In 2014, we saw a Conservative government plagued by scandals, out of touch with challenges facing Canadians and preoccupied with photo-ops and their own partisan interests. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals fail to hold Conservatives to account and, after two years, we still have no idea where they stand on key issues.
A year’s worth of scandals and ineptitude condensed into our annual list of the top political lowlights of the year… LOWLIGHT #10: Conservatives attack charities, let tax cheats off the hook
Instead of going after tax havens and tax cheats, the Conservatives have decided that a better priority for the Canada Revenue Agency is to attack environmental and civil society groups.
They even set up a $13.4 million “special fund” just to audit charities’ political activities – and they’ve been busy: even a small group of birdwatchers in Kitchener-Waterloo couldn’t escape their scrutiny when they got a letter warning about “political material” related to bee colony collapse on their website.
Meanwhile, years of massive budget cuts in every other part of the CRA have come home to roost. From corruption charges, to tax havens, privacy breaches and uncollected tax debt, under the Conservatives, the CRA just can’t keep up:
- Uncollected tax debt has risen by approximately 60% since the Conservatives took power in 2006, it is now estimated to be a whopping $32 billion;
- Assistance for taxpayers and businesses was cut by over $100 million in one year alone;
- Senior auditors have been axed, departments gutted and the reporting compliance division is short-staffed by 599 positions;
- Of the cases that the CRA actually manages to put together against tax cheats, only 56% actually get a full-scale investigation.
Canadians deserve better. And after nine years of Stephen Harper, Canadians just can’t afford to wait for Justin Trudeau to get ready.
Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats can be trusted to hold Conservatives to account while fighting for families and proposing common sense solutions for issues they are facing every day.