Series prompts action by Saanich 
1st Annual Media Award winner highlights non-profit and church tax exemptions

Journalist Wolf Depner of Saanich News is the winner of the 1st Annual Media Award from Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria for his stories that resulted in the municipality reviewing its permissive tax exemptions.

Non-profit organizations including religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions in the future as a result of the  series.

“We believe it’s very important to recognize exemplary media coverage focusing on local government,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.

“Talking or writing about taxes, religion and politics in public is difficult but Mr. Depner managed to accomplish that in an informed, balanced fashion.”

His three-part series ran in September: Humanist group says Saanich taxes public purse with tax exemptions, Religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions, and Vancouver Islanders ponder the traditional practice of giving tax breaks to churches.

“The success of Grumpy Taxpayer$ is partly due to the media – particularly Saanich News – taking an interest in local government and recognizing its major impact on their reader’s lives.”

“In recent years, access to quality news is under threat: Media coverage of local government has been diminishing, an issue attributed to the advent of the Internet some 20 years ago, the economic downturn a decade ago, and most recently, the election of an autocratic, anti-media president in the White House,” says Bartlett.


Grumpy Taxpayer$ offer Saanich News reporter inaugural media award, Nov. 13, 2018.

New report finds newspaper cuts bad news for local political coverage, JSource, The Canadian Journalism Project, Sept. 26, 2018.

Newspapers matter, more now than ever, Publisher Bob Cox, Winnipeg Free Press.

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