OTTAWA – ELECTION 2015 – The Green Party of Canada has filed a complaint with the Canada Revenue Agency demanding an immediate investigation of the Aurea Foundation’s illegal sponsorship of the Munk Leaders’ Debate. The complaint is based on paragraph 149.1(6.1) (c) of the Income Tax Act that prohibits a charitable foundation from participating in activities that, directly or indirectly, support or oppose any political party or candidate for election (See attached letter)
“Not inviting Elizabeth May, in the view of our counsel, is breaking the law and the CRA should step in and enforce it,” said Jim Harris, Green Party spokesperson.
The Green Party expects the Aurea Foundation to comply with the law by extending an invitation to Elizabeth May and the complaint will be withdrawn.
The legal opinion provided by Toronto law firm Iler Campbell reads in part: “The effect (if not the intent) of not including Ms. May in the Debate could be to diminish the standing of the Party in the mind of the electorate, which arguably amounts to an indirect opposition to the Party at least as regards foreign policy matters. To the extent that the Aurea Foundation provides resources to support the Debate, and the Debate is a partisan political activity, then the Aurea Foundation will not be operating exclusively for a charitable purpose, which means that it will cease to comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act for its registration.” (See attached opinion)
‘The right thing to do is obey the law and invite Elizabeth May,” said Harris.
The CRA at the behest of the Harper government has conducted numerous political activity audits of environmental, development and anti-poverty charities. Audits of right wing think tanks and other organizations ideologically aligned with the government have been conspicuously absent.
Letters have also been sent to the Aurea Foundation, Roy Thomson Hall and CPAC.