Critics are calling upon the government to explain millions of dollars in unused funds that have been allocated to multiculturalism programs across the country.
Since 2007 approximately $5 million per year has been unused by the Department of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, with only about 60 percent of allocated funds for multiculturalism program grants being spent in 2010-2011.
The situation has critics concerned, arguing that the lack of money being spent in general, and the lack of federal government grants in particular, reflect a shift in priorities for the administration. Instead of giving money to more of the 567 eligible projects, the review board recommended only 39.
However, for its part the government says that the unspent funds reflect high expectations for proposals and a more responsible attitude toward spending.
“Only those projects that fulfil [sic] all of the rigorous program criteria are approved for funding,” said a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “These criteria are in place to ensure that funded projects provide beneficial services that are in line with the program’s objectives, and provide good value for taxpayer money.”
However immigrant and cultural advocates argue that the program objectives seem to be tightening too much in recent years. Though significant funding is still pouring into re-settlement services, the importance of multiculturalism programs extends beyond the immigrant community. These programs help to determine how Canadians think about themselves and how they see and treat newcomers to this country.
Source: Ottawa Citizen