CIDA Cuts KAIROS Funding: A Warning Call?
“I have no problem using CIDA money to undermine CIDA or promoting genuinely radical projects” (Jaggi Singh of CMAQ/Alternatives)
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has announced it is cutting some seven million dollars in funding to KAIROS. This organization states that it has âEcumenical Justiceâ as it goal and that it works âfor the earth and justice for its peopleâ It has been clear for years, however, the KAIROS has been slipping towards political advocacy as its primary goal, rather than assisting the poor or downtrodden. While advocacy and assistance can be linked, KAIROS had developed advocacy campaigns that were highly partisan in their nature.
Is this a warning call to other organizations that receive CIDA funding? Are there other organizations which have been penetrated and then used for partisan goals?
In the past, CIDA has been responsible for funding various projects that had politics rather than development as their goals. Some of these CIDA funded projects went so far off the rails as to be related to genocide and transnational terrorism. Even when warned that Canadian international aid money was being sent to projects of highly dubious objectives, CIDA continued to fund the projects without conducting a serious review of the projects. Perhaps the most egregious CIDA effort was sending money to Rwanda after it was clear that the money was being used to buy weapons. Despite the publicized killing of a Canadian priest in Rwanda for pointing out this fraudulent use of taxpayerâs money, CIDA still did not review the status of the projects. The genocide that followed was carried out, in part, with CIDA funding.
In addition to partially funding the genocide, CIDA also helped to fund al Qaeda when it was in its recovery phase in the mid-1990s. As with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, CIDA continued to fund highly doubtful projects involving Ahmed Said Khadr and Human Concern International long after the warning signs were clear. It was only after a journalist travelled to Pakistan and exposed the projects as fraud did CIDA undertake a serious review. The question must arise as to what other projects are being funded now that would cause outrage among Canadian taxpayers.
One of the most interesting projects currently being funded (CDN $2.5 million/year) is a Montreal based organization called âAlternativesâ which states that it is a welfare organization. This organization is also called âReseau d’Action et Communication pour le Develop” or the âAction and Communication Network for International Development.”
CIDA is intended to fund international development projects, so the question arises as to why the money is going to a Canadian based agency. The first answer appears to be that âAlternativesâ is assisting overseas organizations to educate themselves for self-improvement. On the surface, this would appear to be a reasonable plan of action.
So what is âAlternativesâ doing with the $2.5 million a year that they receive from CIDA? One annual program is the summer education camp. The 2008 summer camp which ran from 22 to 24 August 2008 is an interesting example. The event was held at the three star Camp Papillion in Saint-Alphonse de Rodriguez and featured â500 militantes et militants motivĂ©s”(500 motivated militants). This shows signs of growth, as the 2006 program only features “250 militants motivĂ©s.” The militants invited to these camps attended from countries such as Lebanon, Niger, Columbia, Brazil, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, âPalestineâ and Venezuela.
Over the years, the participants at various summer camps or âDays of International Solidarityâ have discussed topics such as resisting imperialism in Lebanon and assessing what Cuba should look like in 50 years. Perhaps the most interesting training session might have been the “La victoire du mouvement social du NĂ©pal” or the “Victory of the social movement in Nepal.” The “victory” being referred to is the 10 year long civil war started in 1996 by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) which resulted in a Maoist government being installed after the deaths of some 12,000 people. The Maoist Party had, as its goal, a “protracted armed struggle on the route to a new democratic revolution.” In other words, the party would use violence to install a Maoist style communist government. Those who attended the Alternatives camp were treated to a presentation which described a “Portrait of this victory and the next challenges of Nepal.” How many Canadian taxpayers would by happy to know they are funding a celebration of a Maoist revolution and civIl war?
Infiltrators will often use an activist organization for their own goals, rather than the stated goals of the organization when it was founded. It is far easier to take over a “good” organization and pervert its mission, rather than building an organization from the ground up which will have limited support due to its highly partisan political goals. Mr Jaggi Singh, a noted Canadian activist, is quite clear on how he views this process. While discussing the use of CIDA money to fund the CMAQ program of “Alternatives” he stated “I have no problem using CIDA money to undermine CIDA or promoting genuinely radical projects.” Mr Singh is at least honest about his intentions!
The “Alternatives” organization is being used for a number of goals which most taxpayers in Canada would probably find objectionable and would certainly run contrary to Canadian values. How many people on the board of “Alternatives” are supporting pure partisan goals rather than developmental goals?
It is arguable that this has been the fate of KAIROS, much as it was formerly the misfortune of Human Concern International to be penetrated by evil individuals such as Ahmed Said Khadr of al Qaeda fame. As such, it is clear that the funding cut to KAIROS can be seen as a warning to other organizations which have gone down the slippery slope of “political advocy.” This runs contrary to mainstream Canadian values. While it is no doubt their right to advocate their views, the question arises as to whether or not the Canadian taxpyer has to fund them.
Caveat lector: The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly personal, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.