Free Speech

Voices-Voix releases case study #100: Canadian Charities and the Canada Revenue Agency

Montreal, Dec. 11, 2014 – Today, Voices-Voix has published its 100th case study. The new report is warning that the Conservative government's ongoing selective scrutiny of charities poses a threat to free speech, democracy and government transparency in Canada.

Selective Scrutiny of Charities in Canada Poses a Threat to Free Speech, Democracy

New case study adds to growing concerns over “disturbing pattern” of CRA audits

Montreal, Dec. 11, 2014 – A new report is warning that the Conservative government's ongoing selective scrutiny of charities poses a threat to free speech, democracy and government transparency in Canada.

Workshop on Civil Society: Dissent, Democracy, and the Law

“Civil Society: Dissent, Democracy, & the Law” was a one-day workshop hosted by the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism of the Faculty of Law (CHRLP) at  McGill University on October 23, 2013. 

The workshop aimed to create a forum and an opportunity for civil society leaders, practitioners, and members of the academy to discuss, theorize and strategize new and emerging challenges to civil society in Canada and to understand these challenges in a global context. Participants examined emerging norms with respect to an enabling environment and its connection to fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. It also attempted to address these challenges using norms, including through policy and regulatory reform.

The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

By Shiri Pasternak, Desmog Blog, 2 November 2014

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources. (...)

Canada’s Bad Dream

By Andrew Clement, World Policy Journal, Fall 2014

TORONTO—Edward Snowden’s June 2013 leak has shone unprecedented light on the dark underside of Internet connectivity. So far, however, Canada has remained a victim largely hidden in the shadows.

Terror fight turns to Internet, sparking new free-speech debate

By Steven Chase and Josh Wingrove, The Globe and Mail, 30 October 2014

The Canadian government says it’s looking for a way to stop terror groups and their followers from using the Internet to advance their cause as a debate emerges over how to fight threats to Canada while preserving civil liberties including free speech and privacy.

VIEW: Canadians must not trade freedom for the illusion of security

By Tom Henheffer, The Tyee, 29 October 2014

The potential destruction of terrorism is infinitesimally smaller than the damage done to our rights by a disproportionate attempt to prevent it.

Please, please remember this. It's even more important now, when that fact is so easily forgotten in the wake of the attack on our Parliament and the tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. 
 We cannot allow the extreme actions of a few to strip us of the freedoms those soldiers worked so hard to protect. But the Canadian government continues to roll back our rights in the name of "security." (...)

Greenwald: Harper Government Exploiting Recent Attacks to Expand Powers

By Nadia Prupis, CommonDreams, 27 October 2014

The Canadian government is exploiting last week’s attacks against soldiers in the country to push sweeping national security bills into law and give the state ever-more invasive surveillance powers, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald said in Ottawa over the weekend. (...)

Can a political purpose also be a charitable purpose? Perspectives on the impact of Re Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc. in Canada

By Janne Duncan, Norton Rose Fulbright, October 2014

A number of Canadian charities have recently come under scrutiny by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regarding their charitable status. In Canada, a registered charity pays no income tax and is able to issue tax receipts to its donors. Those receipts are then used for non-refundable tax credits or deductions. The Canadian Press has reported that many registered charities in Canada, ranging from environmental to international aid and human-rights groups, have recently been subjected to political-activity audits by the CRA. The CRA has apparently budgeted approximately $13 million for these audits.

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