Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks with media in Calgary on January 11, 2012. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - At least one environmental charity is pushing the federal government to allow charitable groups to be a lot more politically active.
"If we look to other parts of the world that have more liberal views on the roles that charities play in free and democratic society, they have a greater voice," said Devon Page, executive director of Ecojustice Canada.
"The current rules that we have should frankly be broadened."
Page's comments come amid rumours the federal government will soon crack down on environmental and other charities suspected of being fronts for political activism.
If the feds are planning a crackdown, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty isn't saying.
"This is a matter for the Canada Revenue Agency," he said during a stop in Calgary.
Still, Flaherty noted the federal finance committee will look at charitable giving overall, while there's been some suggestion MPs could re-examine the law that limits how much charities can spend on political activism.
"I would expect that the committee would look at all of the important issues related to charitable giving in Canada," said Flaherty.
The lines between environmental activism and charity work are sometimes blurry.
Ecojustice is providing free legal services to three environmental groups, including Forest Ethics, that will make anti-pipeline presentations in September at the hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal to connect Alberta's oilsands with a marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C.
Forest Ethics is also behind the effort to get fruit company Chiquita to shun fuel derived from the oilsands for shipping its products.