Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Canada: Conservative government to close down Rights and Democracy Agency
The Rights and Democracy agency has the job of monitoring human rights abroad and promoting democracy. The agency was actually created by another Conservative government in 1988. The Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird confirmed the agency would be closed down.
Baird noted:"For some time, the many challenges of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (also known as Rights and Democracy) have been well publicized," ."It is time to put these past challenges behind us and move forward."
The internal fights in the organization were fostered by appointments made by the same Conservative Harper government that now is closing the group down. In particular the Harper government goes after any group critical of Israel's human rights record.
A new chairman appointed by the Conservatives complained that organizations that had received grants were tied to terrorism. Employees revolted, said they had no confidence in the chair and asked him to resign. No need. Not being able to satisfactorily control the organization and after poisoning the atmosphere the Harper government will now put it out of its misery and move on.
In spite of not supporting euthanasia Harper think it is OK for government agencies. The Conservative government has cut the funding of other groups it does not like such as the Canadian Council for International Cooperation and KAIROS. For more see this article.