Free Speech

Charity law blocks progress on issues facing Canadians

By Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler, the Toronto Star, 14 Feb 2015

Canadian charities are under attack. Environmental, human rights and international development charities, organizations struggling to address poverty and women’s issues are examples of non-governmental organizations that have lost their ability to issue charitable tax credits under the Income Tax Act. Either that or they face the threat of a loss as a result of ongoing Canada Revenue Agency audits.

PM's charity audits look for 'bias, one-sidedness'

By Kelly Crowe, CBC News, 4 February 2015

Is fighting for the right to buy private health care a charitable act? Apparently it is.

But fighting for the right to die on your own terms is not. It's political, at least according to the logic of the Canada Revenue Agency.

So, when is a charity being political? It's an increasingly perplexing question.

Faire la promotion du terrorisme devient une infraction criminelle

Par Hélène Buzzetti, Le Devoir, 31 janvier 2015

Le projet de loi C-51 déposé vendredi à la Chambre des communes instaure un tout nouveau type de crime au Canada : celui d’encourager le terrorisme par la parole et les écrits. Des spécialistes en droit s’interrogent déjà sur les dérapages qui pourraient survenir. 

CSE tracks millions of downloads daily: Snowden documents

By Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira and Dave Seglins, CBC News, 27 January 2015

Canada's electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned.

Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed "Levitation" are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News.

Why haven’t any Harper-friendly charities been scrutinized

By Edward Kennan, Toronto Star, 23 January 2015

t turns out charities in Canada — at least the ones the government doesn’t like — are forbidden from “exercising moral pressure.” As if that isn’t the entire point of charitable enterprises. The absence of the profit motive and of self-interest in those involved in such an organization virtually defines a charity. Without those two things, what’s left is the pressure of morality compelling people to do the right thing.

Research into controversial topics hurt by Conservative grant priorities

By Mike Hager, The Globe & Mail, 15 January 2015

Canadian universities are shying away from research into such controversial topics as immigration and assisted suicide because of the federal Conservative government’s continued focus on matching research grants to corporate interests, experts and advocates say.

Ex-Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page on muzzled scientists, secrecy and "broken" government

By Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 13 Jan. 2015

"There's no accountability. It's completely, completely broken," said former Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, who was hailed as a "national hero" for insisting that federal government be accountable for its spending. 


2014: The Year in Association and Assembly Rights

By Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Jan. 9, 2015

It is still too early to tell just how 2014 will be remembered from the perspective of assembly and association rights: The year of the protest; the year of the revolution, the year of shrinking space. 

But one thing is certain: It will be a year that we remember. 

Eight steps to a better Canada

By Dan Leger, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, 5 January, 2015

Here’s an idea for 2015: make Canada a better country. Sure, that’s a broad target, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

So herewith an eight-step program, mostly for our leaders, to fix a few of the problems we can’t seem to shake. (...)