It was almost exactly one year ago that my office first discovered the Liberal’s proposed changes to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. You may recall that the Trudeau Liberals added an attestation last year to CSJ applications demanding that applicants adhere to Liberal Party values in order to receive funding.
The problem, of course, is that requiring adherence to a values test (of any kind) is a clear violation of the Charter rights of Canadians. It is in direct violation of Section 2 of the Charter which guarantees all Canadians the fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion; thought, belief, opinion and expression. The government does not have the right to demand that Canadians agree with them in order to receive federal grant dollars. In fact, the Charter exists to protect the people from just this sort of government overreach.
Canadians of all political stripes reacted strongly to this action by the Liberals. More than 1,500 organizations across Canada – including many here in Provencher – refused to sign the attestation and were summarily refused funding by the Liberals. These organizations included not only faith-based groups but other charities and businesses as well.
It’s now one year later and the Trudeau Liberals still haven’t learned their lesson. The new application for 2019 still requires that applicants sign an attestation, but the wording has been modified somewhat. And while the front door values test is gone, it remains in place at the backdoor – in the program’s eligibility requirements.
The new wording states that jobs which focus on partisan political activism will not be eligible for funding. I think that’s something that everyone can agree with. However, all other activism activities WILL be eligible for funding – with one exception – activities to protect the rights of the unborn.
So, while Canadians will not be required to give up their personal pro-life beliefs, employment positions will not be eligible to be funded through the Canada Summer Jobs Program if that job involves any pro-life activities. No other activism in any area, other than partisan activities, has been excluded from eligibility in the program. So much for Justin Trudeau’s earlier statement, “we will not remove funding from advocacy organizations because we as a government happen to disagree with them.”
If organizations are abiding by the law, the Prime Minister’s job is to provide them equal and fair access to government funding, not pick winners and losers based on his personal views.
His values test has no place in Canada.
For more information on this or any issue please feel free to contact my office toll free at 1-866-333-1933 or at 204-326-9889. Visit me on Facebook at: Facebook.com/TedFalkMP. You may also write my office at 76 PTH 12N, Steinbach MB, R5G 1T4 or visit my website at www.tedfalk.ca.