The MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound says a number of organizations and businesses in the region are concerned about recent changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Conservative Larry Miller says the recent move by the Liberal government to add an attestation statement to the application process of the program is more alarming than first thought. The attestation statement requires applicants to vow to uphold certain values in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination in all forms -- such as on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Miller says businesses or organizations can not even submit an application if they don't agree to the attestation statement.
"It's totally wrong," Miller explains. "I believe it's in contravention of the Charter of Rights, of freedom of belief, freedom of thought."
The CSJ program provides wage subsidies to employers to create jobs for high school and post-secondary students.
Miller says it's a highly utilized program in the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound riding and worries students could be left without jobs in cases where organizations or businesses adhere to moral standards and refuse to attest to values they don't agree with.
"If you can't have freedom of thought or freedom of belief, then there is something seriously wrong in this country," Miller says. "I just think they've made a big mistake here and I've already had a number of organizations and businesses that have contacted me that are very, very upset about it."
Miller stresses government should leave partisan politics separate from public program and service delivery.
The 2018 application deadline for the Canada Summer Jobs program is Feb. 2.