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Larry-Miller-fullDear Editor,

I write to you today to update you and your readership on an issue that I wrote to you about last month. You will recall that I had recently expressed my concern that the federal government was politicizing the application process for the Canada Summer Jobs program by forcing employers to sign an "attestation" that they agree with certain "values" or adhere to the Government's ideology before funding would be released to them. Now that the application process is open, I have learned that the situation is much worse.

As I've said, when I learned of this issue I had thought that organizations would still have the ability to apply for funding but that once funds were approved they would be forced to sign the attestation. This was before the application process was open to the public. With the application process now open, I have seen for myself and have already heard from community organizations that, in fact, organizations that are unwilling to sign the attestation do not even have the ability to submit their application.

According to the Minister of Employment's office, the government is "committed to ensuring that youth job opportunities funded by the Government of Canada take place in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians." If this were truly the case, the government would not be punishing organizations that disagree with their ideology. It has been argued that this "attestation" simply ensures that organizations agree with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is simply not true. It goes beyond the scope of the Charter, and, I would argue, actually limits freedom of conscience, belief and expression – freedoms contained in the Charter. This is probably why the government is being taken to court for this change.

I have reviewed the list of approved Canada Summer Jobs funding in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for last year and it would appear as though there will be a number of organizations that could become unable to apply this year. This will result in major losses for youth employment in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound as a result of this political move.

The deadline for organizations to apply for funding is February 2nd, 2018. It is my hope that as this deadline approaches the government will back down from this absurd requirement and will allow these organizations to submit their applications so that young people in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and across Canada can find a summer job.

Sincerely, 

Larry Miller, MP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

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