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How An Error In A Canadian Newspaper Set Off A Series Of Inaccurate Stories By Right-Wing Media

The Canadian government's contribution is $20 million to a program tied to the Clinton Foundation — not $241.5 million.

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A false claim that Canada gave $241.5 million to the Clinton Foundation is making the rounds online, but the actual figure is much, much smaller.

Toronto Sun / Via torontosun.com

The Toronto Sun newspaper argued in an editorial this week that Justin Trudeau's Liberal government shouldn't give money to a Clinton Foundation program to improve family planning in developing countries.

"We take no issue with our government showing leadership on women’s issues," the editorial said. "We do question the wisdom of using Canadian taxpayer cash to get into bed with the Clintons."

But the newspaper wrongly claimed Canada was giving $241.5 million to the Clinton Foundation — which would be more money than the foundation raised in all of 2015, the last year for which public numbers are available. That year, the Clinton Foundation's total revenue was only $116 million USD, or about $150 million CAD.

In fact, the Canadian government gave $20 million to the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) for a program in Nigeria.

🇨🇦 is championing #SRHR for women & girls globally with $241.5M announcement @FP2020Global #HerFuture… https://t.co/Fcq8P4PHLn

According to Global Affairs Canada, the $20 million goes to a CHAI program to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services in the West African nation over the next five years. CHAI was founded in 2002 as part of the Clinton Foundation, and it was spun off into its own independent organization in 2010.

The rest of the $241.5 million aid package, announced at the Family Planning Summit in London, is spread out across 18 other organizations.

The incorrect figure was picked up by various right-wing blogs and websites and continues to circulate, even after the Toronto Sun corrected its article.

The Debate Post / Via debatepost.com

The Debate Post, a conservative Canadian political blog, claimed in its headline that all funds were going to the Clinton Foundation. Strangely enough, the body of the post has the correct figure of $20 million. The post has gotten almost 35,000 Facebook shares, reactions, and comments.

The Rebel, the media outlet that has featured many figures of the so-called "alt-right" as hosts and guests, misreported the amount as well, characterizing it as a payment going directly to "Bill and Hillary Clinton."

The incorrect $241.5 million figure was also cited on Reddit — in top posts under r/The_Donald and other conservative subreddits.

The Canadian government has previously donated to programs tied to the Clinton Foundation.

Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

In 2015, the government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave $600,000 to a job training program in Colombia. The foundation has also raised millions of dollars from Canadian business leaders.

While $20 million is still a big number, it's nowhere near the amount some people are claiming Canada donated.

UPDATE

This post has been updated with extra context about the Clinton Health Access Initiative and its relationship to the Clinton Foundation.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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