While Harper-appointed members of the board of Rights and Democracy spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on pointless “forensic audits,” suck up honoraria and hire each other on contract, the staff have struck a blow for the rights and democracy that the beleaguered agency once stood for.
With their union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, employees are helping to set up a project that will offer educational opportunities for indigenous children in Colombia affected by the on-going armed conflict there. And they have named it after Rémy M. Beauregard to honour the former president of R&D, who died one year ago after months of harassment.
Two months before he passed away, Beauregard visited Colombia, where rival armed forces have been forcibly recruiting indigenous girls and boys. No stranger to this practice, he had worked previously in Uganda, helping to reintegrate child soldiers there.
“Rémy Beauregard was a champion of human rights,” said John Gordon, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “This project will contribute to the human rights and social justice for which he worked so hard in Canada and around the world.”
The PSAC Social Justice Fund will provide up to $30,000 over the next three years, in grants and matching funds. The Rights & Democracy Local is making a contribution as well. Contributions from individuals will be matched by the Social Justice Fund up to a total of $5,000 per year for the next three years.
The National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Colombia (ONIC) will be administering the project.
“We are very proud that our union’s Social Justice Fund has agreed to spearhead this project,” says Mika Lévesque, President of the R&D PSAC Local.
Too bad, in my opinion at least, that these folks aren’t running the agency.