Our old friend Chris Selley keeps asking embarrassing questions from his perch at the National Post. This time it’s: How come Ezra Levant is so proud of the bold, courageous, makes-a-guy-proud-to-be-Conservative stance against anti-Semitism and anti-Israel-ism that Jason Kenney took by defunding an ecumenical group called Kairos — when Jason Kenney denies that the government’s decision to cut funding to Kairos had anything to do with its stance on Israel?
You can make an excellent case that church groups don’t need government funding for their assorted projects or that Kairos is lavishly over-subsidized. But Jason Kenney didn’t make that case when he bragged about his government’s refusal to fund it in Israel. Alternatively, you can make an eloquent case that Kairos’s stance on Israel disqualifies it from public subsidy. But Kenney now claims the government doesn’t believe that. It’s a bit of a tangled affair; Selley tells it better than I can, here, but I want to say that I agree both with his understanding of the facts and the conclusions he draws.
There’s no real downside to this affair for the Harper government. People who want Kairos lavishly funded are probably not numerous outside the organization’s own offices; the government’s decision to cut funding will probably find few detractors and plenty of fans. Ezra actually seems to have caught Kairos retroactively covering up some of the positions on Israel that seemed to be getting Kairos into trouble with the Conservatives. (UPDATE: This allegation is contested, in my opinion credibly, here.) But again, apparently Kairos needn’t bother, because Kenney now wants us to ignore the plain meaning of his Israel comments on Kairos. Apparently the group’s views on Israel had nothing to do with anything.
Again, the government’s funding decision probably won’t hurt it. The five-alarm gong show Kenney kicked off is a mere anecdote.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.