The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a peer review of Canada’s international aid programs on June 19. The review was complimentary of parts of Canada’s foreign aid service, such as the country’s ‘field presence’ in countries where aid is being delivered. The organization did have some issues, however, with the clarity and coherence of Canada’s aid plan.
Particularly, the review questioned a decision by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to partner with mining companies profitable corporations saying that CIDA has shown no rationale for working with these commercial interests. The agency says they are supporting economic growth and international trade in these countries.
The report also comments on the deteriorating relationship between the Canadian government and certain NGOs. The OECD says the relationship between the government and NGOs or civil society groups seems to have become ‘selective.’
The truth is that the Harper government is selective about the groups it works with, and has a history of cutting funding to groups that disagree with the Tory mandate. They also badmouth these groups and call them names.
The OECD suggests in this review that given the economic outlook of this country that which the Harper government is often bragging about Canada could afford to increase aid to countries in need. The Tories actually plan to cut aid funding by $389 million this year. They have also reduced the number of countries that receive aid from Canada a move the OECD actually notes as a good thing, saying more concentrated aid is better.
Brian Tomlinson, an aid analyst in Nova Scotia, told the Toronto Star the CIDA’s partnership branch, which has helped to distribute aid money in the past has been cut by 15 percent, and because of this:
The cuts to Canada’s aid funding comes as the Minister of International Development, Bev Oda, who is responsible for CIDA, is in the news for her ministerial spending habits. Perhaps CIDA and its Minister should be more transparent about where their priorities lie.
Photo Credit: Vince Alongi