Fair representation


I am a person. So are you, presumably.

As a person, I like that my rights and freedoms are enshrined in the highest legal document this country has – the constitution.

That little piece of paper helps to protect us from overenthusiastic police officers. It protects us from the whims of the populace and its governments.

It protects us from ourselves.

In our last issue, Joseph Quigley wrote a story about a mailout from Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs office.

He wrote that the mailer said the Liberal government is imposing a “values test” to those seeking funding under the student employment program, and that applicants “must prove that they agree with the Liberal government’s ideological positions.”

Let’s again go over this so-called “values test.”

The Government of Canada’s website specifically says the organization getting the funding has to check a box stating: “Both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”

Note the words “core mandate.”

It means if an organization’s reason for existing is basically to try and take away any of these rights, they’re going to have to raise their own money to do it.

If an organization applying for this funding has a core mandate to take these rights away from me – or you – I do not want it getting my tax dollars.

I believe our government should go a step further and state that any non-profit, company or business applying for any government grant or tax break should make this attestation, as well.

As such, I believe it is a real stretch to call this a “values test,” especially in a government mailer – a mailer that was paid for by our tax dollars, by they way.

But as Stubbs’ assistant said, “There’s only so much information that would go out on them.”

I know it’s hard to put words out there and make sure they’re fair and accurate. I know because I manage the production of 24-48 tabloid-sized pages every single week.

I’m also tasked with putting as much into as few words as possible, and so I know it wouldn’t have been that hard to correct. It wouldn’t sound as scary if a fuller story were told, though.

Words are dangerous things.

But silence is even more so.

And so, this is one issue where I choose not to stay silent.


About Author

Allendria Brunjes

Allendria is the publisher of the Athabasca Advocate.