaws should also be sent. Changes incur a $200 fee.
Over the last year OI has developed a small ardent group of supporters and has established a foothold in social media. We have a website blog, a Substack account, a podcast account, and Mailchimp coupled to Woo Commerce to help with fundraising. Effort is needed to get all these wonderful programs working. For example, I am working on using Openai’s ChatGPT to do a daily news agregation on the state of opposition politics on select countries. Initial tests still point to a need for further calibration of the question posed.
Direct contact with people on the ground is vital. We have established conversations with a growing number of individuals engaged with opposition research and analysis: in Africa — Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, C.A.R., Tunisia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Mauritius. In Asia, India, Oakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesis, and Philippines. Our Kazakhstan and Hong Kong contacts are active but concerned. In South America, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti,with Costa Rica being a base for Central American countries. Our focus on Europe is in the South and East. Many organizations are active there so our focus for now is on assessment on advanced opposition research.
We are a way still from functioning as full scale media and information resource for and about opposition parties. Engagement, training, and potentially opposition-specific election-monitoring needs more in-depth planning.
A lot hinges on the resources available. The decision was made to hold off on targeted individual fundraising until we had a clearer pitch to disseminate. Far more effort is needed to solicit major donations from individuals and foundations.
It needs to clear where we stand. Initial donor perceptions of OI stretch from a traditional educational NGO to a political advocacy initiative. We are solidly non-partisan in that we will liaise and assist opposition parties left, right, and centre and issue-based ones. They should profess to the Rule of Law and democratic principles.
OI’s mission is build support for opposition parties in their traditional role as the key to democratic accountability. That idea lost favour due to concerns about partisan polarization and the allure of corporatist representation of identities. The constitutional centrality of the Opposition needs restatement and on-the-ground reinforcement in evolving democracies.
Personally, the year began in the snows of Toronto and ends in a typhoon in the Philippines. I am back in Toronto in March. Planned trips ahead are the United States, Bangladesh, and, if possible, the V-Dem Institute in Gothenburg, Germany and the Institute for Opposition Studies, Bolton, U.K.
Is it really possible? Financial and personnel stability, the gathering and availability of useful information, and a robust and appreciated outreach to opposition parties. People helping out at least say so. Thank you Patrick, Jeann Probashi, George, Tatina, Alair, Alejandro, William, Soo, Kenneth, Ade, Henry, Agnes, Iqbal, Zahid, Mahoud, Nazmul, Sajid, Saad, Kamran, Shahmeem, Sohana, Dighol, Forrest, Tricia, Thy, Kenneth, Alonzo, Dimash, Lianne, Yu-ming, Franckie, and others.
Best to all in 2023!