The Harper government weathered a storm when it cut funding to long-standing foreign-aid groups, but is now facing more controversy over its decision to launch development projects in partnership with mining firms.
The Canadian International Development Agency has established three foreign-aid pilot projects in Africa and South America with large mining corporations, as part of a plan to ensure that foreign aid also fuels economic growth and international trade at home.
Federal officials said the policy shift at CIDA is co-ordinated with efforts by International Trade and Natural Resources to encourage the growth of Canadian firms abroad. Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined the shift in 2007, his second year in power, when he met with officials from Barrick Gold during a trip to Tanzania and said the government wanted “to assist in building our investments here.”
Ms. [Bev] Oda[, International Co-Operation Minister,] has pushed for greater links between NGOs and mining firms, announcing $26-million in projects last fall. These included partnerships with Barrick Gold, IAMGOLD and Rio Tinto Alcan. On Dec. 23, CIDA announced a $4.5-million project in Ghana, Mali and Senegal in partnership with Lundin for Africa, which is the philanthropic arm of mining giant Lundin Group of Companies.
More signs of the direction of our government where the economy is king and human rights and environmental concerns take a back seat.
First of all, thank you, Mr. Harper, for so conveniently providing me fodder for the next paper I am writing on human rights and the need for governmental support for ethical outsourcing when big companies move to the Global South.
I was feeling uncomfortable with my lack of Canadian focus.
Second of all, Foreign Aid should be without self-interest. It should be, simply, support of countries which are better off, because by raising countries who struggle, we improve the world. (Here, my idealism shows through for which I apologize. I will try not to get it on anyone and I am told it is not catching, at least not at family gatherings)
Using foreign aid to improve Canada’s interest is one of the worst, most self-serving things I have ever heard.
In closing, I say… well, I would post a picture of me giving the whole situation the finger, except I haven’t taken one in a while and the only one I have is a completely different hair colour and I have … issues with that.
(should probably change my hair less.)
(or take pictures more)
(it’s posts like this that probably ruin my future in politics, isn’t it?)