It was one of a large number of cuts to federal programs, ones the Conservatives thought provided minimal value, which took place immediately after they took power. And it was one of the few cuts that persisted in coming up during interviews, media stories, and Question Period.
This episode might provide an interesting window into how Stephen Harper operates:
Cut the funding for dozens of "questionable" federal programs.
Wait for voter reaction.
Re-fund only those few programs that actually garner public outcry.
Net result: Less program spending, more room in the budget, minimal political impact.
The Tories did the same thing with the environment, and now are seen as being as environmentally friendly as Stephane Dion.