Group led by John Baird's 'dear friend' gets $1 million grant despite sub-par bid

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley overrode the recommendations of her own department to approve a $1 million grant for an organization led by a close ally of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. What’s more, Baird personally spoke to Finley about the project, which was twice deemed sub-par by bureaucrats, according to the Globe and Mail.

From the Globe:

The funding request for the expansion of a Jewish community centre known as a Chabad was submitted by Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn of the Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch, who serves as the Canadian face of the international Hasidic outreach movement.

The Ottawa-based rabbi recently joined Mr. Baird on a tour of Israel. During that January visit, Mr. Baird repeatedly joked in his speeches that while he was not Jewish, he did have a rabbi.

More than 300 organizations applied for the grants, which were earmarked for improving accessibility. Bureaucrats then ranked the applications and submitted the top 25 to the minister for approval. Only those that scored 82/100 or better by the staffers made the initial cut. The Chabad bid, however, scored only 53/100. Nonetheless, the organization was still given $1 million of public money to spruce up its Markham headquarters.