The late show

Starting around 9:30pm last night, the House of Commons spent four hours considering the government’s environmental policy in committee of the whole. The transcript starts here.

In the early morning hours, the Environment Minister doubled-down on his accusation/figure of speech/joke about money laundering.

Peter Julian: I will move on now to the accusations made about Canadian environmental charities. The minister made a claim around criminal activities because that is what money laundering is. He made the claim on April 28, repeated it on May 1 and again on May 3 in this House. Tonight he has responded that he simply does not have any proof of criminal activity. Would the minister retract the term and retract the claims that he made on three occasions in the House of Commons?

Peter Kent: The short answer, Mr. Chair, is no. Our government appreciates the great service that charities across the spectrum provide in adding and supplementing in areas where government cannot necessarily provide services. Charities provide great support in areas of culture, the arts and, indeed, in health care and academia. My points were referenced and included the environmental non-governmental organizations. My remarks reflected our government’s concern about a small number of agencies in Canada with charitable status which, as evidence accumulates almost by the day, were putting their charitable status at risk by behaviour and by actions that were in violation of CRA regulation.

Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, we simply need to ask the minister even understands the definition of money laundering. That, of course, is a criminal activity. What he has said tonight is that he has no proof of any criminal activity from these environmental charities…

Peter Kent: First, Mr. Chair, the term that I used was a figure of speech. I could have used greenwashing. I could have used whitewashing and, as I have said in this House, I could have used shell game or three card monte, which is also an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. However, these are only offences if criminal proceeds are involved. It is a figure of speech. I am delighted that it caught the attention of those charities that may have been compromising their status. I am glad if it has caught the attention of the opposition and I am glad it has caught the attention of the Canadian public. I would hope that those charitable organization, which do have the benefit of charitable status, will conform with CRA regulation.

Via Twitter, Megan Leslie explains what she learned here, here, here and here.