KAIROS (the Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives) is a Toronto-based alliance of social justice coalitions. Within the past couple of days, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)--Bev Oda's department-- has cut all funding to KAIROS.
In his latest, Dennis Gruending speculates as to why:
Minister Oda did not communicate with KAIROS about its fate — she rarely communicates publicly with anyone about her portfolio except in the most controlled of circumstances. But the “trouble at the top” may well have had more to do with the work of KAIROS within Canada than with its overseas projects. KAIROS has questioned, on environmental and hence ethical grounds, the rapid development of the tar sands in Western Canada. KAIROS hosted a forum in Calgary in October 2008 and organized a delegation of Canadian church leaders to visit the tar sands in May 2009. The Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance, prior to their takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party, were beneficiaries of generous support from the oil and gas industry. The Harper Conservatives exist on similarly friendly terms with the carbon industry and will not hear of any proposal that would scale back rapid development – despite the environmental problems such development is causing. The implied criticism from KAIROS may have excited the ire of Conservatives at the top, even though most of the KAIROS budget is provided by the organization’s own donors and not by CIDA.
Just by co-incidence, within hours of defunding KAIROS which, among other things, helps women in the Congo who have been brutalized (often raped) by local militias, the Harper government indicated that it wanted an extra 1.7 mill set aside so that the PM can shoot video of him getting on and off military helicopters, and riding on navy vessels, and pass that off as news.