Corbella: Trudeau’s cynicism over jobs grant funding is farcical but not funny

Corbella: Trudeau’s cynicism over jobs grant funding is farcical but not funny
April 27, 2018 editorial-team
In Staff Picks

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Canada Summer Jobs debacle is growing even more farcical but not any more funny.

The B.C. advocacy group Dogwood got federal funding to hire an organizing assistant to help the not-for-profit “stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project.”

The feds are creating a $15-an-hour job designed to stop thousands of high-paying jobs — not to mention huge royalty revenues and property taxes — that would be created if the federally approved twinning of the already-existing 65-year-old Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is allowed to proceed.

Meanwhile, The Mustard Seed Street Ministry — and thousands of other faith-based organizations like it — got zero Canada Summer Jobs funding from the federal government to help feed, house, clothe, train and love Alberta’s most vulnerable and poor citizens experiencing homelessness.

Many faith-based organizations were denied funding from the federal program owing to them refusing to sell their souls for a few pieces of silver. Trudeau and his government insisted that to qualify for a grant to hire university students, the applying organization had to sign an attestation stating that the organization’s core mandate respects “reproductive rights.”

As Steve Wile, CEO of The Mustard Seed, says, the Christian aid organization has never had to take a stand on abortion before because its core mandate is to minister to tens of thousands of poor and addicted people in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. Nevertheless, the wording of the attestation made it impossible to sign, since it required applicants to essentially agree with the federal Liberal party platform on abortion.

Last year, The Seed received federal funding to hire 17 students to work across Alberta. This year, The Seed got nothing. As a result, the organization only hired six students, partly from $30,000 that came in from church folk following news coverage of the attestation controversy.

Wile says he sent a letter prior to applying for the grants seeking to remove the part of the attestation that said they support abortions. The response he received from the government told him he must sign the attestation or forgo any funding.

According to Labour Minister Patty Hajdu’s office, 1,683 applications for funding were rejected, a spike of more than 1,400 over last year.

“We decided not to apply at all,” said Wile on Thursday. His conscience and his Christian faith made it impossible.

Wile points out that not only are Alberta’s most vulnerable people not going to receive the same level of care had The Seed received federal jobs funding, but the students miss out on “the opportunity to serve others and to understand those in our community who have less than we do,” said Wile.

“When people work here, they are changed because they see the other side of life and the complexities behind what brings a lot of people to us and their eyes are opened and their hearts are expanded,” explained Wile. Beautiful words.

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