Politics Unspun

Bell Canada's corporate compassion rings hollow

Every year since 2011, the telecom giant Bell Canada has sponsored a mental illness awareness campaign called “Let’s Talk,” culminating at or near the end of a designated month in “Bell Let’s Talk Day.” Bell President and CEO George Cope said the motive for the campaign came out of a desire to reduce the fear and stigma surrounding mental illness, which keeps two out of every three sufferers from seeking help. To date, the campaign has raised more than $86 million and donated funds to more than 400 organizations, among which are the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary Counselling Centre, Atlantic Wellness Community Centre, Inc.  and the Greater Victoria Citizens’ Counselling Centre.

However, it is an axiom of economics that altruism is contrary to the nature of a corporation, a rapacious artificial entity that exists only to maximize profit and shareholder equity, regardless of the effect on workers or the environment. The concept of moral obligation to people or society does not compute, and anyone who wants to see concrete proof of this should watch the sobering Canadian documentary The Corporation. So, when a corporation like Bell champions a cause like mental health, its profession of concern must not be taken at face value.


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