08/18/2014 12:57 EDT | Updated 10/18/2014 05:59 EDT

CRA charity audits trigger House finance committee recall

The House of Commons finance committee will hold a special closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether to look into possible "misuse" of the Canada Revenue Agency, following a spate of media reports on what New Democrat revenue critic Murray Rankin describes as "allegedly aggressive auditing of certain Canadian charities."

Rankin filed a formal request to recall the committee last week.

"The Conservative government has given the CRA thirteen million dollars in special funding to conduct political activities audits of charities," he wrote in his letter to committee clerk Christiane Lafrance.

Committee could provide 'safe space' for charities to discuss audits

"Media reports suggest that these aggressive and time-consuming audits are disproportionately impacting organizations that have been critical of government policies in fields such as the environment, poverty and human rights."

As such, he suggested, the committee "could provide a safe space for charities to shed light on the impact of these aggressive audits, and to help get to the bottom of allegations of misuse of Canada’s tax agency for political ends."

"If these well-publicized concerns voiced by many in the charities sector can be addressed by the Conservative government at the Committee, that would likewise provide a valuable service," he added.

Under House rules, any committee member can force the chair to convene a meeting by submitting a letter signed by at least two other MPs, although there's no requirement that it be held in public.

The notice for tomorrow's session indicates that it will take place behind closed doors, although the committee could vote to open it up.