Feds attack charitable sector in budget for being too political, say opposition MPs
Posted on March 30, 2012 11:42 am
PARLIAMENT HILL—Opposition MPs say a surprise allegation in the federal budget that Canadian charities are violating federal rules limiting their political advocacy is retribution for widespread opposition from environmental groups to the massive Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline across British Columbia.
The obscure provision in the budget Thursday to beef up the Canada Revenue Agency’s “enforcement tools” to monitor political activities of charities demonstrates the partisan nature of the Conservative government, opposition MPs said.
NDP MP Megan Leslie (Halifax, N.S.) told The Hill Times the measure is one of several provisions that show the budget, aside from its main thrust of public service spending cuts, is all “pipeline, pipeline, pipeline.”
“The over-arching theme here is this is a budget for the great pipeline to China,” Ms. Leslie said. “This is about pipelines, pipelines, pipelines, and at any cost.”
“Whether it is going after charities, who might have a different opinion, cutting the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and cutting Environment Canada and not relying on science and evidence, or whether it’s going after the Environmental Assessment Act and weakening it, that’s what this budget says to me, it’s all about pipelines,” Ms. Leslie said.
The reference to political activities of charities was a needle in the haystack of the budget’s total $5.2-billion in broad spending cuts the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) is proposing for the next three years, with a projection that the spending reductions, combined with other economic forecasts, will result in a surplus by 2015, the next federal election year.