Stephen Harper's firing range: A list of 87 organizations and people attacked in five years

| April 1, 2011

The Conservative government, or the Harper government as it insists upon being called, has either fallen or engineered its own defeat and the election is upon us. This is perhaps a good time to take stock of who the Harperites have spent their time attacking in the past several years. They have also lavished favour on their own, appointing them to be judges, to the Immigration Review Board, the CRTC or other federal agencies.

The list of organizations that have been shut down and cut back, and the individuals bullied, is a long one and we can expect it to grow if, as seems likely, Harper is reelected.

I have written extensively about some of these actions, including the government's attack on the ecumenical group KAIROS and the shameful treatment of the Rights and Democracy organization, but the following list, culled from online sources, is more comprehensive. 

Organizations/ watchdogs whose staff have been fired, forced out, publicly maligned, or who have resigned in protest:

• Canada Firearms Program (Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director General)

Canadian Wheat Board (Adrian Measner, President and CEO)

• Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen, chair)

• Foreign Affairs (Richard Colvin, diplomat)

• Military Police Complaints Commission (head, Peter Tinsley)

• Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (Yves Coté)

• Parliamentary Budget Officer (Kevin Page) (funding cut)

• RCMP Police Complaints Commission (Paul Kennedy, chair)

• Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development - Rémy Beauregard, President)

• Statistics Canada (Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister)

• Veterans Ombudsman (Col. Pat Stogran)

• Victims of Crime, Ombudsman (Steve Sullivan)

Community organizations, NGOs and research bodies reported to have been cut or defunded.

"Defunding" is the term used by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. In many instances, it is about turning down grant applications rather than cutting off funding midstream, but for organizations who rely on renewed program funding to support their work, and have done so for many years, it amounts to the same thing.

• Action travail des femmes

• Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto

• Alberta Network of Immigrant Women

• Alternatives (Quebec)

• Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale (AFEAS)

• Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre: Citizenship and Immigration Canada Cut or significantly reduced their principal funding -- approximately $471,000. Source: Globe and Mail.

• Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario): Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement. 

• Canadian Arab Federation

• Canadian Child Care Federation

• Canadian Council for International Cooperation

• Canadian Council on Learning

• Canadian Council on Social Development

• Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada

• Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance

• The Office of Democratic Governance, which channeled much of Canada's democracy funding, has been disbanded by CIDA.

• Canadian Labour Business Centre

• Canada Policy Research Networks

• Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

• Canada School of Public Service

• Canadian Teachers' Federation International program

• Canadian Volunteerism Initiative

• Centre de documentation sur l'éducation des adultes et la condition feminine

• Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

• Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)

• Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada

• Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Specialink

• Climate Action Network

• Community Access Program, internet access for communities at libraries, post offices, community centres

• Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)

• Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)

• Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)

• Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Democracy Council: A forum for discussion and collaboration among Canadian democracy promotion agencies. It has reportedly disappeared despite stated earlier commitments and interest from both government and NGOs to see it continue and even expand.

• Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit

• Folded into the Francophonie and Commonwealth division.

• Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Environment: Youth International Internship Program

• Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010)

• Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia

• First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

• First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program

• Forum of Federations

• Global Environmental Monitoring System

• HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs

• HRD Youth Employment Programs

• Hamilton's Settlement and Integration Services Organization (Ontario)

Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Source

• Immigrant settlement programs

• Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)

Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Source

• International Planned Parenthood Federation

• Kairos: Including Anglican Church of Canada, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Religious Conference, and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund.

• Law Reform Commission of Canada

• Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre

• Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency -- has received only a promise of "conditional funding IF it avoids any and all connection with abortion.

• MATCH International

• National association of Women and the Law (NAWL)

• Native Women's Association of Canada

• New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity

• Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

• Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)

• Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

• Pride Toronto

• Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec

• Riverdale Women's Centre in Toronto

• Sierra Club of BC

• Sisters in Spirit

• Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

• South Asian Women's Centre:  The Centre has lost $571,000 -- all of its federal funding -- which represents nearly 70 per cent of its overall budget. Source: Globe and Mail.

• Status of Women (mandate also changed to exclude "gender equality and political justice" and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying)

• Tropicana Community Services

• Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)

• Women's Innovative Justice Initiative -- Nova Scotia

• Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program

• York-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto

Since this story was first published, several commentators have suggested adding the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to the list.

Dennis Gruending is an Ottawa-based author and consultant and a former NDP Member of Parliament. This story first appeared on his blog, Pulpit & Politics.



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