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.


Conservatives missed chance to clear the air on auditing of charities: Editorial

By the Toronto Star Editorial Committee, the Toronto Star, 21 August 2014

For politicians who insist there’s nothing unethical going on, federal Conservatives seem oddly unwilling to prove it.

Critics have, for months, alleged that right-wing bias is at the root of a series of audits targeting charities that have disagreed with Tory policies. The government’s official — and unsatisfying — response has been to dismiss these concerns and insist that federal tax officials aren’t picking on anyone. They’re doing their job in a fair and impartial way.

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."

Joe Oliver’s office edited answers from department on climate change report

The office of Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver asked bureaucrats in August to withhold some clues pointing toward the delay of a federal climate change report, reveal newly released internal emails. (…)

The internal emails appear to show that Oliver‘s office didn’t want the public to know that Natural Resources Canada had finished its own work on the report in July. (…)

Information watchdog overwhelmed by complaints against Harper government

Canada’s information watchdog has been flooded with fresh complaints that the Harper government is too often citing security to withhold documents requested under the Access to Information Act.

Suzanne Legault says that since April, her office has seen a surge in such complaints — prompting her to ask for more specially trained investigators. (...)

Omnibus Budget Bill C-4: Details Coming After It's Passed, Clement Says

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says details on how the Harper government's omnibus budget bill will affect public servants won't come until some time after the legislation becomes law. (…)

"I am waiting for this legislation to pass and then details will come forward," he said. (...)

Canadian spy agency sued for allegedly violating charter

One of Canada's top spy agencies, Communications Security Establishment Canada, is violating privacy rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to a lawsuit filed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the OpenMedia organization.

Speaking on Tuesday morning in Vancouver, representatives for the two civil rights groups said the broad and unchecked surveillance of Canadians by the spy agency is unconstitutional. (...)

Information watchdog says Canadian democracy threatened by deterioration of federal transparency

Releasing her annual report to Parliament, Suzanne Legault slammed the government for a deteriorating record in providing information to the general public, explaining that it was now the responsibility of Treasury Board President Tony Clement to clean up the mess.

Without a quick fix, she said the situation was threatening the health of Canada’s democracy. (…)

Canada’s access to information legislation among the worst in the world

Canada’s Access to Information legislation is officially embarrassing.

Out of 95 countries surveyed by the Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada came in at an unrespectable 56th place. (...)

The access-to-information system is busting: information czar

(...) “Part of my role is really to make it publicly known that, in fact, Canadians should be concerned that their access to information rights are actually eroding, and that the government is not addressing this issue,” she said. (...)