Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda has admitted she ordered the modification of a memorandum by the Canadian International Development Agency to deny funding for church-based organization Kairos.
The two-page document recommending the approval of some 7.09 million Canadian dollars (USD7.03 million) for Kairos’ human rights activities was originally signed by two top CIDA officials in September 2009. But a handwritten “NOT” was inserted between the words “you” and “approve” on the memorandum’s last line, as Devex reported.
Oda previously said she did not know who added the word “not.”
But on Feb. 14, Oda told the House of Commons: “The ‘not’ was inserted at my direction.”
“… The CIDA officials did forward a document in which they sought approval of the recommendation for funding of the Kairos proposal. But ultimately the decision to provide funding was mine ― or, to not provide funding ― was mine as minister of international co-operation,” she was quoted by CBC News as saying.
“I was fully aware that my decision was not aligned with the recommendation of the department.”
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Oda’s retraction came just before the House foreign affairs committee voted to find the matter a point of privilege, according to CBC News.
“At no time have I stated that the decision for funding was that of the department,” Oda said. “I have repeatedly and clearly stated in response to questions in the House and at a committee, that the funding decision was mine.”
Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said the minister was contradicting her earlier remarks.
Oda previously said funding for Kairos has been cut because the group’s work no longer aligns with CIDA’s objectives.
“I think it is akin to fraud,” he said. “The government has misled us, misled Canadians … because they kept on saying, this is a decision of CIDA, [it] didn’t fit into their priorities.”
CIDA’s funding for Kairos was canceled last year.
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