Ottawa, March 13, 2018 – ALERT
When the Liberals gained power in the October, 2015 federal election, one of its first decisions was to order a review of the guidelines granting tax-exempt status to faith-based institutions and organizations. The latter are granted a tax exempt status under the Income Tax Act under the charitable objective of the “Advancement of Religion”.
The report on the guidelines was supposed to have been released in September, 2016. This didn’t happen.
The report could have been either for or against the continuation of granting tax exempt status to religious institutions and organizations. It seems that the Trudeau government decided to keep its options open on this issue.
On January 30th, 2018, a Special Committee of the Senate was established to review the charitable sector of the Income Tax Act which allows a tax exempt status for churches and non-profit organizations, foundations and similar groups.
The motion in the Senate to establish the Committee, was made by Senator Terry M. Mercer who will chair the Committee. Senator Mercer was the former Director of Fundraising for the Liberal Party of Canada.
The Committee consists of four Liberal and Independent Senators, and three Conservative Senators.
If the Trudeau government should remove the tax-exempt status for religious organizations, it would gain billions of dollars in taxes. This is a powerful incentive for Trudeau’s debt-ridden government.
Summer Jobs Program
The decision to require applicants to sign an attestation that they support abortion and transgenderism, etc. in order to receive a grant under the Summer Jobs Program, is dismissive of religious organizations and institutions since it prevents them from applying for such grants.
If the government is able to proceed with this discriminatory policy on the Summer Jobs Program without experiencing serious political fall-out, then this may encourage the government to change its policy on faith-based groups receiving a tax-exempt status.
Fortunately, the Summer Jobs Program has resulted in some collateral damage for the Trudeau government. Some pollsters, however, claim that the controversy may not make a difference to Liberal chances in the October, 2019 federal election.
According to the Hill Times (February 19th, 2018), some Liberal back benchers apparently are not of this view, and are concerned about the Summer Jobs Program affecting their chances of re-election. They believe that the Liberal red-wave that swept across the country in 2015 which won the Liberals a majority government of 184 seats, is not going to happen in the 2019 election.
The Conservative Motion on the Summer Jobs Program – March 19th, 2018
The Conservative opposition party has introduced a motion on the Summer Jobs Program.
The motion was tabled on March 1st, 2018 by Conservative MP Karen Vecchio (Elgin-Middlesex – London). The vote will take place on Monday, March 19th, 2018. The motion is as follows:
That, in the opinion of the House, organizations that engage in non-political non-activist work, such as feeding the homeless, helping refugees, and giving kids an opportunity to go to camp, should be
able to access Canada Summer Jobs funding regardless of their
private convictions and regardless of whether or not they choose
to sign the application attestation.
This motion is not perfect as it disqualifies all political and activist groups, including pro-life organizations. However, the motion should be supported in order to discourage the Liberals from proceeding with the removal of the tax-exempt status from churches and faith-based organizations.
It is likely that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will require his MPs to vote according to Liberal policy, against the motion, so that the motion will be defeated.
What is important about the motion, however, is that there will be a recorded vote, and this will be invaluable for the public since it will provide the information to establish their MPs views on the discriminatory Summer Jobs Program.
We live in perilous times especially with the bizarre decisions being made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
We must be prepared for all possibilities.
Undoubtedly, the Trudeau government will vigorously deny that it has any intention of removing the tax-exempt status from churches and other faith-based organizations. We will see.