Madam Speaker, recently I rose in this chamber to ask why the Canada Revenue Agency was being allowed to threaten religious freedom in Canada.
There is a pattern emerging from the Liberal government. A religious organization, such as the United Church of Canada or the Metropolitan Community Church, that agrees with the government on a moral issue, for example, same sex marriage, is free to publicly support the government.
CRA guidelines for charitable activities, which I happen to have read and know because I have had some experience in this area, state:
A charity cannot be established with the aim of furthering or opposing the interests of a political party, elected representative, or candidate for public office
Not opposing, but furthering them, supporting them.
I do not want either the United Church of Canada or the Metropolitan Community Church to be called before the CRA and threatened for their charitable status. Their free speech should be preserved.
The pattern continues like this: A religious organization that disagrees with the Liberal government on a moral issue, same sex marriage, for example, is threatened by Canada Revenue Agency officials. Focus on the Family was threatened with an audit for criticizing this government.
The CCCB and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada were suspiciously called into CRA offices just before the recent federal election and were warned not to oppose the Liberal position on same sex marriage. This was reaffirmed by the national revenue minister's own media relations officer. Recently, during the federal election, Catholic Bishop Frederick Henry was threatened to remove a teaching letter from his diocese's website or risk losing charitable status.
In response to my previous question, the hon. Minister for National Revenue stated in the chamber:
The only thing they cannot do as a registered charity is advocate for a political party or a political candidate in an election
I have the letter that was on Bishop Henry's website. I do not see anything here that advocates a cause for voting or not voting for a particular candidate or political party and yet he was threatened anyway. The minister owes us a much better answer than the first time around.
I will ask the minister again the same question. Why is the Prime Minister and the Minister for National Revenue permitting government agencies to attack and threaten religious freedom in Canada? Did this government direct the Canada Revenue Agency to threaten church groups?