Trudeau promises ‘comprehensive review’ of funding for anti-racism groups after consultant tweets – National | PKBNEWS

The federal government is conducting a “comprehensive review” of funding for an anti-racism group whose lead consultant sent out a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

The government has halted all funding for the Community Media Advocacy Center and is putting procedures in place “to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he told a news conference.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization which has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.

Last week, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen, who was also at the press conference, cut $133,000 in government funding from the Community Media Advocacy Center and suspended an anti-racism project he was overseeing after tweets “ reprehensible and despicable” published by its principal consultant, Laith Marouf, came to light.

Trudeau’s comments come as other previous funding for the organization is reviewed.

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Ottawa focuses funding for anti-racism project on consultant’s ‘despicable’ tweets

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said this week he wants funds given to CMAC through the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2018 to be recovered.

He said an application for a $2,882 CMAC grant under the program, which provides work experience for people between the ages of 15 and 30 and is run by Employment and Social Development Canada, was considered at the time by his constituency office in Ville-Marie, Quebec.

CMAC was approved to receive this amount, but ultimately only got $795, according to a spokesperson for Marci Ien, Minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth, who publicly launched the scheme. This year.

“Not a penny of government money should go to organizations that hold anti-Semitic views,” Miller said on Twitter. He said he had never met Marouf, whose opinions he called “despicable”.

A spokeswoman for Miller’s federal department said “clearly, this organization should not be receiving additional funding.”

“After the funding was awarded, Laith Marouf made anti-Semitic comments that were objectionable and inconsistent with the objectives of the Canada Summer Jobs program,” Miller’s office added.

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Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization appreciated Miller’s “clear and unambiguous statement regarding the importance that government funding not go to groups harboring and espousing anti-Semitic views.” .

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“We call on relevant ministries to be transparent and provide details of their investigations into the systemic failures that led to this inappropriate funding in a timely manner,” he added.

Opposition MPs are calling for a full audit of the funding provided to the CMAC by government departments and through federal programs, including for its participation in proceedings conducted by Canada’s federal broadcast regulator.

The CMAC describes itself on its website as a non-profit organization supporting “self-determination for Indigenous, racialized, and disabled peoples in media through research, relationship building, advocacy, and learning.”

The Twitter account of Marouf, a consultant for the organization, is private. But a screenshot posted online shows a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet read: “You all know those loud-mouthed human excrement bags aka Jewish white supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they came from, they will be back to being whispered bitches of (their) Christian/secular white supremacist masters.

Stephen Ellis, a lawyer for Marouf, distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists'” and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf harbors “no animosity toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” Ellis said in an email.

“While not the most astutely worded, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government collaborating with it,” Ellis said.

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Feds take action against ‘disturbing’ tweets from anti-racism project consultant

Public records show that CMAC has received approximately $500,000 in funding since 2016 to act as a public interest group in proceedings conducted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The money came from the Broadcast Participation Fund, an independent body set up by the CRTC to pay for the participation of public interest groups in CRTC business.

In 2021, the CMAC also participated in the CRTC’s consultations on regulations amending accessibility reporting requirements for broadcasters and telecommunications companies.

According to publicly available documents detailing the payments, Marouf and his wife, Gretchen King, whose name also appears in documents filed by CMAC, were both paid for participating in the proceedings.

They were paid with money from a deferral account held by Bell, which the company agreed to have the CRTC distribute on its behalf to public interest groups. Bell declined a request for comment.

CMAC did not respond to requests for comment.

But Ellis, Marouf’s lawyer, said the center’s work had been invaluable and contributed greatly to the proceedings.

The lawyer said what “is very clear from the CMAC record and the CRTC decision is that without the efforts of the CMAC, Indigenous, racialized and women with disabilities groups would have been absent from the proceedings to rewrite CRTC policies to comply with the Accessible Canada Act. and its clauses reaffirming the intersectionality of oppressions.

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NDP Heritage Critic Peter Julian calls on Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and CRTC officials to appear before the House of Commons Heritage Committee when Parliament returns to discuss an apparent lack of “due diligence” before paying the CMAC.

“Obviously there was no scrutiny at all, and that raises a lot of troubling questions,” he said.

John Nater, the Conservative critic for Canadian heritage, also said the minister should answer questions before the committee. “We think it’s imperative that the minister provide answers to the committee and explain how this could have happened.”

Tory MP Melissa Lantsman said she would present a petition from her constituents to the House of Commons calling for a public inquiry. She said an independent body should review all of CMAC’s historic funding.

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She criticized Rodriguez for not speaking out about the tweets. “The most vile thing about it is the silence,” she said.

Rodriguez declined to comment.

Tory MP Dan Albas, who sits on the House of Commons finance committee, said the government needed to look at all CMAC funding.

“There’s been radio silence about what they’re going to do to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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