There's A Chill All Right

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent thinks that a "chill" has descended down upon aid groups over the governments recent decision to withdraw funding from Kairos.  I suppose, although not explicitly stated in the linked article above, he is including recent actions by Conservative appointees to halt funding going through the government supported group "Rights and Democracy" from going to groups critical of Israel as part of this "chill."

Criticisms should be allowed in a free and open society.  Israel is no saint of a nation.  It has made mistakes and has policies that I'm personally NOT supportive of.  That being said the terrorist acts of Palestinians should be equally deplored.

However I firmly believe the the proper role of any government is to mind its own business wherever possible in the realm of foreign policy.  There is no need to for a government to get involved in far off conflicts -  especially ones as morally murky as the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

With that view in mind I have to say I do support the actions taken by the government to start repealing funding to groups that are critical of Israel.  These groups are accepting government funds and are acting on behalf of the Canadian people.  Canada, if it really wants to make a difference in the middle east, can best do so by fostering the diplomatic relationships needed to be able to be a neutral third party that can actually be trusted by either side.  That's the grounds for a constructive role to be played.  It won't happen if the government is seen as taking sides.

These aid groups in question that have received public funding have spoken out on areas of politics, diplomacy, and foreign relations which is not their responsibility.   Really and aid group should just be and focus on being an aid group.  It should not take political positions.  It should not take sides.  If it does the government is effectively taking sides.  Canada might as well make it official government policy to be against Israel at that point.

What gives me a chill is that Mr Broadbent then claims that it is the Conservatives who "are bringing what can only be described, it seems to me, as Middle East politics, directly into the heart of the centre. Never was there such interference before..."

Yet the very fact that groups that have been vocally critical of Israel and yet continued to receive federal funding indicates that Middle East politics was already present and the Conservatives are only correcting the imbalance.


  1. I had an interesting discussion with BCL regarding those "bible wavers"-his words.

    In my opinion as long as those BW were useful and supported their idealogy they were allowed access to the taxpayer teat. If they did not tie the party line and idealogical left they were not to be tolerated.

    I discovered this through his concern for the Knights of Columbus who were donating a sculpture in a park.

  2. This is just not the way government funding of non-governmental organizations works.

    The government funds specific projects that NGOs are involved in. These groups have to account for every dollar spent down to the level of individual staff who split their time between different programs.

    The Government of Canada was certainly never funding any Kairos programs that had anything to do with political advocacy on the Israeli-Palestinian question. What appears to have happened is that the Harper government withdrew funding from unrelated programs and then one of its ministers implied that this was done to punish Kairos for their work/position on Israeli issues.