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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NDP and Green Party denounce Kenney for defunding Christian charity

According to the Green Party, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed last week that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) decision to end its 35-year relationship with KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives was politically motivated.

"Accusing KAIROS of being an anti-semitic group is truly reprehensible,” said Stephen LaFrenie, Green Party’s International Cooperation Critic. “Worse is the fact that the human rights work sponsored by KAIROS will be compromised by these irresponsible comments made on an international stage."

The Green Party also notes that the Jewish community in Canada was recently the target of a Conservative mailer that painted the Liberal Party as anti-semites after attending Durban 1 a 2001 UN conference on racism.

“Not only are they wrong in their actions towards KAIROS, a group I fully support, but in an effort to further pander to and exploit the fears of my fellow Jews around the survival of the State of Israel they have shown an utter lack of leadership, as they divide Canadians along ethnic and religious lines,” said Ralph Benmergui, Senior Advisor to the Green Party of Canada and creator of the Vision TV mini-series My Israel.

“We need to ensure that these types of slanderous allegations by Ministers do not go unpunished," said Elizabeth May, Leader of Canada's Greens. "It begs the question, what does a member of Harper’s cabinet need to do to be dismissed?"

Canada’s New Democrats are also demanding funding for the social justice organization be restored, insisting the cuts were made based on inaccurate information.

“There’s been an outrageous mistake made here, and Minister Oda must move swiftly to correct the record and restore the $7 million in funding that she has stripped from KAIROS,” said John Rafferty, New Democrat critic for International Cooperation.  “A Minister of this government has said that KAIROS lost their funding because they engage in anti-Semitic activities, but that claim is demonstrably false so there is no pretense for the funding cut.”

According to the New Democrats, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the charge of anti-Semitism during a recent visit to Israel. During a speech in Jerusalem on December 16, Kenney stated:

"We have defunded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions against (Israel)." 

However, a document published by KAIROS in January 2008 explicitly stated that the organization did not support “any general boycott of Israeli products” nor “any use of sanctions against Israel.”

“KAIROS is a respected ecumenical organization that works to improve the lives of millions people living in poverty and conflict around the world,” added New Democrat Leader Jack Layton.  “Mr. Kenney owes them and their member churches an immediate apology.”

KAIROS member churches include the Anglican Church of Canada, The Christian Reformed Church in North America, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The United Church of Canada, The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Canadian Religious Conference, The Mennonite Central Committee of Canada, The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).

The charge of anti-semitism is serious and should not be used as a political weapon. Without knowing all the facts here, my first reaction is that Kenney, a Catholic, would not make an allegation like this for political reasons.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 23, 2009 | Permalink


Having spent some time years back working in Jason Kenney's office, I can only hope his position reflects an unintentional research blunder!

There is a DOCUMENT called "Kairos Palestine, 2009: A Moment of Truth" which speaks on the Palestine issue, but that has nothing to do with any Canadian organization. The Canadian group of Churches is called KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. However the document looks to be from a completely unrelated Christian group in or around Israel. Kairos is a just a Greek word meaning “God’s time” and is commonly used by Christian groups all over the world!

Aside from the above Kairos document (let's assume without deciding that it was antisemitic) I don't think there's anything whatsoever that could lead people to conclude that the Quakers, Anglicans, United Church of Canada, Catholic Church, Mennonites, and Evangelical Lutherans had all conspired together to create an antisemitic organization.

I think the right thing to do here is for Jason to apologize for the error and reverse the funding cuts.

If he doesn't, it is going to everyone (including me) as though he's simply punishing the religious groups who refuse to toe the Conservative line politically.

Posted by: CiteLibre | 2009-12-23 1:40:09 PM

Thanks for that information, CiteLibre.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-12-23 3:01:19 PM

Perhaps it's time Kenny et al became equal opportunity de-funders and eliminated all funding for NGOs, religious, environmental, or their hybrids.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-12-23 3:20:24 PM

"I don't think there's anything whatsoever that could lead people to conclude that the Quakers, Anglicans, United Church of Canada, Catholic Church, Mennonites, and Evangelical Lutherans had all conspired together to create an antisemitic organization."

They don't have to conspire to be of like mind.
Only a biased proselytizer who "believes" would have a hard time understanding why funding was cut.

The government should cut any and all ties with proselytizers of any type, even if it is only because they do not toe the line regarding their version of Dogma.The next step is to impeech those who cannot seperate church and state.
I am deeply offended that any government would hand over lucid tax dollars to religious agenda driven flakes.
There is no possible way that what they do could cause more good than harm, they are christian devils incarnadine.

Posted by: Punish all who are religious with lashes | 2009-12-23 3:38:25 PM

"I think the right thing to do here is for Jason to apologize for the error and reverse the funding cuts".

~CiteLibre: may i rephrase that?

"I think the right thing to do here is for Jason to apologize for the error and go on a wild-eyed axe wielding spree of funding cuts".

that's better.

Posted by: shel | 2009-12-23 4:35:04 PM

Why are they funding a supposedly Christian organization? Or a political action organization period? Why are they funding non profits at all?

Although it's clear they're not at all a Christian organization.

Posted by: Pete | 2009-12-23 4:38:25 PM

Good grief people read what this group said about Israel targeting the HAMAS terrorist in 2004.
This group is nothing but a front for the United Church and its lefties.
De-fund them 100% I say.
read what Levant found out about these guys!

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2009-12-23 6:14:37 PM

KAIROS no more represents Christians than any of all the various groups and NGOs claiming to represent people based on their religion, sex, colour or whatever. Frankly it is high time that the government cease funding any of them. If they have the representation they claim, then they will have no problem getting funding from the people they represent, and if not, let them do bake sales.

I find the comments of CiteLibre insulting, being based on the idea of having an entitlement to government money, which in reality is our money. No, Mr. Kenney owes none of you an apology. If anything he owes the rest of us an apology for the previous misuse of our money by funding KAIROS and the continued funding to other such groups.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-12-23 6:28:42 PM

I think the right thing to do here is for Jason to apologize for the error and go on a wild-eyed axe wielding spree of funding cuts"

I agree. He can start with the Fraser Institute and rural conservative welfare bums.

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-23 7:46:18 PM


absolutely. farmer welfare is as good a place to start as any.

the Fraser Institute doesn't get gov. funding and they rail against business subsidies (as they should).

Posted by: shel | 2009-12-23 8:31:06 PM

The biggest Ag welfare bums are the Dairy guys.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-12-23 8:41:37 PM

If we're going to defund ALL religious organizations - then that is fine. The problem is with SELECTIVELY defunding SOME religious organizations simply because their ideologies don't line up with the government.

It is as though the Conservatives are working to single-handedly vindicate all their past hand-wrining about the risks government funding poses to organizations' independance.

Posted by: Newfoundlander | 2009-12-23 9:16:49 PM

As for government money really being "our money" ... I'm sure we can all agree that's technically not true: federal government money belongs to Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada.

It might be true symbolically speaking ... "our money" you mean the money belonging to all of us equally.

However, if in saying "our money" you really mean the individual property of the people who paid the taxes in the first place, I'd sugget that isn't even symbolically true. "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society." More crudely - taxes are the price we pay for a society that lets us earn the money in the first place.

The taxes I've paid as to my HMQRC as the "price" for this incredible civilization are no more "my" money than the $10 I paid to the supermarket for the chicken I had for dinner.

I'm sure you'll point out that I had a choice about whether to buy the chicken - and no choice over my taxes. However the reality is that I've already gotten the benefits of my taxes simply by living in Canada (and not getting maimed or sick from disease or starvation as would likely have happened in a place without strong social programs). Griping about my taxes would be like griping about paying for the chicken - after I'd eaten it!

Posted by: Newfoundlander | 2009-12-23 9:34:05 PM

As for cutting funding to religious organizations ... I'm all for that ... provided it applies equally to organizations of all political viewpoints.

However, the same thing should apply for tax credits. Donations to an organization shouldn't be eligible for tax credits simply by virtue of its being a church or mosque. Give everyone a charitable tax credit corresponding to the average credit for religious donations- without specifying the cause to which it should be donated.

Posted by: Newfoundlander | 2009-12-23 9:41:21 PM

"As for cutting funding to religious organizations ... I'm all for that ... provided it applies equally to organizations of all political viewpoints"

Posted by: Newfoundlander | 2009-12-23 9:41:21 PM

What does one have to do with the other? Are you yet another one who can not leave his bible at home when considering what is best for the state?
Is the seperation of politics and religion even possible for you, provided you can grasp what it is I am asking you to consider?

Posted by: I's the By | 2009-12-23 10:10:58 PM

Shel, as a registered charity, the Fraser Institute is indeed, in part, gov't funded. Obscene,hypocritical, but true.
All farmers are welfare bums, Joe.

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-24 10:28:07 AM

True, but all farmers are not welfare bums all the time. Dairy farmers and the other supply managed folks are.

And how on earth does Fraser being a registered charity make it government funded? That's asinine.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-12-24 10:43:34 AM

Not asinine, Joe, arithmetic. If one pays less tax for contributing to a "charity", that tax revenue has to be made up from other sources, ie. other taxpayers. In no way can the Fraser Inst. be construed as a charitable organization.
Supply managed commodities are "taxed" at the consumer level, so at least the consumer has choice in whether to pay that tax. Not so with the rest of welfare agriculture, where the coerced taxpayer has no choice in the matter whatsoever. Which is the more egregious?

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-24 12:00:42 PM

A lot of misinformation has been stated I see. First of all it is not only religious organisations that are recognised by government for charity purposes. To claim so is a lie.

Secondly, there is a huge difference between a non profit organisation being recognised by government for donation purposes (such as the Fraser Institute which is far out numbered by the leftist ones) and receiving government funding.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-12-24 12:06:46 PM

phil, i get where you're trying to go, but you're stretching.

Posted by: shel | 2009-12-24 4:48:09 PM

Stretching? No, phil's fallen off the chair.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-12-24 4:55:03 PM

If, shel, by stretching, you are referring to the fraser inst. being the beneficiary of govt. funding, I could not disagree more. The Fraser's contributor's collectively receiving a tax break for amount X amounts to the same thing as the government stroking the Fraser a check for amount X. It all comes out of the same general revenue pot and achieves the same end-keeping the Fraser Inst cranking out the propaganda. They would have some credibility if they did it entirely on their own dime, but such is not the case.
Let's put it another way. You give the Fraser a dollar. The government gives you 15 cents back(for example) off of your taxes for your charitable dollar contribution. The Fraser gets a buck, you kicked in 85 cents at the end of the day, other taxpayers kicked in (against their will) that other 15 cents. As I said, not asinine, nor a stretch, just arithmetic.

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-24 6:09:56 PM

Using the Fraser Institute analogy which is logical enough but a diversion from the theme of the post, every corporate and personal tax deductable expenditiure represents a subsidy from government and therefore everything is subsidized in a mixed economy so why single out the Fraser Institute. Kill the funding for everyone, shrink the state to police, the military, and the courts and thats all folks. Merry Christmas.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-12-24 7:34:24 PM

~John Chittick

you struck the root eloquently.

we all have an agenda, but our biases shouldn't make our premises watery.

Merry Christmas all!! :)

Posted by: shel | 2009-12-24 9:24:11 PM


"...every corporate and personal tax deductable expenditiure represents a subsidy from government..."

WHAT! and Hmmmmm??????????????????

Posted by: Broad Minded | 2009-12-25 7:58:14 AM

1. Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
2. Financial assistance given by one person or government to another.

"A subsidy (also known as a subvention) is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry (e.g., as a result of continuous unprofitable operations) or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor (as in the case of a wage subsidy). Examples are subsidies to encourage the sale of exports; subsidies on some foodstuffs to keep down the cost of living, especially in urban areas; and subsidies to encourage the expansion of farm production and achieve self-reliance in food production.[1]

Subsidies can be regarded as a form of protectionism or trade barrier by making domestic goods and services artificially competitive against imports. Subsidies may distort markets, and can impose large economic costs.[2] Financial assistance in the form of a subsidy may come from one's government, but the term subsidy may also refer to assistance granted by others, such as individuals or non-governmental institutions, although these would be more commonly described as charity"

Posted by: Jesus Pimping Bastards | 2009-12-25 8:24:42 AM

"so why single out the Fraser Institute."

Because of the hypocrisy, the hypocrisy so prevalent among "conservatives", the one that rails against high taxes and big government while slurping from the public trough, not unlike rural conservative welfare bums who fancy themselves John Galts.

"every corporate and personal tax deductable expenditiure represents a subsidy from government"

But not every organization that depends on their supporter's contributions is designated a charity and therefore enjoys that deduction, and therein lies the obscenity of a rightwing, in-the-trough "think tank" being so designated.

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-25 10:15:05 AM

"but our biases shouldn't make our premises watery."

So why are you letting your bias make your premise watery, shel?

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-25 10:30:11 AM


Posted by: 1083 day until the end of the world | 2009-12-25 11:05:14 AM

phil, the only hypocrisy is the one you present in singling out the Fraser Institute. As already pointed out that is an attempt to cloud the topic. The conservatives I know would prefer that none of these groups receive government funding.

Again recognised tax donations are not the same and are not the subject here, so let's drop the smoke and mirrors game.

I agree with John Chittick. Of course if such existed, there would be no need for a Fraser Institute or any other.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-12-25 12:26:26 PM

Here, if you want argue about teat suckers like the Fraser Institute check these whores out:


"Union made"

Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2009-12-26 11:55:31 AM

More smoke and mirrors, po'ed?

Posted by: Alain | 2009-12-26 12:59:58 PM

Except for the fact policy alternatives are not sanctimoniously preaching free market fundamentalism, calling for lower taxes and smaller government while making taxes higher and government bigger by being in the trough. There ain't no hypocrite like a right wing hypocrite. You got the game down pat.

Posted by: phil | 2009-12-26 4:00:56 PM

So how much of a socialist are you phil?

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-12-26 4:20:55 PM

I dunno, I noticed that most of the "whores" at the CCPA were government paid ones, with union wages and pensions paid for by taxpayers. Oh, and some "bailout" victims from GM etc. How else would they find the money to pay for themselves? What "charitable" work do they do, except blow their own horn?

Help the poor? More like help themselves and sanctimoniously preaching to the choir about the "sacrifice of public service". They are a circular money tree for anyone who joins. Tra la.

You donate Phil or Alain? Members? Put your money where your mouth is?

Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2009-12-27 10:48:58 AM

And by the by, boys, I don't donate to the Fraser Institute because I don't think that even they should be considered as a "charity" in any way. Neither of these outfits are charitable in any way shape or form. They both are a tax dodge. Period. Parasites, both of them.

Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2009-12-27 10:54:16 AM

It is none of your business po'ed what I donate or to whom. It is actually one of the few freedoms we have left; whether or not to donate to a recognised non profit organisation. They do not have to be charities nor considered charities, so you again give misinformation.

I will say that I do donate my time to the local hospice, which is probably more than people like you. Actually it is much easier to donate money than one's time. Try it.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-12-27 2:28:50 PM

Who is a Christian? Definition varies.. especially between the Liberals and the Conservatives.. For many Conservatives Liberals cannot be considered Christians, more likely socialist communists.. Honesty is the best policy So, has Prime Minister Stephen Harper made any progress toward this lofty goal in his recent years. It really seems as he has not still. The major Canadian news media has been demanding the courts that it be spared from lawsuits while it is using it's freedom of speech bashing the others.. but still they do not allow the rest of Canadians, their readers the same right but too often do practice censhorips. messages deletions, unless you post something trivial, insignificant or politically correct.. and that was true for all those persons who had now said they did not like our gay married MP's Christmas card, or those who do not go along with Jason Kenney now as well. That is ti me why too many Conservatives as well are ostrich bigots, those persons who think their own religion, views, rights are the sole one that matters and they now also too often also do delete , censure messages, especially those that show the Conservatives, or Alberta in a bad light.. I do get rightfully upset when the Hypocrites, Pastors, Church Elders, Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, News editors, Jews, Conservatives, red necks, liberals, bad guys, bad cops too now still want the courts to insure their right of free speech protected but they do not allow other people the same right , a too common Canadian event still too.. What about the CANADIAN charter right OF FREE SPEECH, to speak, to be heard in reality include now all Canadians and not JUST the selected few. Follow the money. It's the oldest rule in journalism. The truth? It's all about money, as it always generally is. Now the Right winged evangelicals tend to real differ from Catholics and Liberal Protestants too.. While God loves all of his children equally and fairly and does not show partiality, also Stephen Harper the evangelical, as we all should know by now he does not, he discriminates and shows false partiality.. When Harper took residence in Ottawa the jealous as well Canadian Evangelical Lobbyists groups also moved in to Ottawa to insure they get their portion of the economic pie, grants, for before Harper it was the Catholics who got more than their fair share. If you sadly mistake that this statement that the professing Christians love one another? the evangelicals firstly known to be haters, they tend to hate liberals, communists, natives, women, Catholics, Anglicans, gays, divorcees, immigrants, poor and single persons.. as per my last 50 years in their churches too.. and Catholics too still often hate Eastern orthodox Christians and vice versa too. The Harper government's bizarre embrace of Canadian Jewry should be noted it is due also the theological difference between Catholics and evangelicals on the subject.. Evangelicals do tend to support Israel a lot more and it's supposed right to the promise land over the Catholics. Kenney announced that the "Canadian government has now implemented a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in Canada. And he said, "we have defunded organizations most recently like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role" in this campaign" . These people on this Christmas Harper hit lists are all of the non evangelicals.. the Mennonite, Catholics, Anglicans, etc., And how as that for a Christian Christmas message, present to them too? Rather for me this act was, is still an evangelical lie, a false cover-up of the real reasons, the still old fashion war of protestant, Evangelicals specifically against the Catholics. Some things never change. Relgious wars too. In accordance with my rights of free speech too … I rightfully still do not give an unconditional support for Israel’s past, present, future actions or reactions and I am not an anti Semite and you can tell that to Prime Minister Stephen Harper now too.. and I do not have to accept his wrong doings, sins quietly now as well..

Posted by: Get real | 2009-12-29 11:53:47 AM

Time for Get real to get real. Also time for him to learn love instead of hatred.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-01 12:00:37 PM

Time for Get real to get real. Also time for him to learn love instead of hatred.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-01 12:00:37 PM

Right back at ya,what makes you respond to everything the way you do, love?

Posted by: Vegan | 2010-01-01 1:21:38 PM

good post "get real" I didn't see it earlier

Posted by: Vegan | 2010-01-01 1:24:15 PM

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