Not terrorists, white-collar crooks, or climate change -- it seems the real threat to Canadian society hides behind a much friendlier face: charities. Or to be more specific, charities critical of the Canadian government. This week it was made public that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing PEN Canada for its "political activities." In 2012, the Canadian government earmarked $8 million of the CRA's budget for auditing political activities, and then upped that amount again to $13 million. In a time of austerity, there is still a plenty of money to go after enemies of our federal government.
Will New Brunswick be the next province to elect a Liberal government when voters head to the polls in September? Liberal parties are on a roll at the provincial level, with three consecutive victories in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario (four with British Columbia, though the B.C. Liberal Party is more closely associated with the federal Conservatives).
Enbridge is facing a startling number of new First Nations lawsuits, challenging the constitutionality of the Harper’s government decision in June to approve the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline. Eight First Nations -- from Haida Gwaii to Yinka Dene territory west of Prince George – have launched legal challenges, since Friday.
Negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have long been a guarded secret, but critics say the Harper government went the extra mile to keep the latest round of talks out of the public eye. Talks on the world’s largest (so far) free trade area were slated to begin July 3 in Vancouver.
#TORONTO - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's public criticism of Canada's top justice impugned her integrity and was tantamount to undue interference with the independence of the courts, according to an international group of eminent judges and lawyers.As a result, the International Commission of Jurists says Harper should withdraw his remarks and he and Justice Minister Peter MacKay should apologize to Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.The opinion by the Geneva-based organization follows a complaint from a group of Canadian lawyers and legal academics related to the federal government's abortive appointment of Federal Court Judge Marc Nadon to the top court in October last year.Harper and MacKay would later suggest publicly that McLachlin had behaved inappropriately by trying to talk to them about potential legal problems with the proposed appointment."
with the activities of its charities section having been so thoroughly politicized by the Harper government, we can no longer call the CRA an effective instrument of public policy. Its campaign of vexatious audits of the political activities of progressive charities represents has created a chill in political dissent, and is a new low even for the Conservative regime.
OTTAWA - The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada's charitable sector.The lexical scuffle began when Oxfam Canada filed papers with Industry Canada to renew its non-profit status, as required by Oct. 17 this year under a law passed in 2011.Ottawa-based Oxfam initially submitted wording that its purpose as a charity is "to prevent and relieve poverty, vulnerability and suffering by improving the conditions of individuals whose lives, livelihood, security or well-being are at risk."The international development group, founded in 1963, spends about $32 million each year on humanitarian relief and aid in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, with a special emphasis on women's rights.But the submission to Industry Canada also needed the approval of the charities directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, and that's where the trouble began.Agency officials informed Oxfam that "preventing poverty" was not an acceptable goal."Relieving poverty is charitable, but preventing it is not," the group was warned. "Preventing poverty could mean providing for a class of beneficiaries that are not poor."Oxfam Canada's executive director called the exchange an "absurd conversation.""Their interpretation was that preventing poverty may or may not involve poor people," Robert Fox said in an interview with The Canadian Press."A group of millionaires could get together to prevent their poverty, and that would not be deemed a charitable purpose."
Bacon prices in Canada are nearly 27 per cent higher today than they were a year ago, as a crisis in the industry continues to push costs into the stratosphere. Bloomberg reporter and former Bank of Canada economist Ilan Kolet tweeted the chart below, showing bacon prices surging by 5.8 per cent in June alone.
When Conservative MP Robert Goguen asked Timea Nagy, a former sex worker who alleges she was gang raped, whether the attack was a case of freedom of expression, well, it was hard to know how to react.This all took place during a recent committee meeting regarding Bill C-36, which aims to transform the legality of sex work in this country.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
"ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - There's no excuse for bare grocery shelves in remote Labrador communities still waiting for spring food shipments delayed by ferry issues, says provincial Transportation Minister Nick McGrath."They have every reason to be upset," he said Monday in an interview of coastal enclaves such as Hopedale and Makkovik that haven't had major freight deliveries by ship since the fall."