Jul 21, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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An audit has been under-taken of  “Pen Canada,” a small charity promoting freedom of expression that has criticized the Harper government in the past.

Two Revenue Canada tax auditors showed up this morning at the Toronto offices of “Pen Canada,” and requested a wide range of internal documents.

President, Philip Slayton, says the tax agency gave notice of the audit two or three months ago – and the group is fully co-operating.

“Pen Canada”  represents more than 1,000 writers and supporters, including Canadian literary star Margaret Atwood – and presses for freedom of expression everywhere.

The group has been highly critical of the Harper government in recent years for the muzzling of scientists on the public payroll and for alleged spying on Canadian citizens.

The audit is among more than 50 that Revenue Canada has begun since 2012.

Some critics say it’s creating an “advocacy chill” because some charities are censoring  themselves – for fear of losing their ability to raise funds through tax-deductible donations.

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