By Jonathon Van Maren
Now here’s a letter Justin Trudeau didn’t want to read: After his Liberal MPs came out ferociously last week to accuse those who would not sign off on the attestation of either being duped by Conservative misinformation or simply being too stupid to understand that their consciences should be perfectly okay with it, Chief Bernadette Sharpe of the Loon River First Nation wrote to Arnold Viersen, the Member of Parliament for Peace River-Westlock:
To MP Arnold Viersen:
Loon River First Nation is not submitting an application for the Canada Summer Jobs Grant 2018 in protest of the Canada Summer Jobs Application Agreement Section 12.0 EMPLOYER DECLARATIONS (I). It would be a futile exercise to complete the grant application when the Liberal Government will consider the application incomplete. The eligibility for this grant funding should not be restrictive and discriminatory based on values held by the applicant.
While we are in agreement with the Canada Charter of Human Rights and Freedom, the Canada Summer Jobs Section 12.0(i) imposes the Liberal government value of reproductive rights, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. In many aspects, these additions have nothing to do with providing supplementary funding for summer jobs for students. It is offensive to us that the implication of who we hire is contingent on those values when we strive to hire based on need and qualification.
As an Indigenous Nation that ascribes to religious values, the restriction or force infringes on our Equality Rights as per The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We hold to the values taught by our elders, and will not compromise for a few dollars.
Chief Bernadette Sharpe
Loon River, First Nation
As I mentioned last week, organizations right across the country are facing the same struggle and reaching the same conclusion. Desperately-needed community work will not be done this year right across the country, simply because Justin Trudeau and his Liberals refuse to remove their attestation requirement from the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Their attempts to deflect have failed, their attempts to alleviate or dismiss concerns have failed, and yet their hubris prevents them from simply admitting they made a mistake.
They can be assured that many Canadians will remember this in 2019.