Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Conservative MP Gerald Keddy.

Conservative MPs rejected an NDP request for hearings into federal audits of Canadian charities, dismissing the motion as a "shameful" effort to tarnish the Canada Revenue Agency's independence.

The opposition NDP and Liberals wanted the House of Commons Finance Committee to hear from Canadian charities who say they have faced cumbersome audits focused on whether they are in violation of federal limits on political activity.

Opposition MPs said the audits suggest that critics of the government, particularly in the environmental sector, are being targeted. The opposition accused Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay of being silent on the issue and said hearings would provide the minister with an opportunity to comment.

Story continues below advertisement

Conservative MP Gerald Keddy, who is Ms. Findlay's parliamentary secretary and is also a member of the finance committee, rejected suggestions that CRA audits are politically motivated.

"No one is being targeted," Mr. Keddy told reporters following the meeting. "I think it's shameful, absolutely shameful. The idea that professional men and women who work within CRA in an arm's length auditing process, maintaining the integrity of the system, could somehow fall under political influence is simply wrong."

NDP MP Murray Rankin triggered a special summer meeting of the committee in order to present a motion calling for hearings on the issue. The committee dealt with the request behind closed doors and MPs are not allowed to disclose what happened inside. The NDP MP emerged from the meeting to say he was disappointed with the outcome.

Mr. Rankin said the government must "clear the air" in response to suggestions that political activity audits are directed at critics of the Conservatives.

"You'd think they would want this kind of opportunity given the serious allegations that are made," said Mr. Rankin.

The 2012 federal budget included $8-million in new funding for the CRA that was specifically earmarked to increase political activity audits of charities. The CRA has said that so far, that money has funded the audit of 52 charities and 12 of those cases are now closed. The CRA has said it cannot identify the subjects of the audit. The Canadian Press has published a partial list that includes several groups that have been vocal critics of the Conservative government policy, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Equiterre, Environmental Defence Canada Inc. and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

"Have there been other, more conservative-aligned charities that are being targeted?" asked Mr. Rankin. "I don't know. I want to clear the air. If they have an explanation, this is the place for it."

Story continues below advertisement

Charities are not allowed to participate in partisan activities – such as endorsing a political party or candidate. However federal rules allow charities to spend about 10 per cent of resources on "political activity," which includes campaigns in support of particular public policy options.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail last month, Cathy Hawara, the director-general of the CRA's charities directorate, insisted the agency is taking a balanced approach in deciding which entities to audit.

"We are not targeting charities that have particular political leanings," she said.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies