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Feds rejected agency’s?OK for Kairos funding

The Harper government ignored advice from its own civil servants when it ended funding to a church-based aid group last year, documents show.

The Harper government ignored advice from its own civil servants when it ended funding to a church-based aid group last year, documents show.

Kairos, representing 11 churches and religious groups, had received Canadian International Development Agency funding for its overseas projects for 35 years. In November last year, an agency official told the Toronto-based group its funding would not be renewed because its most recent proposal did not match CIDA priorities.

But a memo prepared two months earlier by ­CIDA for International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda shows public servants recommended giving the group more than $7 million over four years.

The amount included a four per cent increase in funding over previous years “to recognize Kairos’ strategic alignment with CIDA’s objectives,” says the document.

The memo, obtained through the Access to Information Act, includes endorsements from 20 CIDA specialists and Canadian officials posted abroad.

A representative from the Foreign Affairs Department in the Sudan said Kairos’ proposed work could help ensure that country’s oil wealth contributes to peace and equitable development.

“This work, actively supported, can be very useful,” diplomat Louis Guay wrote.

Some officials requested changes and clarifications to the proposal, but none indicated they didn’t support the projects.

The memo, approved by CIDA president Margaret Biggs, concludes with a recommendation “that you (the minister) sign below to indicate you approve a contribution of $7,098,758 over four years for the above program.”

The document was signed by Oda on Nov. 27, 2009, three days before Kairos learned its proposal was declined. But the word “NOT,” hand-written and in capital letters, was inserted so the statement reads in the negative.

 
 
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