Court Challenges Program eliminated, Status of Women chopped

Interim Staff

When the Harper Conservative government announced $1 billion in spending cuts in late September, special interest groups, their friends in the media and opposition politicians went ballistic. Opposition leader and militant homosexual rights advocate Bill Graham attacked the reductions as “vindictive, mean-spirited cuts targeted at the weak, the needy, the vulnerable and the marginalized in Canada.”

Graham’s hysterics aside, in actual fact, many of the cuts announced couldn’t have affected a more affluent and influential group of elites. Among the programs on the chopping block were the Court Challenges Program (CCP), the Law Commission of Canada (LCC), the Status of Women department with its unfortunate acronym (SOW) and “medical” marijuana research.

These programs funded wealthy left-wing lawyers, academics, medical researchers and numerous Ottawa-based lobby groups in their quest to revolutionize Canadian society. Among the causes taxpayers funded through these programs were efforts to promote state-run daycare, legalize homosexual marriage and adoption, promote abortion, decriminalize marijuana, normalize polygamy and give prisoners the vote.

The Court Challenges Program, with its $5.6 million annual budget, was probably the most societally destructive of the axed programs. A Trudeau-era project that paid the legal bills of activists to challenge the legality of various laws, the CCP has played a decisive role in forcing extremist agendas before Canadian courts. In fact, the program actually took the leading role in organizing and forcing the homosexual “marriage” agenda in front of the courts.

That the CCP was cut came as little surprise to anyone. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie, literally wrote the book Friends of the Court, on the nefarious influence of the program on the outcomes of Supreme Court cases. And, Harper himself was opposed by the CCP when it funded an intervenor in a court case he launched as president of the National Citizens Coalition.

While liberal elites were ranting about the cuts, Conservative government members and their supporters, regardless of their social policy perspectives, were quick to back them.  As the socially conservative finance minister, Jim Flaherty, put it, the spending reductions reflect the priorities of “working families. Does the money that we spend as a government reflect the priorities that Canadian families have for their federal government? Those were the baselines that we looked at.”

Instead of wasting money on social engineering, Flaherty said, “We are investing more resources in programs that are important to ordinary Canadians, such as child care and safer streets. We won’t apologize for our capacity to say no to bad ideas.”

High-profile social conservative MP Maurice Vellacott of Saskatoon had long been an advocate of cutting funding to the SOW department. Vellacott pummelled the Liberal government last year for SOW’s half-million dollars in grants to pro-prostitution activists and their efforts to decriminalize the exploitative trade in Canada.

Ironically, the most outspoken homosexual rights advocate within the Conservative ranks, Treasury Board president John Baird, also gave his strong endorsement to the cuts. Baird agreed that Canadians want the government to focus limited tax dollars on “priority areas” such as healthcare, fighting crime and more tax cuts. And, despite its central role in forcing homosexual “marriage” on Canadians, Baird took special aim at the Court Challenges Program, saying it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to “subsidize lawyers to challenge the government’s own laws in court.”

Baird’s perspective – that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing the activists promoting a cause he supports – is due to his libertarian philosophy. Libertarians believe in severely limited government that spends on only the bare essentials, such as national defence. As such, libertarians, who are often socially liberal, regularly find common cause with social conservatives in efforts to dismantle activist state programs.

John Williamson, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, was quick to support the Conservative government’s new spending restraint. He said, “I don’t see why taxpayers should be funding advocates for daycare. It’s a political decision and each group should be out raising its own money.”

Williamson estimates there is much more cutting to do. “There’s approximately $6 billion to $8 billion dollars that goes to fund interest groups in this country and I think what we saw yesterday was just a drop in the bucket,” he said the day after the funding cuts were announced.

Indeed, the cuts thus far appear to be only the tip of the iceberg. For instance, Status of Women will continue on for now as an $18 million department, instead of a $23 million department.

Nevertheless, groups such as REAL Women, which does not qualify for grants because its pro-family ideology is at odds with SOW’s extremist agenda, feel the cuts help level the political playing field for advocacy organizations. REAL Women vice-president Gwen Landolt says, “This is a good start, and we hope that the Status of Women will eventually be eliminated entirely, since it does not represent ‘women,’ but only represents the ideology of feminists.”