Vilification/Smearing

Asad Ansari

Asad Ansari, a Canadian-Pakistani dual citizen, faced the revocation of his Canadian Citizenship under the provisions of Bill C-24 (Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act). Convicted of terrorism charges under section 83.18(1) of the Criminal Code, and therefore facing revocation of his citizenship, Ansari joined the BCCLA and CARL in their challenge of the constitutionality of the law. The law is now in the process of being amended, under Bill C-6 (currently in front of the Senate). Mr. Ansari has retained his Canadian citizenship, but concerns continue to exist that C-6 does not go far enough in protecting other citizens from revocation of status.

Elections Canada

Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand was appointed Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada on February 21, 2007. The Conservative government and Elections Canada under Marc Mayrand have clashed on a number of issues in recent years. These issues have led to attacks on the credibility of Elections Canada, resulting in two federal court cases.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement

On February 22, 2016, the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” and “call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.” The Canadian government has repeatedly silenced criticism of the policies of the state of Israel, as well as discussion of Palestinian human rights.

Environmental groups

The current federal government’s hostility toward environmental groups is well documented. Since coming to power in 2006, the Conservative government has defunded and attempted to discredit several environmental research and advocacy groups. They have positioned environmentalists as a threat to Canadian security.

Indigenous communities

According to information obtained through Access to Information requests in 2010, Indigenous communities have been under government surveillance since the Conservative Party came to power in 2006. The former Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was given the lead role in monitoring Indigenous communities and community leaders.

Voices-Voix

Voices-Voix logo

Since 2010, Voices-Voix has been documenting the federal government’s treatment of civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, public institutions, and science.

On June 16, 2015 Voices-Voix released a report synthesizing more than 100 case studies, entitled Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada. The report received widespread public attention and was raised by Liberal and NDP MPs in the House. Conservative Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responded by alleging that Voices-Voix “supports a terrorist group.”

Voices-Voix itself now joins a list of more than 30 groups and individuals targeted by similar official government statements designed to publicly vilify and smear those who express their right to dissent in Canada.

National Council of Canadian Muslims

National Council of Canadian Muslims logo

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is suing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his chief spokesman, Communications Director Jason MacDonald, after the spokesman alleged that NCCM was connected to a terrorist group. The NCCM filed a notice of libel in January 2014, which quotes the spokesman as saying: "We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas." During a Bill C-51 hearing in March 2015, Diane Ablonczy, MP of the Conservative Party, refers to this statement when questioning NCCM’s executive director about "a continuing series of allegations" that the NCCM is tied to groups that support "Islamic terrorist groups" like Hamas. The NCCM maintained these allegations are false and slanderous, as the NCCM has consistently condemned terrorism of any kind.

PEN Canada

Since January 2013 PEN Canada has filed four access to information (ATI) requests in an effort to understand how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) interprets the prohibition on “partisan political activity” set forth in ss.

Veterans

The New Veterans Charter (NVC; 2006) significantly reduced the pension entitlement of Canadian veterans of modern conflicts; 21st century Conservative federal budgets cut services to Canadian veterans; the federal government violated the privacy rights of certain veterans. In response, critics, including the first Veterans Ombudsman, and groups such as the Canadian Legion strongly protested the threat to what they argued was a ‘social contract’ between Canada and its serving men and women.

IRFAN-Canada

In April 2011, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked the charitable registration of IRFAN-Canada. IRFAN-Canada challenged the revocation and its appeal was scheduled to be heard before the Federal Court of Appeal in May 2014. 

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