Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Totalitarianism From The Harper

Just as Harper has been tearing down the apparatus of scientific research that would ordinarily be used by governing parties to make informed policy decisions, the next prong of his attack on reasoned governance in Canada has begun.  

It really began in 2012, when the government rolled out a program with specific funding for the CRA to go after charitable organizations that the government suspects of overspending on "political activity".

After its first year and nearly 900 audits, the program, first announced in the 2012 budget, allowed the agency to revoke the charitable status of only one organization, Physicians for Global Survival, for engaging in excessive political activity. 
The total amount set aside for the program is $8 million over two years, with the money spent on audits estimated to double after the first year.  
Offhand, I question whether this is a particularly good use of resources.  CRA did 900 audits last year and found ONE that was in violation of spending limits issues?  But then again, what constitutes "political activity"?  That seems to be an exceptionally vague term on a good day, and a very difficult concept to nail down at the best of times.  There have certainly been rumours floating around that CRA is making up what the term means as it goes along - a notion that I find particularly difficult to accept.

Hmmm...and this gets even uglier when you consider that at the focus this year is a veritable "who's who" in Canada's environmental movement.  I suspect strongly that the first year has been used by the CRA to come up with a list of what _it_ (read:  the Governing Harper Party) thinks of as "political activity" that is broad enough to justify shutting down these organizations.

It is no secret that the Harper Party has no love for environmental organizations - they've all but gutted the capability of Environment Canada to do research on climate change and other issues, and have at various times tried to equate environmental activism with terrorism.  Harper, as we all know will go to great lengths to ensure that nothing and nobody can contradict him.

I make no bones about it, I am 98% convinced that this entire program is designed by the Harper Party to enable them to shut down groups that just happen to be inconvenient to the party dogma.

Remember me writing about Harper being a fascist last May?  Yeah, well it's only extremists who feel it is necessary to hunt down and muzzle their critics.

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