Since 2010, the national coalition Voices-Voix has published more than 110 case studies on the dismantling of democratic rights and institutions, and the narrowing space for debate and dissent in this country. All the case studies are available on its website, http://www.voices-voix.ca, and are classified according to the federal government tactics that are used and their targets.
This chapter addresses the federal government’s undermining of Canadian CSOs and advocates, The case studies were developed based on information obtained from the organizations themselves, including personal interviews, as well as from court documents, research reports, and media sources.
Drawing on 108 examples of progressive organizations and advocates documented in 70 case studies, the research shows that progressive organizations are being specifically targeted, either because of their focus on environmental protection, equality and human rights, their opposition to key Conservative policy planks such as the development of the oil sands, or because of their support for Indigenous rights.
Organizations engaging in “expressive activities” (civic/advocacy groups, labour, human rights, women’s rights, and environmental groups), together with other CSOs working in development and housing issues, account together for 22% of the non-profit sector in Canada. They are also prominently represented on the list of organizations targeted by mutually reinforcing tactics: funding cuts, isolation and disengagement, enhanced scrutiny, and direct rhetorical attacks on their credibility and, in some cases, the lawfulness of their activities.
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