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Fantino defends Uganda grants policy against religious, anti-gay claims

International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino in his office on Parliament Hill, Dec. 3, 2012. Fantino’s office is scrambling to explain why two strongly partisan attacks against opposition parties were posted on the federal government’s website in recent days.

Fred Chartrand/The Globe and Mail

International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino is defending the way Canada hands out money for development projects abroad.

He's under fire in the House of Commons following a Canadian Press report that funding went to an evangelical group that has described homosexuality as a perversion.

Ontario-based Crossroads Christian Communications, which produces television programs, received $544,813 in federal money to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.

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Uganda has been shaken by virulent homophobia in the past and 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 described homosexuality as a perversion and a sin on its website, although the post disappeared after the group was contacted about it.

Fantino tells the Commons that projects are financed based on results, not religion.

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