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Why won't Ottawa do anything to rein in equine identity theft?

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Image: Dricker94/Flickr

Is this Stablegate? The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants to know why Justin Trudeau and his Liberals aren't reining in equine identity theft.

The Twittersphere exploded yesterday when CTF federal director Aaron Wudrick indicated he believes horses may be hoofing it to sign up for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, fraudulently saddling the nation with additional debt.

"Just got an email from someone … who knows an individual who owns horses -- and filed for CERB in his horses' names," Wudrick tweeted breathlessly, and apparently in all seriousness, yesterday morning. "How can the government stand idly by and shrug off this kind of fraud?"

How indeed?

As writer Ethan Cox observed in a deeper exploration of this issue on Ricochet, it's not clear if this is a case of horses stealing human identities; humans stealing equine identities; or what.

Twitter users were quick to point out to the ardent tweeter that any felonious filly hoping to defraud Ottawa of undeserved CERB funds would have to have a valid social insurance number, and probably a bank account and rudimentary computer skills. Many mentioned the fragrant material horses leave behind as they walk.

Rather than admitting he might have been misinformed in his effort to push the CTF view Canadians who access CERB would be better put in workhouses, Wudrick bridled and continued to flog his argument like the proverbial dead horse. A regular old rodeo ensued on social media.

I can't shake the feeling that in the distant past, I may have put the idea that domestic animals were up to no good in the CTF's collective mind by mentioning in this blog that I had enrolled my late dog Riley as one of its "supporters" just to see what turned up in his email. This made one CTF operative (not Wudrick) so angry he publicly accused me of fraud.

The innocent Riley, alas, has passed on, but his email address lives on, still receiving the occasional plaintive fundraiser from the supposedly non-partisan "tax watchdog." Perhaps another will be along soon, warning of the danger to Canada of impecunious ponies being given access to federal funds by negligent Liberals.

Do Canadians think there's anything to Wudrick's concern? The neighs have it.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on his blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Dricker94/Flickr​

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