Dr. Dawg

Careful with that petard, Senators

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As I suggested back in April, invoking tax laws to crush dissent will not necessarily go well for the Harper government and its stacked Senate.

The latter, stuffed to the gills with Harperite has-beens and never-will-bes, has been conducting hearings on the alleged misuse of charitable status by Canada’s environmental charities. It’s comic-opera stuff, but without the comedy.

The person running this McCarthyite charade is Senator Nicole Eaton, the one who objected to the beaver as our national animal.

A lot of very silly Senators have been saying a lot of very silly things in the course of proceedings. A sample:

Sen. Percy Mockler: “I want to bring to your attention some of the qualified bad, not to mention ugly, foundations, namely the David Suzuki Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Mott Foundation, the Sierra Club Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Ecojustice Canada Bullitt Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Tides Canada. Yes, honourable senators, there is also the Greenpeace International foundation.”

Sen. Don Plett: “Let me ask you this, honourable senators: If environmentalists are willing to accept money from Martians, where would they draw the line on where they receive money from? Would they take money from Al Qaeda, the Hamas or the Taliban?”

Sen. Mike Duffy: “They are all anti-Canadian.”

To add to the analogy, the Canada Revenue Agency appears to be the new FBI, selectively targeting charities whose mandates displease the Harper government. And Shill Oil is not very far in the background, urging on the auditors, while keeping its own sources of revenue secret.

This open letter provides just about all the rebuttal one needs of these and other equally absurd remarks by conspiracy-minded Conservative hacks and front groups. But what if the honourable Senators are onto something? What about a full-fledged inquiry into the possible abuse of charitable status right across the board?

As it happens, Liberal Senators have been demanding one for weeks. But, oddly enough, the Conservatives who run the Red Chamber don’t seem the least bit interested. In fact, they’ve been using procedural tricks to avoid even debating the matter.

So the Liberals have launched an on-line petition (sign!) to attract support for the following motion:

To: All Senators

I, the undersigned, call on all Senators to pass the motion below.

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report on the tax consequences of various public and private advocacy activities undertaken by charitable and non-charitable entities in Canada and abroad;

That, in conducting such a study, the committee take particular note of:

(a) Charitable entities that receive funding from foreign sources;

(b) Corporate entities that claim business deductions against Canadian taxes owing for their advocacy activities, both in Canada and abroad; and

(c) Educational entities that utilize their charitable status to advocate on behalf of the interests of private entities; and

That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2013, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Now, what could be fairer than that?

Are the Conservatives, heaven forbid, afraid of what such an investigation might turn up? Like the activities and funding of the far-right Fraser Institute, all of whose activities are political, and known to have accepted large amounts of cash from US Tea Party bankrollers David and Charles Koch? Does the new Manning Institute overspend its limit on political advocacy? And what about foreign influences over a panel on hunting and fishing recently appointed by none other than the Rt. Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper himself?

So many rocks, so little time. Let’s have that full inquiry, by all means, not Sen. Eaton’s amateurish sideshow. I, for one, would place good money on predicting who will come out clean as a whistle—and who will not.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 2, 2012 12:42 PM.

Stephen Harper: an "extreme centrist?" was the previous entry in this blog.

Because no white person ever fires on a crowd is the next entry in this blog.

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