Friday, November 27, 2015
Why the Canada Revenue Agency Needs to be Investigated
It's the burning question that remains to be answered about Stephen Harper 's monstrous years in power. The one that could make him Canada's Richard Nixon. The one that could send him to prison.
Did he or did he not order or pressure the Canada Revenue Agency to go after his political opponents, and audit and harass one left-wing charity after the other?
And because it's the kind of question that could shatter the confidence citizens should have in their government, I believe it demands an answer.
So I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who wants the Trudeau government to set up a Commission of Inquiry.
So we can drag the truth kicking and screaming out of Stephen Harper's darkness.
It's not enough that charitable non-profits can hopefully no longer expect the executive branch to use the public service as a tool of political intimidation. This must never happen again.
The only way to fully clean this wound is through a Commission of Inquiry empowered to compel testimony under oath and order the production of documents. Senior CRA bureaucrats must be called to answer for themselves. Former PMO staffers should be ordered to appear, perhaps before they disappear to Kuwait.
For the CRA's message couldn't have been more chilling:
CRA spokespeople would occasionally maintain with a straight face that there was no direction from the PMO but did anyone believe them? Of course not, and that's the whole point. The unspoken message to civil society was chillingly clear: do not rely on due process -- self censor your troublesome messaging or else.
And the links to the PMO couldn't be more obvious...
Other optics around this are even more outrageous. Apparently many of the complaints filed to CRA about specific groups were from Ethical Oil, a group founded by Alykhan Velshi -- coincidentally a longtime Conservative staffer who later landed the position of issues management in the PMO. Small world.
We need to find out why the CRA went after small environmental groups. Or groups like Pen Canada.
But gave right-wing groups like the Fraser Institute a pass, even though they have accepted money from the Koch brothers.
We need to know if the depraved political thug Stephen Harper was using the CRA as his stormtroopers to intimidate and punish his enemies.
And the CRA bosses and all the others who might have collaborated in this outrageous assault on democracy need to be forced to come clean.
Only a full public and legally mandated inquiry can help clear the air. If warranted, individuals inside or outside the public service must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The CRA like all government departments has an obvious obligation to act impartially. Political staffers (or ministers for that matter) have no business directing the tax collection arm of government which side of the political spectrum requires special attention.
You know, I've always believed that the CRA scandal more than any other, would be the one that revealed Stephen Harper's inner Nixon...
And the true nature of his monstrous regime.
Now let justice be done.
Let the truth be revealed.
And see if it finally destroys him...
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More like....let's see if Trudeau has the balls to actually go after harper's regime and do the right thing. I expect the same kind of whitewashing from Trudeau that the u.s. got from o-bomb-a when he took over the reins there. Lots of posturing and then a big, fat NOTHING.
We'll see if the new kid is more than just a pretty face from this most egregious episode (and a lot of others) or just more of the same old rotting pig with a better coating of lipstick.
My money's on the o-bomb-a mentality winning out and harper gets a pass on the whole fucking thing. JT's still just a fucking libero-con, after all, and they never bite the corporate hands that feed them and, let's face it, the same guys that wrote the big cheques to harper are still writing the big cheques for the new and improved Canadian gubmint now.
Mulcair would suck too. We need somebody like a Corbyn for a change.
Where the CRA's explanation that they were merely acting on complaints falls flat is surely they received several on fake charities like the Fraser yet gave them a pass BTW I love the new look
I agree Simon that among the outrageous things that harper did with our institutions, this is among the worst. It's hard to imagine though with all of the history re-writing going on about the harper years through the complicit media, that this would ever see the light of day. Although, it is refreshing to see Trudeau's team unravel some of the tangled web, actually shining a legal light on the greatest threat to Canada is unlikely to happen.
In our ho-hum Canada, we accept this kind of revolution with a 'm'yeh' reaction and act very dull about the whole thing.
The Harper Dark Ages must be shut down completely, including a full investigation of his abuse of Canadian institutions. The CRA would be a VERY appropriate start.
I would LOVE to see Justin do this, sending a message to the world of right wing morons that the public has had enough.
However, before doing so, he's going to have to purge the ranks of Harper's minions that continue to flock to his beck and call.
Did the PMO order the CRA to "audit" charities? What would be interesting to know. If the PMO did to that, then they violated a few game rules in a democracy. Will those who worked in the PMO throw Harper under the bus on that one. Not likely.
All the new Cabinet Minister has to do is call in the Deputy Minister and ask the question. Then ask the secretaries. They know everything. if they find out that is what happened, then it is easy to go from there.
Actually all the Cabinet Minister has to do is go to the floor of the CRA offices and ask the auditors why they performed the audits. I'm sure some of them will be every so happy to explain. The actual auditors didn't have much choice, if they were ordered to do the work, just as others were taken out of the audit division for big corporations.
Just ask the rank and file on the floors of the working offices, You'd be surprised what you can find out.
There is no doubt in my mind Harper and his Cons used the Public Service to do their dirty work or prevented the Pubic Service from doing their job. What we need to remember, is that was O>K> with a lot of Canadians because he was elected 3 times into office and still has 100 M.P.s in the House of Commons.
Many Canadians do not understand this is not the U.S.A, and that the politicians do not get to use the civil service as an extension of their political party.
hi anon....yes I've heard that point of view, especially from some of my NDP friends. And this an aging and often morose country so I find that a lot of what is said is way too negative. I am not expecting perfection, because I've never met a perfect human, and I certainly don't see one when I stare at myself in the mirror. But what I will say is that , although I didn't vote for him, Justin Trudeau has impressed me more than any other Prime Minister I have ever known. He represents generational change, and so far he has done an excellent job of beginning to dismantle the Con regime, and improving our image in the world. Which for me is more than good enough. I also am a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, and I am appalled by the way the establishment and even some in his own party are attacking him. But that only reinforces, for me at least, the need to celebrate every victory no matter how small it might be....
hi Kev....that's a good point. I can't believe that anybody didn't complain about the Fraser Institute. As I said in my post, I can't help thinking that something very evil has been going on. And I hope that something can be done to uncover the truth. In this country so much is buried and forgotten. But allowing those responsible to get away with using the instruments of government against citizens for ideological reasons is simply unthinkable. As for my new look I'm glad you like it. I'm afraid I didn't put much thought into it. But people told me they had trouble reading the white on black text so I had to do something...
hi bcwaterboy...if what I fear has been going on, it is something that needs to be revealed, for it undermines the confidence people should have in their government. I recently read an article about how some of the most powerful mandarins collaborated with the Harper regime, even though they must have known what was being done was wrong. So I hope that something can be done if only to make sure it never happens again...
hi anon....yes, that's a good word for it, our ho-hum Canada. I can't believe how quickly some, especially in the MSM, have returned to their bitter cynical ways, instead of celebrating the rebirth of this country. How they seek to drag us down into the pit of despair after all the years we spent trying to crawl out of it. But so be it. I may be a bit of a hopeless idealist, and particularly prone to sunny days syndrome. But what I do know is that the nightmare we have just emerged from was very real, and we need to make sure that it never happens again. So as you say we do need to send a strong message to the right wingers, and make sure their abuses are revealed, and that the guilty are punished...
hi e.a.f....having read about the reign of terror that the Cons unleashed on government departments I strongly believe that the CRA bosses are guilty of allowing their department to be used as a weapon against innocent citizens or groups. Although I don't have much money, I have been forced to have my taxes done by professionals, so as to avoid making even the slightest mistake and find myself audited for the crime of opposing that foul regime. So let there be light, and if something criminal was done, let the guilty be punished...
Someone should create a website to document where each person in Harper's PMO (which numbered about 100) has gone eg. did some find jobs working for elected/re-elected Con MPs, did some get jobs with Rebel Media, etc.
I don't know if there will be light, but their ought to be jai time for politicians and their appointees if they used the public service in a wrongful manner. However, if things are immoral or unethical, that doesn't make them illegal. If its not illegal than don't waste the money investigating, expect to weed out those who might want to continue with these types of activities.
The CRA "bosses" would have been the deputy minister and his staff. Once you get to a Regional director, they are simply taking orders. An investigation would not take much, simply ask a few questions and the answers will pop up.
Never worried about my taxes and how the Cons felt about me and my opinions or any other government when I did things. Once you step over the line, you have to realize your actions might come back to bit you and simply be prepared to deal with it. did have them done by professionals though, but have done that most of my life. hate filling out those forms. never did understand them
why would we waste energy finding out where they went. they're gone, good rid.
Now lets get on with deal with the issues at hand, such as child poverty, the lack of medical care in parts of Canada. Better to list agencies which can help people who need it, etc.
I personally believe that Harper directly ordered the CRA to audit the charities.
I believe that Jim Flaherty had specifically set aside $8M (or something like it) in a budget for that purpose.
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