1) Military historian and acclaimed film maker Gwynne Dyer is asked by Harper's government to go to Cuba in 2007 to give a lecture for $3000 in airfare and hotel expenses.
2) Unbeknownst to Dyer, DFAIT pays for his expenses out of ProMart grant funding.
3) When the Cons decide to axe ProMart, they use Dyer as a public example of what is wrong with the program, referring to him as :
"a left-wing columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own," and
"not exactly the foot that most Canadians would want to see put forward."
Here is Gwynne Dyer's response :
Care to rewrite your bullshit editorial now, NaPo?
"When the Canadian government announced it was shutting down the PromArt cultural diplomacy program, it named me as one of the free-loaders who abuse the grant system - in my case, by going off to Cuba to misrepresent true Canadian values. The Conservative talking points said I am "a left-wing columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own," and your editorial The Arts Belong In Foreign Policy (Aug. 11) said "those grants never should have been approved, and the criteria should be tightened to prevent such abuses."
But, in fact, I was asked to go to Cuba in early 2007 by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Some embassies in Havana were bringing in experts to talk to groups of influential Cubans about how things work in free societies. Fidel Castro was on the way out, and the embassies were being creatively subversive. I talked about the media to young journalists, and about civil-military ties in a democracy to senior military people.
I didn't get paid for the work, but the Canadian embassy gave me $3,000 in cash to cover my travel costs. I never applied for a grant, and I never heard of PromArt until last week, but obviously some wily accountant at Foreign Affairs took the money for the Cuban project out of the wrong pocket. Stephen Harper's ministers just can't keep control of their departments."
Jennifer at Runesmith has great background on the ProMart program and wonders who is going to get fired for fucking up the talking points this badly.
Accidental Deliberations points out that the Cons appear to see all public resources as slush funds.
Cross-posted at Creekside
Update : HA HA HA HA
Meanwhile the crack(ed) editorial team at Western Standard stakes out the high moral ground for the Cons, just in case, you know, they had misplaced it :
Conservatives abandon White Man’s Burden and end funding for cultural imperialism
"Artificially injecting our culture into another nation like an imperial poison? No way.
Using millions of dirty petro-dollars taken from Alberta to displace the indigenous culture of a struggling developing nation? No way.
That’s not Canada. That’s Amerika.
Didn’t our Prime Minister just apologise to Canada’s aboriginal community for an earlier version of a White Man’s Burden program called Residential Schools?"
stop...stop...I can't stand it...must breathe...oh noes, there's more...
"In my judgment, these programs come dangerously close to promoting cultural imperialism. It's a good thing the Conservatives canceled these programs before Canada’s international reputation was tarnished.
PMO staffer Kory Teneycke, a brilliant and principled newish addition to Harper’s team..."