"It certainly is not a courageous act to renounce one’s beliefs in order to receive funding from the government," Geenan writes. Wikimedia commons

Speaking out: Disheartened by summer jobs funding

By  Speaking Out, Kevin Geenen
  • May 18, 2018

Because of the Canada Summer Jobs program’s new attestation, the summer camp where I work will run with staffing changes, reduced programming and an increase in registration costs. 

Kid Quest Camp, a Christian summer day camp, has been denied $48,000 of annual funding for refusing to attest to the government’s pro-abortion policy. The camp will be going more than $30,000 in the red this summer and if the camp doesn’t receive funding next year, it may be cancelled.

The camp had to turn to donations to help provide wages to counsellors and has to cut costs by reducing the length of summer positions. Summer is a time for students like me to earn money to pay for tuition and housing for the upcoming school year. But this is not just my story.

Christian organizations such as Catholic Christian Outreach, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College and Awana Clubs Canada have received funding in the past. They, too, were denied this year. Political pro-life groups like Campaign Life Coalition, the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and My Canada were also denied funding. 

The attestation was technically meant to target political groups like them after complaints were launched by the radical pro-choice group the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada last year. 

Yet, groups like the controversial Dogwood Initiative, which protests against the Liberal government’s Kinder Morgan pipeline in B.C., and an anarchist organization called the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, continue to receive funding because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims he believes in “free speech” and “advocacy.” 

The Liberals’ intention to specifically shut out political pro-life groups, which in and of itself is not right, has backfired and instead resulted in students getting caught in the crossfire. 

I suggest you look at the organizations that were approved in your riding. They are listed on the Government of Canada website. In my riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, there is no longer funding for a Christian summer camp but if you want to power wash driveways all summer then there is a job for you. Which one will positively impact the community more?

Meanwhile, Trudeau and the Liberal Party continue their rhetoric about protecting “abortion rights.” Sadly, they do not understand that authentic organizations can never separate their values from their core mandate.

As I scroll through the list of approved organizations I am disheartened. Some churches and faith-based groups signed the attestation. Sure, they may have their reasons, but it certainly is not a courageous act to renounce one’s beliefs in order to receive funding from the government.

I can think of a prominent biblical character who did exactly that, only he renounced the faith for 30 pieces of silver.

(Geenen, 18, is a first-year communications and political science student at the University of Ottawa.)

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