International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino is defending the Conservative government's decision to provide funding to an Ontario evangelical group that has described homosexuality as a perversion and a sin.
The Canadian International Development Agency provides money for aid projects abroad on the basis of results, not religion, Fantino said Monday as he came under opposition fire in the House of Commons.
The Canadian Press reported Sunday that Crossroads Christian Communications, a group that produces television programs, received $544,813 in federal money to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.
"We fund results-based projects, not organizations," Fantino said. "Projects are delivered without religious content, including this particular project."
A spokeswoman for Fantino added: "The Government of Canada has funded projects by this organization since 1999."
New Democrat MP Helene Laverdiere said Fantino's office has become a "black hole" for aid proposals, with many simply disappearing, while those that do get funding don't align with Canadian values.
"Those that are funded are increasingly out of step with Canadians," she said.
"How did Christian Crossroads, an anti-gay organization, get sign-off from the minister to operate in a country which Canada has strongly criticized for persecution of its gay citizens?"
Uganda has been shaken by virulent homophobia in the past; Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned plans for an anti-gay bill there that could potentially include the death penalty for homosexuals..
Crossroads recently listed homosexuality as a perversion and a sin on its website, although the post disappeared after questions were asked about it.