Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent refused to stand up in the House of Commons Tuesday to address allegations he slandered Canadian charities last week by accusing them of money laundering.
Kent accused charitable organizations of laundering offshore funds on CBC television last week, but declined to name which ones, saying the specifics will come out in ongoing Senate finance committee hearings.
During question period in Ottawa, Liberal House Leader Marc Garneau charged that when he confronted Kent Monday about the laundering allegations, which imply charities are engaged in criminal activity, the minister replied, “Don’t you know what a figure of speech is?”
Garneau and other opposition MPs accused Kent of hiding behind the Prime Minister and Minister of National Revenue during question period Tuesday, neither of whom addressed MPs’ questions about whether it was appropriate for the minister to use the term laundering.
The Conservatives have claimed charities such as Tides Canada are undermining Canada’s national interests by funneling foreign money to pipeline and oil sands opponents.
Tides Canada CEO Ross McMillan, reached by email Tuesday, said Tides Canada’s political activities fall well within the 10 per cent allowed by law, as was found in the CRA’s last audit, three years before the current one began.
“Good governance and accountability are vital priorities for Tides Canada,” he said.
“We take our responsibility to act in full compliance with the Income Tax Act and CRA guidelines very seriously. We will stay the course in fulfilling our obligations for a thorough audit and for supporting Canadian charitable work that builds a more sustainable environment and healthy communities.”