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A Tale of Two Funding Priorities

Conservative Government: Homophibia = OK, Criticising Israeli Government = Not OK

by Geordie Gwalgen Dent

PHOTO Jenn Farr
PHOTO Jenn Farr

Ontario - In the last few years, from the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development to foreign policy in the UN, the Canadian Conservative Government has come under fire for its ideological stance towards their international relations.  

Recently the government erupted in infighting over funding given to an Ontario-based homophobic organization operating in Uganda.

The Toronto Media Co-op compares the funding of Christian Crossroads to that of KAIROS.

Christian Crossroads

Christian Crossroads is an Ontario-based organization that has recieved about half a million dollars from CIDA to construct drinking water wells and latrines and train locals in Northern Uganda.

A week ago, the group's website was revealed to have called homosexuality and transvestism 'perversions' alongside pedophilia and bestiality. Their founder has been filmed at anti-gay rallies.

The group later addressed the website comments saying that, "God...outlines in the Bible ways for us to live in order to experience the most fulfilling life possible, and that God's blueprint encourages sexuality within a marriage," later adding that it "supports the Canadian government's position that strongly opposes the criminalization of homosexuality and violence on the basis of sexual orientation".

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called the comments on its website offensive and stated in the House that "any evidence that anyone receiving a grant from the government of Canada is using that money to spread hateful or mean-spirited or offensive practices, it will be put to an end immediately."

Following this, Minister for International Co-operation Julian Fantino said on Sunday that the funding would be reviewed. However, in apparent defiance of Baird, a CIDA spokeswoman said that Christian Crossroads complied with its agreement and that it's funding would not be cut.

Fantino said Crossroads delivers projects effectively and without bias, but did not address the homophobic comments the group has made.

NDP MP Hélène Laverdière stated that "religious groups that promote their ideology have Conservative connections."

Christian Crossroads' funding is still intact.

KAIROS

KAIROS is a faith-based coalition of 11 Canadian churches and organizations that promotes  human development and environmentally sustainable projects in poor countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

KAIROS notes it has "criticized specific actions of Israeli governments" but also noted it had voted "against advocating sanctions against Israel or a boycott of products from Israel."

In 2009, KAIROS's funding is cut after Bev Oda unilaterally decides to cut $7 Million in CIDA funding.  Staff had originally approved the funding as having matched CIDA's funding priorities.

Later that year, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a group in Israeli that   Kairos cuts were made to crack down on anti-Semitic groups and that funding was cut because it took a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Kenney changed his story after outrage from other funding groups saying, Oda cancelled Kairos's funding because it didn't meet CIDA priorities.

One year later, after KAIROS staff said the group did meet CIDA's funding priorities, Oda's parliamentary secretary, Jim Abbott, said he unintentionally mislead Parliament by saying the opposite.

In 2011, after repeated work by KAIROS to get info on the cut in their funding, House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken rules there was "very troubling" document-tampering saying the document to cut KAIROS funding signed by Oda and two of her most senior officials was purposely "doctored."

Oda finally admits cutting funding was her decision in 2011.

Shortly after, Kenney writes in several pieces granted to him by the mainstream media that he had nothing to do with the decision .

KAIROS's funding remains cut.

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