Just imagine for a second if Stephen Harper had suggested that funding from a federal program be contingent on the recipient organization signing a declaration about its beliefs. Or if Kellie Leitch had proposed a values test for the same purpose. The outcry would have been enormous.
Yet the current government has no problem effectively imposing a values test on anyone benefiting from the Canada Summer Jobs program. Most Canadians agree with a woman’s right to choose and the issue is unlikely to be revisited in Parliament. But that doesn’t mean everyone hiring summer students has to feel the same way.
Organizations should have to obey the law in Canada to receive federal money, but they shouldn’t have to agree with it. If a group fighting to change legislation is otherwise eligible for funding for summer jobs, it shouldn’t be denied on the basis of its values.
The prime minister once said a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Likewise, an employer is an employer is an employer. And even Canadian employers who don’t agree with the government should be allowed to access federal programs.