Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my great colleague from Milton.
The last Liberal member of Parliament said that he loves this program, that he has worked longer on this program than he has been a member of Parliament, and that he has been out there promoting this program. May I remind him that it was the Conservatives who were the Government of Canada two years ago? As a matter of fact, we were the Government of Canada for 10 years. At the time when he was promoting this program, he had no problem with it, but today we are debating this issue in the House.
This program has been very well accepted right across this country. As a member of Parliament for 20 years, I have used this program to ensure its objectives, as has been mentioned in the House. What is the primary objective? It is jobs for children and helping organizations when they need extra workers. That is the primary reason.
There are multiple organizations in this country, as is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Let us quote what the Prime Minister said, “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”. By the way, I said it before he did. We cannot choose which Canadian is right and which Canadian is wrong. This is the problem with the Canada summer jobs program.
For the first time in my riding, I have received letters that complain about what the government wants to do with this program. It is a very successful non-partisan program helping Canadian children and employers, and yet for the first time, under this government, we are now having a division on this great program.
Today, many Canadians are upset. As my colleague from Saskatchewan just said, she has received a lot of letters from people saying they have been denied. On the basis of what were they denied? They were denied on the basis of an idea that the Prime Minister had. It was his social agenda idea. Why is he imposing his social agenda on Canadians? All Canadians have the rights the charter gives them, faith-based or whatever. They are all entitled to Government of Canada programs, which should not be based upon the ideology of a leader or anyone. The government should enable every Canadian to access those programs. It is Canadians' right to access government programs.
Why are we changing this now? Everyone has said that this is a great program that has benefited everyone. We should not be debating this, but we are debating it here today because one person has a social agenda and wants this country to move in that direction. That is not going to happen, because Canadians are very concerned about their fundamental rights and whether this infringes upon them or not.
The fundamental point is that it is Canadians' right to access government programs. It is not the right of the government to choose winners and losers. Hon. members of Parliament, including me, have a history of how this program has worked so well for young people and for businesses.
Let me give an example from my riding. The Mustard Seed is a great organization that looks after homeless people. This is its mandate. However, under the current government, The Mustard Seed will not be able to apply. Is this not wrong? An organization is looking after 10,000 homeless, impoverished, and drug-addicted people, and the government would not give them money because of its social ideology. That is wrong.
Let me talk about another one, the New Canadian Friendship Centre in Calgary. It provides free classes and support for new Canadians, regardless of culture, faith, and gender. It does not discriminate. It is open to all newcomers. It does not matter what their faith or religion is, yet the government is discriminating against it. While the friendship centre is not discriminating against anybody, the government is discriminating against it by not approving its application on the basis that it does not meet the government's social agenda.
Let me remind the Liberals, when they talk about the Government of Canada, that this is not the Government of Canada but the Liberal government, because we were the Government of Canada two years ago, for 10 years, running this program. Let us be very clear. This is a Liberal agenda, not a Government of Canada agenda. The Liberals are pushing their own values onto people in Canada who may or may not agree, which should not matter.
These organizations are out there to provide services to all Canadians, as the last speaker said. He brought up the YMCA. I am very happy he talked about that. The YMCA is very good. So is The Mustard Seed society. So is the friendship centre. All of these organizations are there for the primary purpose of helping Canadians who need that service. The government has chosen to allow only those people who follow its social agenda to get Government of Canada money, which is fundamentally wrong. It is very interesting that the Liberals say they want to have them sign the Charter of Rights. The Charter of Rights also gives them the right to access this money. They are taking some organizations right away, and asking others to sign.
My colleague from Saskatchewan said that she has received multiple letters, as have many of my colleagues on this side, from people who used to get this money and are now being denied. Why are they being denied? Has their mandate to provide services to Canadians changed? No, it has not. The Liberals have changed the mandate of eligibility to meet their social agenda.
There is something fundamentally wrong with this system. It is fundamentally wrong that Canadians cannot access a Government of Canada program that should be open to everyone who can meet the criteria that were always there, without changing them, so that they can meet the objective of this program, which is providing services to Canadians. It is a bit much for the government to come here and for the Liberal members to stand up and talk about how great this program is, how nothing has happened, and try to defend it. When they try to defend it here, we can see that they are reading their points.
Let us talk about the basics. A program that has already been successful is now being changed. Now what do we have? We have a debate. Why did they bring this division? Was this division necessary for student summer jobs, for organizations that provide services? We do not need this division in politics here. The Liberal government, with its divisive politics, is sending the wrong message to all Canadians. On this side of the House, we will stand up and speak on what is right for all Canadians. We will not let the Liberal government get away with bringing its agenda into this.