Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Harper rejects HIV/AIDS funding proposals

The Globe and Mail:

Health Canada has turned down funding for an HIV/AIDS charity for fear it might result in advocacy – an indication of a growing tendency within the Conservative government to steer clear of groups pushing causes out of step with its policies.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, whose mission is to promote the human rights of people living with or at risk of contracting the virus, has received a significant portion of its funding from Ottawa over its 20-year existence.

But in this year’s round of funding applications, 16 of its 20 proposals were rebuffed. Fifteen of those were rejected citing an identical reason: “It was unclear from the details provided in the proposal whether the resource would be used for advocacy purposes, which is ineligible for funding,” the health agency wrote in an April e-mail to the group.

That came as a shock to the network’s executive director, Richard Elliott. But beyond the cuts and layoffs his organization now faces, he worries this policy of declaring anything related to “advocacy” ineligible for funding is broad and confusing, and will spur organizations to avoid any projects that might be seen as objectionable in order to secure the cash they need.

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