On Parliament Hill

Manitoba Hit Hard in Canada Summer Jobs Fiasco

  • Ted Falk, Author
  • Member of Parliament, Provencher

Last week, in response to my request from over six weeks earlier, the Liberal Government finally released details outlining the impact on Manitoba from their “Liberal values test” within the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The numbers revealed that 101 community and faith-based organizations in Manitoba were unable to participate in the Canada Summer Jobs program because of the Liberal government’s new discriminatory attestation requirement. This figure makes up part of the 1,559 applications that were denied over the attestation nationwide.

The government’s response reads: “In Manitoba, 101 applications were deemed ineligible on the basis of submitting an incomplete application in relation to the attestation. The category the Department uses to track ineligibility in relation to the attestation does not solely track failure to sign the attestation, but also includes modified and removed attestations.”

What we see from these numbers is that, at a minimum, 101 summer jobs that may have been created for students in our communities across Manitoba will not exist this summer. And since each individual applicant can request funding for several positions, the number of lost opportunities for Manitoba’s youth is likely much more significant.

The numbers here in Provencher show that 23 of the 121 applications submitted, almost 20%, have been rejected this year due to the attestation requirement. In addition, and not included in these numbers, are numerous organizations in Provencher that completed the application online, as in previous years, but were not able in good conscience to click the attestation box. These groups or individuals, decided not to proceed further with the paper application and simply abandoned the process altogether.

It is extremely inappropriate for a government – any government – to demand conformity to their beliefs as a condition of accessing funding. The right to freedom of belief and opinion is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Trudeau Liberals are failing to recognize that they’re violating the most fundamental principle of the Charter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already indicated that he would like to see similar attestations for other government funding and we’ve already seen it occur in the Canada Service Corps Program. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals must take a hard look at the dangerous direction they are taking our country – and the question that Canadians must ask themselves is; where does it end?