Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Canada Revenue Agency becomes an arm of the PMO

JULY 22, 2014

There is a salty expression that seems apt at the moment: "Don’t p*ss on me and tell me it's raining." A number of charities that have spoken out against various policies of the current Harper administration might well echo the sentiment expressed in that injunction.

The Canada Revenue Agency is currently auditing several Canadian charities, sniffing around for suspect "political activity." The list of targets reads like a Who's Who of Canadian charitable institutions: Amnesty International Canada is included, and so is Kairos, stupidly denounced as "anti-Semitic" a few years back by the egregiously dishonest Minister Jason Kenney; the David Suzuki Foundation, Tides Canada, Equiterre, Environmental Defence, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, PEN Canada, Canada Without Poverty, even the United Church of Canada.

It appears, and by no coincidence, that the Knights of Columbus and the Fraser Institute,both of which wade frequently into politics, have been spared a visit from the Grand Inquisitor.

But CRA claims, apparently with a straight face, that its hounding of charities whose missions and goals are not aligned with those of the Harper government has nothing to do with their progressive orientation. Mon oeil.

It's selectively seeking out environmental, human rights and international aid groups, and organizations receiving donations from labour unions. And it's spinning the process out, in order to bleed as many resources as it can from the charities under the gun, which have been forced to divert their scarce funds and staff to answering the incessant demands of auditors camped on their doorsteps, sometimes for years. Only one revocation of charitable status has been made--a doctors' charity in 2012 -- since the government's omnibus bill C-38 was passed in that year, setting aside millions to launch the current persecution. But CRA has now made its witchhunt (for that is what it clearly is) a permanent feature of its organization.

The purpose seems evident: to muzzle dissent -- nothing new, of course, for the Harper government -- and to paralyze the charitable operations of these organizations.

And it's working. As researcher Gareth Kirkby notes: "The government is attempting with some success to narrow society's important policy conversations. READ MORE.....