Commentary by Real Women of Canada ,OTTAWA, Ontario, August 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canadians may not realize the extent to which successive Liberal governments have developed a vast network of left-wing government dependent organizations to promote liberal causes.
When their funding is cut, these special interest groups discover that average Canadians don’t even know they exist and couldn’t care less that their funding has been eliminated. However, these left leaning groups are shocked when their feelings of entitlement are bruised by the Conservative government’s funding cuts.
They proclaim that if the money doesn’t keep flowing their way, democracy is undermined, the voices of Canadians have been silenced, and their right to freedom of speech has been denied. They object when told they should obtain funding from independent sources.
In their view, unless leftist advocacy is funded by the federal government, with billions of tax dollars, there are no other legitimate voices in Canada, no valuable opinions exist beyond theirs, and democracy is under serious threat. On the contrary, an end to preferential funding for left-wing ideologies, such as feminism and “social justice”, will expose Canadians to more representative public discourse.
The Left Mobilizes
Liberal MP caucus members, Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre) and Ken Dryden (York Centre), have organized a series of forums on Parliament Hill, where liberal left groups can “tell their stories” about their powerlessness and fears, as a result of government funding cuts. Michael Ignatieff called government cuts the “chilling of NGOs” and compared the situation in Canada to Cuba and Bulgaria. Ken Dryden claimed that it is “unhealthy and undemocratic” for governments to refuse funding to groups which disagree with government policy.
The groups represented at the first forum on June 14, 2010 were LEAF (Women’s Legal Education Action Fund), the legal arm of the feminist movement, Match International (whose purpose is to spread feminism abroad), Canadian Council for International Cooperation (an umbrella advocacy group for 90 organizations whose purpose is to reduce global poverty), Canadian Society for International Health, Assembly of First Nations, Action Canada for Population and Development (political arm of Planned Parenthood), Canadian Council of Learning (received $8.5 million in 2004 over five years), Canadian Council on Social Development, Oxfam, Native Women’s Shelter (Montreal), New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, Ontario AIDS Network, Womenspace, and Conseil d’intervention pour l’acces des femmes au travail. It was claimed that other groups did not attend for fear of losing their funding.
In fact, all these organizations have created an industry for themselves, with more tax money supporting the activists, their salaries and offices, than is being used for the disadvantaged whom they are supposed to be assisting.
Seeing themselves as “civil society organizations”, which have been “shut down”, some funding recipients have organized a petition objecting to funding cuts. They claim the government has “weakened crucial international human rights initiatives”, including the rights of indigenous people, gays and lesbians, and women. Funding recipients claim a “loss of democratic space.”
Among the first to sign the petition were Judy Rebick (former president of the feminist National Action Committee on the Status of Women), Keith Spicer (former Commissioner of Official Languages and CRTC Chairman under the Liberals) and writer Margaret Atwood.
Among the 46 groups which endorsed the petition are the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD), Amnesty International, BC Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Childcare Resource and Research Unit, The Council of Canadians, Match International, Oxfam Canada, Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta Association.
It should be noted that an Arab-Israeli research group called “Mada” received an $800,000 grant in 2009 from a crown agency International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to study the marginalization of women in Arab-Israeli society and also the low level of political participation by Israeli Arabs. The grant was to be distributed over a three-year period. In March 2010 IDRC terminated the grant and the Mada organization has brought a legal action in the federal court again IDRC for terminating the grant for “lack of cause”.
A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister by 10 religious leaders, asking for clarification of CIDA funding cuts to KAIROS, an umbrella group representing the left leaning elements in Canadian churches. Many church goers object to government funding of leftist influences in their churches and were grateful for funding cuts to Kairos.
The Canadian Council for International Cooperation has not had its 2009 $1.7 million funding renewed this year. It represents 90 organizations, many of which are left leaning.
Some of the 90 groups already receive federal funding totaling $407 million annually. Among the groups under the CCIC umbrella are abortion activists, such as ACPD, Amnesty International, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (the new name for Planned Parenthood); several union social justice funds; some legitimate foreign aid organizations; feminist organizations, such as Match, and some left leaning religious groups.
Conservative Government Seeks Accountability
Funding cuts are necessary and are welcomed by most Canadians, who object to their tax dollars being used to promote costly left leaning policies, when we already have a democratic system in place to represent the views of Canadians. Some international advocacy groups have been receiving operational funding since the 1960’s. Feminist groups started receiving funding in the 1970’s.
Thankfully, the Conservative government has not been detracted from systematically reviewing all government handouts and program accountability. This is long overdue.
This article was republished with permission from the July/August edition of REALITY magazine, the official newsletter of Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family women’s organization, REAL Women.