International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino’s newly announced direction for Canadian International Development Agengy is deeply troubling.
Aligning Canada’s development aid with extraction industries appears to undermine the whole purpose of aid, which is to assist others to achieve economic independence and self sufficiency. Diverting precious aid dollars to already profitable corporations that provide very little economic benefit beyond their shareholders, is cynical at best.
Canada has a long and proud tradition of making a positive contribution to the global community, especially in the areas of health. A chronically ill population will always function far below potential. If Minister Fantino’s intent is to help underperforming nations, Canada already has shown great success with TB-REACH and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and yet CIDA plans to severely cut funding for these programs starting next year.
Diverting funds from proven successful, lifesaving programs such as these is a direction that advocates for the world’s poor could never endorse. That this is the same government that quashed the proposed mining accountability act, which would have imposed a very minimal code of ethical conduct on Canadian mining companies operating in the developing world, makes me question the sincerity of CIDA’s new approach.
Is CIDA to become a shill for Canadian extraction industries? Aid to become a source of profit? If Mr. Fantino is really concerned about the world’s poor, funding for proven health programs like TB-REACH and The Global Fund must be restored.