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KAIROS Canada officially responds to Minister Kenney.

KAIROS Canada has just issued a news release responding to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s statements that CIDA funding was cut to it because of the organization supposedly being anti-Israel/anti-Semitic. I’ve highlighted a main point (or two) in here amongst some other very relevant and troubling issues that KAIROS Canada has brought up. It appears that Minister Kenney is confusing 2 different organizations statements and positions:

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.

Minister Kenney’s charge against KAIROS is false. KAIROS did not lead this campaign. In 2007, KAIROS took a public position opposing sanctions and a boycott of Israel. A recently released document, Kairos Palestine, 2009: A Moment of Truth, is not a document of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Kairos is a Greek word meaning “God’s time” and is commonly used by Christian groups.

A Minister of the Crown says that his government decided, for what is a highly political reason, to cut funds for a proposal developed in consultation with and approved by CIDA.

Canadians need the truth.

Two points must be made: criticism of Israel does not constitute anti-Semitism; and CIDA was developed to fund international aid and not to serve political agendas.

Minister Kenney’s statement, in a highly charged environment, raises very disturbing questions about the integrity of Canadian development aid decisions. If aid decisions are based on political rumour rather than on due diligence, development criteria and CIDA’s own evaluation process then this is a matter of grave concern for the entire international development sector — and for the Canadian people who pay for this aid.

Many non-governmental organizations have proposals before CIDA that have been on Minister Oda’s desk for months. Others are about to apply for funding. How can they possibly trust this decision-making process in the future?

In the past two weeks, Canadians from across the country have called for the restoration of CIDA funding to KAIROS.

People working for human rights are the true victims of the funding cut to KAIROS. This decision cuts funding for a new legal clinic in the Congo to help women who have been raped in the brutal conflict there. The 5,000 members of the Women’s Popular Organization in Colombia will lose funding for life-saving protection against rampant human rights abuses in their country.

To label KAIROS criticism of Israeli government actions as “anti-Semitic” silences dissent and honours no one. KAIROS has a clear position of support for the legitimate right of the Israeli people to a safe and secure state.

KAIROS asks that our funding be restored.

So, in a moment of spite, political interference, perhaps pandering to the likes of the ultra-rightwing religious ideologue Charles McVety, and quite frankly getting the different KAIROS organizations policy positions mixed up, women who were raped in the Congo, and an organization in Columbia fighting human rights abuses (which may be another irritant to Harper and Kenney, since one of Harper’s main goals has been to get a free-trade agreement with Columbia, despite death-squads operating there targeting trade-union members) are going to pay the price for this bit of (misplaced) political thuggery from Jason Kenney and the Conservative government.

22 comments to KAIROS Canada officially responds to Minister Kenney.

  • It appears that Minister Kenney is confusing 2 different organizations

    I don’t think he is mixing them up.
    Elizabeth Thompson : Group loses funding due to position on Middle East
    “Kenney’s office pointed to critical comments made by an Israel-based group. The NGO Monitor said KAIROS is a “main supporter of the anti-Israel divestment movement in Canada..”

    The NGO Monitor, a rightwing Israeli activist group, is definitely talking about KAIROS Canada. They have written about KAIROS Canada frequently, and suggested their funding should be revoked. They covered the first temporary halt to Kairos funding back in November and today on their website they are reporting Canadian news on the funding cut.
    Kenney and the head of NGO Monitor were both speakers at the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism last week.

  • Derek

    This decision should not come as a surprise to anyone, the CCPCA has been quietly re-defining Canada’s position on anti-semitism, equating all criticism of the state of Israel as anti-semitic. Not withstanding that this allows for a political whitewash of Israeli policies, but it also aggravates the CCPCA’s own mandate of *investigating instances of anti-antisemitism within Canada* as the blowback of remaining wholly uncritical of the Israeli state’s policies and human rights infractions will increase the likelihood of anti-semitic behaviour occuring in Canada.

    The CCPCA states that it is not affiliated with any NGO, the Canadian Government, or any advocacy group but it is clear by the participants in the inquiry, the statements being made to the inquiry and Jason Kenney’s Ex-Officio Member status, that the CCPCA has been instrumental in de-funding Kairos.

  • Roll Tide

    Kairos 4%?…….vs. 84% with World Vision.

    http://www.worldvision.ca/About-Us/financial-information/Pages/canadianDonationsAtWork.aspx

    Its about helping the poor, CIDA can allocate its money far more efficiently.

  • Roll Tide

    Kairos is a highly politically charged hard left NGO. It has no business receiving taxpayer funding. What took Harper so long?
    Check out the annual report. Less then 4% for anti poverty.
    Most of the spending goes toward extreme left political propaganda.

    De-fund the left Mr. Harper.

  • foottothefire

    Makes one wonder which government Kenny actually works for.

  • while i sympathize with the good work that KAIROS is doing in some areas, in the middle east KAIROS is out to lunch. It’s letters to the Federal government are full of the usual left wing uncritical acceptance of the pro palestinian meme and bely its claims of not wanting to harm Israel.

    More damaging is KAIROS’ supporting supporters of dismantling Israel’s security barrier. One can argue many things about the barrier but not this: it has been enormously successful in reducing terror attacks.

    It aligns itself with organizations that do wish to harm Israel. Recently KAIROS endorsed the “Bil’in Cross-Canada Tour June 5 – 22: Israeli Apartheid on Trial

    KAIROS’ actions bely its words.

    Besides, this whole argument is moot. Where is it written that a government must fund the activities of organizations with which it has policy or other disagreements? remember the Court Challenges Program? If KAIROS wants to continue bringing “justice” to the Middle East let it raise the money on it own.

    • @Backseat Blogger, As I said to my resdident right-wing troll on the last blogpost thread – from a commentator over at BigCityLib’s site:

      NGO Monitor… Some of those examples NGO Monitor has are fairly cherry picked. On the same letters where they found Kairos criticizing Israel there were also condemnations of the rocket attacks by the Palestinians on civilian targets. NGO Monitor has been criticized by the Jerusalem Post for critiquing peace related NGOs and ignoring right-wing NGOs (something Yossi Alpher notes as well), and for lacking transparency in their own funding. Obvious biases here.

      The fact of the matter is: the reasons listed by Kenney here for defunding is that KAIROS Canada supported a boycott of Israel and trade sanctions – which if you’d bothered reading the last blogpost, neither action did they support; in fact, their charter in January 2008 recommends to its member churches to oppose both. Kenney has also said that KAIROS Canada is an anti-semitic organization; charges that are clearly false, and I’m sure the member churches who support and are members of KAIROS won’t and don’t appreciate being tarred by that brush that Minister Kenney is wielding.

      Finally, when a government minister comes out and makes specific and incorrect remarks and gives incorrect reasons about why an organization as reasons for its defunding, then once that’s proven, the funding should ultimately be restored, wouldn’t you agree?

      • ChrisInKW

        @Scott Tribe, the Minister should resign.

        Making such an offensive and odious implication of another organization is unbecoming of a Minister of the Crown. Alas, such conduct has become their signature.

  • Michael Mech

    CIDA monies should be spent on development aid abroad(schools, wells, etc) not for political advocacy campaigns in Canada. KAIROS crossed the line when they used Canadian taxpayer dollars to fund advocacy campaigns on environmental (Alberta tar sands) issues and similar campaigns IN Canada.

  • Alison S

    I generally agree with KC on the funding of religious groups.

    However, if they are trying to help women who have been raped in a war zone, that would be in direct contradiction to the stand of the Harper government. After all, women are just a “fringe” group and rape? well they must have asked for it. What were they doing in a war zone anyhow?

  • KC

    Every cut in funding to a religious group is a positive in my mind.

  • Tim

    Greg, we don’t use Diebold voting machines in federal elections yet.

  • Gregory Alan Elliott

    Gosh. If Stephen Harper winning a minority government has made you all so bitter and angry about logos, donuts and cheques… you’ll all be going head-exploding rabid nutso when Prime Minister Stephen Harper is awarded a MAJORITY government in the next Federal election. Enjoy.

  • Tim

    KAIROS should sue Kenney for defamation. I’ve seen suits fly for much less offensive comment, plus he’s harming their work, which would mean more damages.

    And speaking of McVety, I happened to see him and his child-molester-like smirk while flipping around channels the other night. He’s going the Alex Jones route: there is some new film he’s putting out about eeeeeeeevil of ‘activist’ judges.

  • Was Kenney’s conflation of KAIROS and Kairos accidental? I think not.

  • CWTF

    Harper has politicized all levels of government. When he is removed (as it will surely happen), I wonder how many decades it will take to restore Canada.

  • ChrisInKW

    It blew me away to learn yesterday of the apparent politicization of CIDA. This government’s desire to infect everything it touches with its divisive politics is repugnant to say the least.

    Not only that, but these allegations against the KAIROS development organization are so obviously spurious that it begs the question as to what sort of calculations went into this ‘defunding’.

  • […] “Agency’s anti-Israel role is obvious”.  She purports to be writing about KAIROS and Jason Kenney and Israel and Jews and racism and investing and boycotting and … oh never […]

  • […] About that “suppression of charitable human rights groups”?  He’s talking about KAIROS.  See this and this [pdf] and this. […]

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