I am currently reading a book by Tim Weiner entitled, One Man Against The World: The Tragedy Of Richard Nixon, and although I lived through that time, I am rediscovering what a nasty and paranoid piece of work the disgraced former President of the United States was. But what struck me most relevantly was the fact that he and Stephen Harper had a lot in common, most notably a disdain, suspicion and contempt for those who questioned their agenda. It is enough to make me wonder whether Harper was a student of Nixon's dark stratagems.
Nixon, for example, was merciless in his many abuses of power while in office; one of the more egregious instances saw him directing Internal Revenue audits against what he termed leftists and liberals. A take-no-prisoners attitude toward his own citizens betrayed the animus and paranoia of his tortured psyche. And while I have no insight into Harper's mind, his own abuse of power through Canada Revenue Agency witch hunts/audits against charitable groups voicing even a scintilla of opposition to his disdain for the environment and his extolment of the tarsands is well-known.
Today, however, brings news that the Trudeau government is winding down these politically-motivated audits.
As recently as November, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered public mandate letters to his new cabinet, [Federal Revenue Minister Diane] Lebouthillier was asked to ensure that Canada’s registered charities are “free from political harassment, and modernize the rules governing the charitable and not-for-profit sectors.”Despite all the previous disclaimers that the CRA was taking no direction from government on the audits, the fact that the Federal Revenue Minister has made this announcement of termination belies that claim, of course.
“The results of the political activities audit program have shown that the charities audited have been substantially compliant with the rules regarding their involvement in political activities,” Lebouthillier said in the release.
“In light of these outcomes, the program will be concluded.”
Let us hope against hope that the era of dirty tricks in Canada is over.