Wednesday, August 31, 2016
How the Canada Revenue Agency Went After An Anti-Harper Group
During the dark days of Stephen Harper's monstrous rule, the activist group Shit Harper Did (SHD) was one of the liveliest members of The Great Canadian Resistance.
It mocked Harper, it produced all kinds of videos, some funny some serious. And it joined with others in the successful campaign to get more young Canadians to vote.
So what happened to it not long before the last election couldn't be more disturbing.
When as one of its co-founders has just revealed, it was targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency.
In an email to supporters, Shit Harper Did cofounder and Vancouver comedian Sean Devlin revealed that the group's nonprofit society was stung by a "false tax assessment" a few months before voting day in 2015.
"To put it simply: they said we owed them thousands of dollars that we in fact did not," Devlin wrote. "In response we had to go through an appeals process that absorbed a lot of our energy and time prior to, during and even after the election."
That went after the group like bats out of hell.
While this was "extremely stressful", Devlin noted that the group eventually won the appeal. But then, the Canada Revenue Agency "started cracking down on the personal taxes of various members of our team".
"On top of all that—in the aftermath of the election we had to participate in a drawn out mandatory auditing and reporting process," Devlin added. "We were subject to the same rules and regulations as political entities 10 times our size. We had to hire teams of professional accountants to help us and even they admitted that these 3rd party election laws were ridiculous and clearly designed to discourage grassroots efforts."
Or in a manner that seems to me to be excessive, and can only raise that most disturbing question. Again:
Did Stephen Harper and his Con regime use the CRA to go after its left-wing opponents?
Even if they were harmless birdwatchers...
Whose only "crime" was complaining about a government-approved pesticide that was killing honey bees.
Did they command the CRA to go after environmental groups for daring to challenge Harper's oily obsession?
Or go after the SHD group for running videos like this one just before the fatal May 2011 election...
The election that gave Stephen Harper his monstrous majority.
Or for running this video three years ago to mock the Con's Porky Action plan....
Which at the time really hit the spot, and helped keep me laughing during the darkest days of the Con regime.
I confess don't know what to believe.
Except that if the CRA was used as a political weapon by the Cons we really need to know.
For no democracy can long survive with that kind of shadow hanging over it.
Where did Stephen Harper take this country during his monstrous years in power?
How low did he go?
Why did he leave like a thief in the night?
And how long must we wait for the truth to be revealed?
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