We may never know why Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda selected the KAIROS application out of a pile of applications CIDA had approved and reversed the decision by scribbling an uninitialled “NOT” in the pertinent sentence of the decision. Does it lie in the list of organizations that coordinate ecological and human rights efforts through KAIROS, i.e. who is or isn’t on this list?
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Christian Reformed Church in North America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
The United Church of Canada
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Canadian Religious Conference
The Mennonite Central Committee of Canada
The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
Or is it the mandate itself?
“The 2009-2013 proposal was developed within two priority sectors of CIDA: promoting good governance (human rights) and advancing ecological sustainability (reducing the impact of climate change and addressing land degradation). It was approved at every level of CIDA before being declined on November 30” (MCC News Release written by Peter Heidebrecht: http://ottawa.mcc.org/urgent-action-kairos.)
Nor will we know why the process used to terminate the relationship between CIDA and KAIROS was so embarrassing to the government that Oda lied about it to a parliamentary committee, or why the pressure built up to the point where the government decided that the best way out was to tell the truth (sort of) and at least get the brownie points for confession.
The meat of the question is not the “not.” The nub is the work of CIDA, which is the taxpayers’ arm for allotting federal money to worthwhile development projects in have-not countries, particularly whether or not KAIROS is a reasonable organization for doing such work, and whether or not it merits the right to spend taxpayer dollars in fulfilling its mandate. CIDA believes it is; Bev Oda thinks it isn’t.
We taxpayers have a right to know why it isn’t—we are, after all putting dollars into its member organizations on the understanding that they and their human rights/ecology umbrella are doing good work. If Oda knows something that we don’t know that makes KAIROS ineligible for our confidence, she needs to tell us.
I have a suspicion that it goes to an ideological viewpoint that might be damaging to electability if it were to be expressed publicly. I’ve looked at KAIROS with its mandate in mind, and I can’t find a reason to separate it from other organizations receiving CIDA funding. If you want to see more on this, take a quick look at http://www.kairoscanada.org/en/get-involved/cida-funding-cuts/support-from-the-churches/, or http://ca.news.yahoo.com/tory-explanation-mystery-not-leaves-opposition-scratching-heads-20110214-150432-944.html, or http://www.kairoscanada.org/en/.