MP Scott Simms said he knew he would face consequences and the move cost him his job as chair of the Commons fisheries committee and its $11,900 salary
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Liberal MP Scott Simms does not regret voting with the Conservatives over a controversial change to the student summer jobs program — even though it ended up costing him his job as chair of the Commons fisheries committee.
“I knew what was coming,” the veteran Newfoundland MP said Thursday.
“So that’s the way it works, I guess, and I have no regrets.”
The Liberal government is now requiring organizations seeking federal funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program, which created nearly 69,000 temporary jobs last year, to attest to their respect for sexual and reproductive rights — including abortion — as well as other human rights.
Employment and Social Development Canada later clarified this was not meant to target beliefs or values, but still made it mandatory to check off a box on the application form confirming their agreement with the stipulation.
Many churches and other faith-based organizations said they were being forced to choose between their spiritual values and grants that helped them run summer camps, soup kitchens and other activities that had nothing to do with abortion.
Simms said he knew he would face consequences when he voted for a Conservative motion last month urging the Liberal government to allow groups engaged in “non-political, non-activist work” to access the federal jobs grant, even if they didn’t express respect for abortion rights.
He said he was told it would be a whipped vote — meaning Liberal MPs were to toe the party line — but that he stood in favour of the motion anyway, because he believed the Conservatives had crafted it in a straightforward way and that the Liberals had gone too far.
“This to me was a personal issue,” he said. “I just felt that it was an insensitive thing to do and we should have stepped back and worded it differently.”