Today's instalment comes in the form of the obviously politically motivated witch-hunt that the CRA is engaging in with environmental organizations in this country. This isn't particularly new, the Conservatives have been trying to paint the environmental lobby in this country as "terrorists" for years.
Finance Minister Flaherty announced today that the upcoming budget would contain more of the same:
"There are some terrorist organizations, there are some organized crime organizations that launder money through charities, and make donations to charities," he said during a media conference in Toronto on Friday.
"That's not the purpose of charitable donations in Canada, so we're becoming increasingly strict on the subject. You'll see some more on Tuesday."What this does is create a double jeopardy problem for charitable organizations. Suddenly, they could find themselves in a position of having to background check donors - in theory to avoid being smeared with the supposition that the charity is necessarily involved in money laundering.
The finance minister did not offer specifics on what measures would be taken, but said he's not concerned about suggestions that changing rules for charities would be perceived as a way to silence critics of the government.
"If the critics of the government are terrorist organizations, and organized crime, I don't care," he said.Then there is the next part of the story - namely the fact that in essence, Flaherty's own comments suggest that there could be a connection between criticizing the government and being a "terrorist" (at least according to this government).
This is the only government I have ever known which has used the language of "othering" to suggesting that their critics are somehow part of a greater conspiracy, or that they are engaged in "illegal" activities somehow. This kind of propaganda and the implicit lies and aspersions are straight out of the playbook of totalitarian regimes throughout the world in the last couple of centuries.
If nothing else, Canadians must treat this government and its utterances with even more skepticism. If there isn't corroborating evidence from multiple sources, then it must be assumed that the government is lying. There are few other choices available to us.