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Canadian Government Cuts Justice Funding, Church Members Asked to Contact MPs

Canadian Christian Reformed Church members are being asked to contact their Members of Parliament to protest a recent government decision to cut funding to KAIROS.

KAIROS is an ecumenical justice organization that the CRC has been a member of for many years. Together with several other denominations, the CRC, through KAIROS, has actively worked for social justice in the areas of aboriginal rights, human rights, refugees at home and abroad, and AIDS/HIV initiatives.

KAIROS has previously received grants through the government’s Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), but in early December the government announced without warning that funding for work from 2009-2013 has been canceled.

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC-Canada), and the CRC’s Committee for Contact with the Government in Canada (CCG) are both asking church members to make their voices heard on this matter.

A letter sent to all Canadian CRC pastors from Rev. Bruce Adema, the CRC’s director of Canadian Ministries, and Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, director of CRWRC-Canada, reports that the government’s decision puts the work in more than 20 Southern Hemisphere countries at risk.

“We ask all CRC communities to pray and work on this issue,” the letter says. “Contact your MP, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and Margaret Biggs, President of CIDA, to express grave concern about this decision. Emphasize the impact of this decision for global partners and KAIROS’ work in Canada. Ask them to call on CIDA to reverse this decision.”

Contact information:

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca
  • Minister Bev Oda: oda.b@parl.gc.ca
  • Margaret Biggs: info@acdi-cida.gc.ca

For more information, contact:

  • Mike Hogeterp: mhogeterp@crcna.org
  • Ida Kaastra Mutoigo: imutoigo@crcna.org
  • Rev. Bruce Adema: bruceadema@crcna.org

Or visit the KAIROS website at http://kairoscanada.org.

For the complete text of the letter sent to the churches, see below:

December 4, 2009

Dear Pastor,

Christian Reformed churches in Canada have been active participants in ecumenical justice work for over 30 years. We have appreciated the leadership provided by KAIROS – Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives – and its precursor organizations for this work in Canada and around the world.

On November 30, KAIROS was unexpectedly informed that their CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) project proposal for 2009-2013 was rejected. This decision puts the work of over 20 Southern partner organizations, representing hundreds of communities and thousands of people, at serious risk. KAIROS supports partners in countries such as Sudan, the Congo, the Philippines, and Colombia who face extreme human rights and humanitarian crises as well as political repression. Many of these overseas partners risk their lives for the work that they do. KAIROS’ accompaniment, advocacy and education work with partners has saved lives.

KAIROS submitted this proposal to CIDA in March 2009 and was assured throughout the process that they could expect a favorable outcome. This surprise decision on the grant was communicated to KAIROS in a way that allowed for no contingency planning or clear discussion about the reasons.

The CRC in Canada and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee are concerned about the weakness of communication in this process. To this point we have enjoyed excellent partnership and productive communications with CIDA. We pray that this will continue for CRWRC, that it will be repaired for KAIROS, and that other humanitarian and justice organizations who rely on CIDA’s support will be able to continue in their work for justice.

The CRC in Canada and CRWRC are working with KAIROS and elected officials for the reversal of this decision. We ask all CRC communities to pray and work on this issue as well. Contact your MP, Prime Minster Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca), Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation (oda.b@parl.gc.ca), and Margaret Biggs, President of CIDA (info@acdi-cida.gc.ca), to:

  • Express grave concern about this decision.
  • Ask that CIDA restore its long-standing relationship with KAIROS.
  • Emphasize the impact of this decision for global partners and KAIROS’ work in Canada.
  • Ask them to call on CIDA to reverse this decision.

In peace and justice,

Rev. Bruce AdemaDirector of Canadian Ministries

Ida Kaastra MutoigoDirector of CRWRC-Canada


About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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