Free Speech

All This CRA Bickering Is Distracting Charities From Their Real Work

By Blake Bromley, The Huffinton Post, 22 August 2014

The feigned outrage over the possibility that charity auditors could "somehow fall under political influence" is a sideshow which is distracting the charitable sector from the real issues. (...)

Comment: Tory audit tactics on charities worrisome

By Murray Rankin, Times Colonist, 21 August 2014

No one disputes that all charities that have the ability to give tax receipts should be accountable. That includes being subject to audits from time to time. There are rules on how much political activity a particular charity can undertake; the Canada Revenue Agency has every right to ensure that these rules are being followed.


Comment: Silencing charities just the tip of the iceberg

By Joanne Cave, Times Colonist, 19 August 2014

The recent Canada Revenue Agency crackdown on everyone from Pen Canada to Oxfam — noting, quite appallingly, that “preventing poverty” isn’t an appropriate charitable aim after all — has Canada’s charitable sector wondering: When is enough, enough? (...)

The Conservatives try to muzzle civil society, alleges Voices-Voix

Par Réginald Harvey, Le Devoir, 19 août 2014

"The current government targets organisations that fight for human rights; they target groups who uphold the notion of equality for women and fairness when it comes to peace; they attack Indigenous groups, public workers and scientists and, more specifically, all those who defend environmental causes." (...)

This article, in French, is from a special section on the Peoples Social Forum.

Government Memo Criticized Top Biologist For Comments On Oilsands

By Sunny Freeman, Huffington Post Canada, 19 August 2014

(...) Queen’s University professor John Smol said Monday he was shocked and outraged to learn earlier this month of an internal Natural Resources Canada memo criticizing him over comments he made to reporters about a study on lakes near the oilsands.

“They cannot stop me from talking about research done in my lab,” Smol told Huffington Post Canada. (...)

Where have all the censuses gone?

By Thomas Peace, Active HIstory, 28 July 2014

About a year ago, I discovered that one of the most useful reference resources I use, Statistics Canada’s E-Stat tables of the Censuses of Canada1665-1871 had been removed from their website. Living in a country where the current federal government has a bit of a history mucking around with censuses and data collection (for good examples see herehere and here), the removal of this resource upset me. Why had I not heard about E-Stat’s impending demise? Where could I retrieve the valuable and accessible data formerly available for download through this website? And (of course) what type of subtle political purpose could be behind the removal of data from Canada’s early censuses? (...)

Charities Bullied Into Muting Their Messages: Researcher

“Canada’s charitable sector — the second largest charitable sector in the world, after the Netherlands — has come under threat from federal policies that hinder advocacy groups from doing their work, according to new research.” (…)

“What followed was a major chill in the charity world, according to Kirkby’s research. Charities clammed up and hunkered down, trying to survive the strain of sometimes back-to-back audits and looming fears over the possible backlash of any activity seen as unfavourable by the federal government.” (…)

New in the Documentation Project: Library & Archives Canada updated

New updates to the Library & Archives Canada case study:

"In 2012, LAC experienced a budget cut of $9.6 million over three years, leading to a 20% cut in its staff. Other organizational changes threaten the capacity to preserve information regarding Canada’s history and heritage. A new Code of Conduct for LAC employees, introduced in 2013 and leaked to the public includes, according to critics, “both a muzzle and a snitch line.” In addition to severely restricting all public speaking activities of employees, it also requires these public servants to be loyal to their elected government in and off work."

Why Canada needs a science watchdog

The recent series of pieces at iPolitics on Canadian science and science policy bears witness to a growing concern about the health of public interest science.

One such source of concern is the increasing imposition of constraints on the ability of government scientists to communicate their science to the public. Concerns about muzzling have been voiced by academic institutions like the Canadian Association of University Teachers, media associations like the Canadian Science Writers Association, professional organizations like the Royal Society of Canada and even the prestigious international science journal Nature.

EI fraud investigator axed for leaking “quota” details

The federal fraud investigator who leaked documents exposing a Conservative crackdown on those receiving EI has been fired from her job. (...)

She says that she had complained to her supervisors about what was happening, but then was “targeted’’ and became viewed as “the enemy.’” (...)