Kenney cuts funding to Arab group

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney is following through on a threat he made last month to strip the Canadian Arab Federation of federal funding coming from his office for programs aimed at settling immigrants.

Jason Kenney

Kenney had publicly mused about whether or not his department would renew the CAF’s annual funding due to what he called its “promotion of anti-Semitism and terrorism.”

He told the The CJN Feb. 26 that Canada “takes a zero-tolerance approach to expressions of anti-Semitism in the public square.”

Last week, Kenney’s office confirmed it will not renew its two contracts with the CAF – a $2-million program that supports the group’s LINC (language instruction for newcomers to Canada) program, which ends this month, and another for $474,873 for a settlement program that runs until March 31, 2010.

CAFpresident Khaled Mouammar has said the non-renewal of funding will harm immigrants.

In a war of words last month,Mouammar accused Kenney of being a “professional whore” for his vocal support of Israel.

Kenney shrugged off the remark, telling The CJN, “I’ve been called much worse by much better people.”

He added: “But my point [in weighing whether to continue funding the CAF], is whether an organization … that distributes videos produced by Hamas and Islamic Jihad that glorifies terrorism [and] indoctrinates children into the cult of anti-Semitic hatred… is not an organization, in my opinion, that should be receiving taxpayer subsidies.”

A March 19 report in the National Post said Kenney is calling for a review of all federal public service grants and the withdrawal of federal support from groups that advocate hatred or terrorism.

“I think there is a tendency to be a little bit naive in Canada. We’re so self-congratulatory about the success of our model of pluralism and diversity that surely no one could really mean ill in Canada… We don’t necessarily all subscribe to Canadian values, and we should be willing to recognize those that don’t,” Kenney told an audience at the University of Toronto last week.

Alykhan Velshi, a spokesperson with Kenney’s department, confirmed to The CJN that Kenney had instructed his office to begin reviews for all its contracts.

When asked for a list of organizations  the minister intended to review, Velshi said there was none yet.

“It’s premature at this stage to name particular organizations, since the policy is to be applied generally, but I’m sure we’re all familiar with the organizations that receive taxpayer support on the one hand while at the same time promoting anti-Semitism, hatred and terrorism,” Velshi said.

“The minister has begun applying this criteria within his own department to organizations whose contribution agreements are up for renewal, buthe’s also working with other ministers on creating a government-wide policy.”