Recently, the federal Liberal government made an announcement it's backing off the requirements for Canadian organizations to outline their core values in order to see whether or not they will receive federal summer job funding. Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen says 1,500 applications were rejected while the requirement was in effect.
"This was something I heard from hundreds and hundreds of Canadians about," explains Bergen. "And as Conservatives, we were obviously outraged. We don't believe that Trudeau's value test has any place in a society like Canada where we have freedom of belief and freedom of conscience. Now, recently the Liberals have announced that they were going to revamp the criteria."
Before this announcement, Bergen notes money would only come to groups who qualified for the funding if they agreed with the Liberals about controversial issues regarding abortion and same-sex issues.
"They would have to tell the Liberals that they aligned their own personal beliefs with his personal beliefs," continues Bergen. "And, of course, people were outraged by that."
She adds since the Liberals announced they will no longer ask about an organization's core beliefs, the Conservatives feel this is highly suspicious.
"It looks to us like, because we are heading into an election year, the Liberals are afraid of a backlash," notes Bergen. "So, although it's good this attestation won't be attached, it looks like a bit of opportunism."
Bergen says if Trudeau will unreservedly apologize, and tell Canadians they are entitled to their own beliefs, and admit he did wrong, that would go a long way. She says this makes her feel like it's a bit of an election gimmick. Bergen notes she's seen Trudeau do this type of thing before, and the way in which they defended their actions and pushed this policy through for the last year, while so many good organizations were denied summer jobs funding, shows us that Trudeau has a hard time with not everyone agreeing with him on these issues.
She adds she's glad they back-peddled on this, but if they come up with another majority mandate, what else will they try to attach a values test to? Bergen asks if it will be CRA charitable tax receipts, or other government programs and grants they will try to attach the test to. She notes we cannot know, seeing as Trudeau has not declared he was wrong in doing this. Bergen says he's just trying to get the heat off before election time, as there was a lot of heat and pressure, along with the government being sued because of this issue.