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Bergen slams Liberal amendment to Jobs Program

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

(Canadian Press)

(Canadian Press)

Portage-Lisgar MP and House Leader of the Official Opposition is calling the Liberal government's changes to the federal Summer Jobs Program unCanadian.

The Liberal government will no longer offer federal funding to groups advocating against abortion rights or the equality of LGBTQ2 that seek aid through the program.

"It’s extremely worrisome to think that an organization would be excluded from receiving taxpayer funded resources because they disagree with the Liberals’ view on particular issues,” said Bergen via a media release her office published Monday afternoon. "A government should never be telling its citizens what they should and should not believe. What we’re seeing when it comes to this Liberal government is that if you don’t share exactly the same views that they do, you are likely to be left out in the cold."

Applicants must now sign an attestation indicating that their organizational mandate as well as the duties of the job they are seeking funding for respect human rights in Canada.

"To be eligible, applicants will have to attest that: both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights,” states a PowerPoint presentation created to brief MPs on the new changes and published by Global News.

The country-wide program provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. 77,000 jobs were approved for the program in 2016, including opportunities for newly arrived Syrian refugees, aboriginals, and youth with disabilities.

“We are seeing a pattern of disrespect towards religious Canadians from this Liberal Government; first, with their attempt to remove protection for religious freedoms from the Criminal Code and now with this," Bergen's quoted saying in the release. "It is extremely troubling and un-Canadian, and my Conservative colleagues and I will continue to stand up for Canadians’ right to hold contrary beliefs, and for their right to be free to express them without fear of being discriminated against by their government.”

The Liberals agreed to provide over $300 million in funding over three years to the summer jobs program and double the number of placements each year for students working at not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

“The objective of the change is to prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” the briefing material reads.

Organizations hoping to obtain funding can apply up until February and successful applicants will be notified in April.



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