What colour is the sky in Justin Trudeau’s world?
The prime minister who cut summer job grants from groups that disagree with him on abortion is defending funding a summer job for the Dogwood Initiative that is specifically about protesting and stopping the Trans Mountain pipeline. Asked by the Conservatives why he would do that, the PM cited free speech.
When Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre asked about a specific charity in his riding, Wauposs Farm, a Christian charity that gives vacation opportunities on a farm for poor, inner-city families, the PM said groups that don’t support The Charter, don’t deserve money.
You can watch the exchange here.
Full disclosure, I have a history with Waupoos. My parish, my Knights of Columbus council, my family, have all supported Waupoos in the past. I’ve been a volunteer host and helped with renovations on the grounds, my oldest son spent time volunteering there in the summer a couple of years ago.
This is a charity that doesn’t ask you to agree with them, doesn’t force their views on people, they simply take families that can’t afford to get away in the summer, that can’t afford to send their kids to camp and give them a week or weekend on a farm in the fresh air filled with opportunities to swim, play outdoors, get in touch with nature.
I remember one kid getting out the van that had been sent to pick his family up, because many don’t have cars, and the kid looked out wide eyed and amazed and said he had never seen so many trees, so much nature. He and his family lived in community housing in the middle of Ottawa.
This was his great summer get away.
Waupoos has been getting summer job grants to hire four summer students for years now under successive governments. They fundraise for the rest and rely on a steady stream of volunteers. The only reason they can’t get the summer job grant this year is that they could not sign off on the “attestation” that they agreed with abortion.
Waupoos is tightly connected to the Catholic Church, that is their founding. They serve all but the Church is their root and as such, they could not in good conscience sign that attestation.
So they don’t get the summer jobs grant.
But Dogwood Initiative, a radical environmental group that wants to shut down the oilsands, stop all pipelines, including the Trans Mountain pipeline, they get the money.
The Trudeau government says they are completely committed to getting the Trans Mountain Pipeline built. So why fund people to protest it?
Well according to Trudeau, it is all about The Charter!
He points to free speech, which is in The Charter, to defend funding Dogwood and he points to “women’s reproductive health” which he claims is in The Charter but is not, to defend not funding Waupoos.
It has been a crock from the beginning that Trudeau has cited The Charter for stopping the funding of groups opposed to abortion. He wants people to believe that there is some real right to an abortion in The Charter or that the Supreme Court has found one. Both would be false. That might be the case in the United States, and Trudeau is aping American language here, but this is not the case in Canada.
What is in The Charter is freedom of conscience and it is due to their conscience that the good people running Waupoos could not sign the attestation that they support abortion. Trudeau has done a good job of painting everyone that disagrees with him on abortion as an evil knuckle dragger and most in the media seem to run with that.
But how does stopping Waupoos from hiring extra lifeguards for their pool or an extra camp counselor for their summer program, help anyone? It doesn’t but it does hurt those kids from the inner-city that won’t get a vacation this year or won’t have as rich an experience. It will hurt the student that won’t get that early job experience.
By all means, fund the Dogwood Initiative, let them protest pipelines, but let’s also fund groups like Waupoos. The Harper Conservatives funded both.
In Trudeau’s world though, you only get government money if you agree with him, so what does that tell you about his real position on pipelines.