Conservatives slam Liberals on harm caused by attestation requirement for jobs program; Liberals deny charges (update)

JOHN Barlow, Conservative Critic for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Ted Falk, Deputy Critic for Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, and Garnett Genuis, Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs, on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the government’s decision to suspend their attestation requirement for the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
They said: “Yesterday, after backlash from Canadians across the country, and pressure from the Conservative Opposition, the Trudeau government announced that they would be suspending their attestation requirement for the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
“As a result of the Liberals values test, more than 1,500 Canada Summer Jobs applications were rejected in 2018, up from 126 rejections in 2017. Hundreds of other organizations withdrew their applications or did not apply at all due to their inability to sign the attestation.”
They noted: “Justin Trudeau’s values test has no place in a tolerant, multicultural society such as Canada. Organizations should not have to agree with the ideological positions of the Liberal Party to get government funding.
“The withdrawal of the Liberals’ attestation is an admission they were wrong, and a desperate attempt at damage control for the Prime Minister heading into an election year. Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted to back away from basing funding decisions on whether or not you hold a certain belief.”
They said that the Conservatives will remain vigilant and consult with the charitable sector to ascertain the impacts of these changes while continuing to hold Trudeau to account when it comes to the Liberal values test.
They added: “Justin Trudeau must immediately apologize for targeting the personal beliefs of individuals who run organizations that provide much needed services to Canadians and commit to fully and permanently revoking this values test.”
Patty Hajdu

REACTING to these allegations, Véronique Simard, Press Secretary to Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, emailed the following to The VOICE:

“The Canada Summer Jobs program is about giving young people the good quality opportunities and experience they need to succeed in the job market. Unlike the Harper Conservatives who cut millions in funding to critical youth programs, our government is always looking for ways to better deliver our services for young Canadians, including Canada Summer Jobs. Since taking office, we have nearly doubled the opportunities for youth under this program.
“We have listened to Canadians. Based on feedback, the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs program will be more accessible to youth and even easier to apply for employers.
“Funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program must not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada. We heard that the language in the attestation sometimes led to organizations who would be eligible not applying. We’ve changed the attestation and clarified eligibility criteria and will be encouraging employers to use the online application system to simplify the application process. We want to be very clear that this isn’t about beliefs, but rather about ensuring the projects and activities don’t undermine or restrict the legal rights of Canadians.”