National Post

Funding for leftist group to be cut
National Post

The Conservative government is set to slash millions of dollars in funding to Alternatives, a Montreal-based nongovernmental organization associated with a number of left-leaning causes and which has been critical of Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

Alternatives was founded in 1994 « to foster social justice, participatory democracy and equal relations between North and South, » according to its 2007-08 annual report. The report shows that it received $2.4-million from the Canadian International Development Agency and a further $1.4-million from other federal departments. Alternatives runs a number of programs, in Canada and abroad, including environmental, communications, peace promotion and « social justice » programs.

Ottawa is understood to be particularly unhappy about an education camp the NGO organized in August 2008. The event, at Saint-Alphonse de Rodriguez in Quebec, featured « 500 motivated militants » invited from countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, « Palestine » and Venezuela. Sources said the government is also concerned that Alternatives’ board includes supporters of Hezbollah and Hamas, such as Ali Mallah, vice-president of the Canadian Arab Federation.

Tom Quiggin, who has 20 years’ experience in the Canadian intelligence community and is now a board advisor for Global Brief magazine, said he has noted an increasing convergence between the hard left and supporters of organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been declared terrorist organizations by the Canadian government.