Yesterday in Parliament – April 11, 2019
House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, the third petition draws the attention of members to an event I was involved in last fall dealing with the deteriorating human rights circumstances in Turkey. It calls on the Government of Canada to increase high-level engagement with the Government of Turkey on human rights issues, including civil and political rights, minority rights and religious freedom.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Funding for Programs
Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Leader in the Senate.
Last week, during the state visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canada would continue to speak out in the most forceful way against movements like BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which targets Israel.
I appreciate those words, but I’m sure you agree that actions speak louder than words. It’s the actions of Prime Minister Trudeau’s Department of Global Affairs that are of concern here. Global Affairs Canada is providing $4.8 million for a project run by KAIROS Canada, titled Women of Courage. Close to $1 million of this will go to a grant to support the Palestinian organization Wi’am. Wi’am actively promotes BDS.
Senator Harder, Prime Minister Trudeau vows that Canada will speak out against BDS, meanwhile his government is funding an organization that promotes BDS. The Prime Minister’s words are one thing, his actions are another. Senator Harder, why is your government supporting an organization that promotes BDS and attacks our ally, Israel?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. I will have to take note of it and seek a more detailed response from the department. As the honourable senator will know the Government of Canada, both as an expression of the visit by the president and historically, has viewed its support for Israel as very key in its foreign policy.
Senator Frum: I think when you do your inquiry, Senator Harder, you may find the answer will be that Global Affairs will say they’ve instructed this organization not to use the Canadian funds for the purposes of BDS. However, I hope when you speak to Global Affairs you’ll ask them how it is that they think they can track money and when they give a grant they know which dollars are being used to support BDS and which dollars aren’t. Thank you.
Senator Harder: Yes.
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