August 11, 2014 at 7:27 AM

The CRA Audits, The Harper Government, and Fascist Regimes

August 11, 2014 at 7:27 AM

On the CBC website of July 22, 2014,[1]one can read how the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing Poets, Essayists, and Novelists Canada.  On July 21, representatives from the CRA walked into the PEN office in Toronto and asked to see a large number of internal documents.  This audit took place after the charity objected to American spy agencies conducting surveillance on Canadians, and the muzzling of scientific researchers.  At the same time, conservative groups such as the Fraser Institute face no audits, and the Harper government has actually defunded the program intended to capture off-shore haven tax cheats.  Further reading shows that the government is mounting similar attacks on charities such as: Amnesty International Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – all human rights, environmental, and anti-poverty charities.  As these organizations have to pay lawyers to defend themselves, their costs rise.  Clearly, the audits of these charities are taking place with the aim of draining their resources and in that way, eventually silencing them.

The eleventh characteristic of fascism, as defined by Dr. Lawrence Britt in his “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism,” is a “Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.”[2]  By auditing PEN Canada in retaliation for their dissent, the Harper government fulfills this attribute.  Dr. Britt also defines a Fascist regime as one in which “Corporate power is protected.”[3]  Here also, the Harper government uses tax audits to target environmental groups, thus protecting the interests of petroleum and mining corporations.  In view of these attacks, at what point must we ask ourselves, “Are we living under a fascist regime?”

 - S. Noël Mckay, author of Stony Point

[1] “PEN Canada Hit With Political Activities Tax Audit.” The Canadian Press, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Website, [] July 22, 2014.

[2]  Britt, Dr. Lawrence,  “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism,, Web.

[3] Ibid.

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