Dosanjh advises agencies to keep their "activist edge"

One of the frustrations for reporters covering social service issues is that social service agencies are often unwilling to speak out against the government - in part, because they fear the consequences of doing so. But don't take our word for it. Last month, during a presentation about lobbying to First Call members, former premier and federal cabinet minister Ujjal Dosanjh advised them that "agencies often get government funding and then fall silent on advocacy issues, which is not acceptable. Never lose the activist edge." This, according to the meeting's minutes.

4 Comments

Sean, the quiet comes real simple: Not everybody is keen on giving money to groups like FirstCall that rarely praise the gov't. It's easy for Ujjal to tell them to go get cut up on some hill or field somewhere when he's not getting a subsidy from taxpayer$ to do operations any longer, it's a lot harder when FirstCall & other groups are needing government money while biting the tail of the dragon. Or something like that.

Not that I approve of partisan designation of grant funding, but like Dosanjh said taking unbalanced whacks at the gov't isn't appropriate. Better to just defend the program and explain the need for funding than go slay some dragons.

Just some punditry. A service I offer.

As usual, Josef K speaks from a place of utter ignorance and foolishness (which is understandable, since he doesn't actually even reside here, or actually utilize services in BC).

First Call receives NO government funding. They have been and will continue to be the most well informed, non-partisan evidence-based advocacy coalition in BC. They provide a forum where many of the silenced community organizations have a place to bring attention to the actions of the BC govt. They also bring in politicians and policy makers so they have an opportunity to get out of the govt. bubble and can hear what the real world impacts and consequences of what passes for the current govt's appalling and uninformed public policy.

If you actually read what Dosanjh said, it makes sense. If advocacy is muted just because it gets a grant, then it loses its edge. The silence is bought and that shouldn't happen. It is understandable that someone from across the line would not understand.

Well said Hal. Point taken. :-)

As far as BC Liberals... Rock, I'm not going to reply to somebody who is so undignified as to use a handle I cannot repeat. Thank you.

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