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Help us protect our freedom of speech!

Actu - Freedom of speech

Blog post by Sidney Ribaux, Équiterre's Executive director

You may well remember that in 2012 the Harper government used a vague, obsolete law to harass progressive groups that opposed its political agenda by having them audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (Équiterre and others are still being audited!). The aim was to silence us.

The government failed to silence Équiterre of course. But the witch-hunt forced some organizations to cease operations and had a chilling effect on many others, who were worried they’d have their charitable status revoked.

This law is absurd. Organizations that protect the environment and defend the rights of women and the less fortunate are restricted in what they can say publicly to influence laws and public policy—just because they enjoy the privilege of issuing income tax receipts. On the other hand, companies that receive much larger loans, grants AND tax credits are not restricted at all. Oil companies alone receive $1.9 billion each year from the federal government and are not subject to restrictions on their freedom of speech. There’s a double standard here!

A CHANCE TO SPEAK OUT

The good news is we’ve convinced the Trudeau government to hold a public consultation on this archaic law in an effort to change it. The consultation is open until November 25, but not everyone shares our opinion, so unless there’s real pressure from the public, the government won’t change the law.

If you believe that the organizations actively protecting our democracy and defending our concerns should not be muzzled, please take part. We need to ALL stand up and speak out against this ridiculous, unjust law!

Thank you for your support!

Please contact us if you’d like more information on this democratic issue: ailiescu@equiterre.org