Kenney and Arab Groups face off over funding
In a country where people can be haouled in front of a Human Rights Commission for saying this that others believe express hatred or contempt, it only seems logical that the government would deny funding to groups that express hatred or contempt.
Interestingly enough, some individuals have a problem with such a move.
Among them is Khaled Mouammar, who accused Kenney of being a "professional whore" for Israel.
Kenney recently identified the Canadian Arab Federation, a group in which Mouammar serves as President and the Canadian Islamic Congress as groups which promote hatred for Jews.
"There are organizations in Canada, as in Britain, that receive their share of media attention and public notoriety, but who at the same time as expressing hateful sentiments, expect to be treated as respectable interlocutors in the public discourse," Kenney explained. "These and other organizations are free within the confines of our law and consistent with our traditions of freedom of expression, to speak their mind, but they should not expect to receive resources from the state, support from taxpayers or any other form of official respect from the government or the organs of our state."
"I would encourage all other governments to take a similar approach to organizations that either excuse violence against Jews or express essentially anti-Semitic sentiments," Kenney continued.
"We do see the growth of a new anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitism predicated on the notion that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland," Kenney explained. "The argument is with those whose premise is that Israel itself is an abomination, and that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland. And in that sense anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."
Of course, what Kenney really should have said is that this particular brand of anti-Zionism is< anti-Semitism. It would be foolish to heap those who object to the conduct of the Israeli state in with those who believe that it has no right to exist in the first place.
For his own part, NDP Finance Critic Thomas Mulcair seems to agree with the principle behind the decision. "I agree that people shouldn't get money from the federal government if they say hurtful things about any group," Mulcair said.
However, one also has to keep in mind that organizations such as the Canadian Arab Federation often provide services to immigrants that aren't only valuable to themselves, but to society as a whole. In particular, Kenney's move would deny the CAF $447,297 for language training and assistance with job searches.
If the CAF is to be denied this funding, the federal government will have to take responsibility for providing those services.
But even then, the government providing such services direclty is infitely preferable to providing funding to groups that can be said to violate -- ironically groups that often seek to exploit -- Canada's hate speech laws.
Other bloggers writing on this topic:
Peace, Order and Good Government Eh? - "Be Nice to Jason Kenney. Or Else."
Yaya Canada - "Political Whore Kenney Won't Put Out"
Calgary Rants - "Excellent Work by MP Jason Kenney"