Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Minister Kenney: watch what you say or your funding may be cut

Free speech...not so much: "Funds lost over hatred." Immigration Minister par excellence Jason Kenney is admitting that he has instituted arbitrary standards to be applied by his Immigration department officials to screen comments being made by groups who apply for funding:
Kenney said he has already asked department officials to weigh comments made by groups when evaluating funding applications, and the comments made by the Arab Federation president will affect its contribution when the current one expires in March 2010.
This is not only offensive to free speech principles, it is arbitrary governance and irrelevant to the department's core mandate. Minister Kenney should take a good hard look at his new policy and the impact it will have on immigrants who will suffer as a result:
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is poised to slash federal funding to Canada's largest Arabic group after its president called him a "professional whore" for supporting Israel.

In an exclusive interview with Sun Media from London, England, where he is to speak today at an international conference on anti-Semitism, Kenney said groups are free within legal bounds to say what they like. But groups whose leaders say intolerant or hateful things shouldn't get taxpayer funding.

"We should not be rewarding those who express views that are contrary to Canada's best liberal values of tolerance and mutual respect."

One of those groups, said Kenney, is the Canadian Arab Federation whose president Khaled Mouammar called him a "professional whore" after Kenney criticized the presence of Hezbollah and Hamas flags at anti-Israel rallies in Toronto.
The federation received a $447,297 contribution from Kenney's department to operate a settlement program in Toronto for two years, teaching new immigrants language and job searching skills.
Decisions on such programs should be made on the merits. Kenney's actions have brought his department's credibility directly into question.

(h/t Dawg, Big City Lib)