Dear Prime Minister and Legislators:
I wrote the following as a comment on the Globe and mail article as well as on my Facebook page:
‘CIDA memo doctored on ministerial orders, Bev Oda admits’,
Opposition accuses International Co-operation Minister of lying to MPs about decision to axe funding to church-backed aid group Kairos
“How many of KAIROS’ normal beneficiaries in poor countries have suffered because of a cantankerous, lying government minister? Remember, just one person made this decision that has adversely affected thousands. Shame on Minister Oda. She should resign!” http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654663930
I would go further. I do not think Minister Oda was alone in this. I submit that she was under orders from the Prime Minister’s Office, to punish any publicly funded organization that would admit any sympathy for suffering Palestinians or make even the slightest suggestion that the State of Israel was guilty of human rights violations during its bombing of Gaza in winter 2008-2009. Immigration Minister Kenny even criticized KAIROS during a speech in the fall of 2009-
‘KAIROS, an ecumenical organization of 11 religious groups including the United Church of Canada, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, and the Quakers, is fighting back against charges of anti-Semitism from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
The charges followed a cut in funding from CIDA for KAIROS programs announced on November 30. As KAIROS summarizes the situation on its website:
The Minister of International Cooperation, Bev Oda, has been telling KAIROS, Parliament and the Canadian people that funding to KAIROS was cut because its work did not fit current Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) priorities of economic growth, food security and children and youth.
‘On Wednesday, however, a completely different reason was given in a speech by Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration. Addressing the Global Forum to Counter Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, Minister Kenney described his government’s fights against anti-Semitism and, as an example, said the government had “defunded organizations . like KAIROS for taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against Israel.’
I believe there is an extreme ideological approach that is being used by the Harper Conservatives that has no place in the policy making of the government of Canada. They are using their extreme religious beliefs – extreme to most Canadians – that Israel must re-established in the Middle East before the second coming of Christ can happen. While I am a Christian myself, I do not believe it is up to me to push God in a political direction. It is not up to an ideologically driven few who have captured the Canadian government at this time in history, to create Canadian foreign policy in this way. This government cannot be permitted, by the use of lying and fraud to parliament and therefore to the Canadian people, to get their way in this matter. I support the re-instatement of the cancelled funding to KAIROS. I also believe that Minister Oda should resign and I think that Prime Minister Harper and Immigration Minister Kenney should apologize to Parliament and the Canadian people and promise to be more open about the reasons for their foreign policies and funding of public agencies like KAIROS, particularly in regard to the State of Israel and the Palestinian people.