A New Democrat MP now says he'll help the Christian organization he excoriated last week as a "fundamentalist group" to build an $11.7-million youth centre in downtown Winnipeg.
Winnipeg's city council voted 10-4 on Wednesday to contribute $4.2-million toward the non-profit organization Youth For Christ's $11.7-million plan to build a Youth Centre of Excellence.
The council decision arrived after 5½ hours of debate and often emotional presentations from dozens of opponents and proponents of the plan.
NDP MP Pat Martin had condemned public funding for the plan, equating the idea of giving government money to the group as "taxpayer-funded proselytization" and accusing Youth For Christ of targeting vulnerable kids with its religious agenda.
But in the wake of council's decision -- which allows the centre to access $3.2-million in federal infrastructure-stimulus funds-- Mr. Martin said he harbours no ill will toward Youth For Christ and wants to help it build a facility that will include a gym, skate park, fitness centre, classroom, climbing wall, dance studio and other amenities.
"Now that it's over, I'm going to do all I can to ensure it's a success," Mr. Martin said. "Anything happening in the inner city is better than nothing."
Read more: The National Post