profile image

Patricia Adams

Executive Director, Probe International

Patricia Adams is an economist and the Executive Director of Probe International, an independent think-tank and watchdog over the environmental consequences of Canadian government and corporate activities around the world. Her books include In the Name of Progress: The Underside of Foreign Aid, (Doubleday 1985), and Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption and the Third World”s Environmental Legacy (Earthscan 1991), which exposes the jeopardy of years of loose lending for both the Third World’s environment and their economies, and proposes a legal remedy to place responsibility for the Third World’s debt crisis on the parties involved, instead of on First and Third World taxpayers. Pat also edited the English language translation of Yangtze! Yangtze!, the extraordinary critique by Chinese experts of the Three Gorges dam that inspired the democracy movement when it was first published in 1989, led to the postponement of the dam, and was subsequently banned by Chinese authorities.

Before coming to Probe International, Pat worked on a variety of development projects for the International Development Research Centre and Acres International. She has taught economics in Jamaica, advised the World Council of Churches” energy program, and Chaired the Nairobi-based Environment Liaison Centre, a coalition of 300 environmental and citizens’ groups from around the world. She is a co-founder of the International Rivers Network and the World Rainforest Movement, and is an associate editor of the British magazine, The Ecologist.

Pat has appeared before Congressional and Parliamentary Committees in the US and Canada and has given speaking tours of the United Kingdom, Argentina, and Chile. She submitted the paper, Patronage Canada, to the 1998 Export Development Act Review. She subsequently presented a Statement on The Review of the Export Development Act to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has written editorial page articles for major daily newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Guardian, New Statesman, and the Indian, Malaysian, and Jamaican press, and in Canada, the National Post, Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, Vancouver Sun, and Hamilton Spectator. She has appeared on many of Canada’s major radio and TV news and current affairs programs, including Canada AM, As It Happens, Ideas, Newsworld, Face Off, and Morningside. Outside Canada, she has appeared on British, Australian, French, Thai, and Japanese TV and radio.
STR via Getty Images

China Must Free These Activists and Restore Confidence in Their Country

Guo Yushan and He Zhengjun are accused of having written and published books and articles, and of having given lectures at universities, on such subjects as taxes, law reform, and environmental protection, with funding that included four foreign sources. They are just two of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens, but their work represented all that is hopeful and optimistic about China. Rather than jailing them, the government should free them, tap their confidence in their country and their dedication to their fellow citizen, thaw the chill that has accompanied their incarceration and help the country thrive.
07/16/2015 08:26 EDT
Getty Images

Why Food Aid Fuels International Conflict

As much as 80 per cent of humanitarian aid can be stolen en route. Most often, rebel groups will set up road blocks and "tax" the aid agencies wishing to deliver the aid. In effect, the aid agencies directly support rebel groups by feeding them or providing them with goods that can be traded for arms or other services.
09/04/2014 12:48 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Argentina's Rulers and Cronies Are Fair Game

Argentinians would not need to suffer if assets hidden from creditors could be recovered and, in any case, the country need not default. As a senior portfolio manager at Elliott Management wrote in the Financial Times, Argentina "could easily afford to pay all of its defaulted debt tomorrow."
06/30/2014 05:51 EDT
Fanatic Studio via Getty Images

How Foreign Aid Is Used To Buy Votes

The problem, according to Jablonski, is that donor countries often "lack information about who is most deserving of aid funds" and so delegate that responsibility to recipient governments, who then take advantage of the windfall by delivering those funds to voters most likely to keep them in office.
06/02/2014 05:23 EDT
Getty

China Must Regulate Pollution or Be Doomed to an "Airpocalypse"

China's National People's Congress meet in Beijing Wednesday, with the country's crippling smog, which now looms as a threat to the leadership, high on the agenda. China's air isn't polluted because the technologies to keep it clean are unavailable but because the country lacks a credible regulatory regime that makes polluters pay and rewards investors to innovate. Why does the government target BBQs and individuals instead of the major polluters? Because it knows how to deprive ordinary citizens of their property and their lives. It doesn't know how to regulate an incoherent economy bereft of market discipline.
03/10/2014 01:10 EDT

Does SNC-Lavalin Deserve a Clean Bill of Health?

SNC-Lavalin, the graft-tainted engineering giant, has cleaned up its act and tackled its corrupt business practices, according to a 2013 internal review done by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CC...
02/04/2014 04:29 EST
Lane Oatey via Getty Images

What Killed China's Renewable Energy Industry?

China's aggressive push to "green" its economy and become the world leader in renewable energy is admired by many commentators in the West. Those admirers need to look again; after years of over-development in the face of decreasing demand, China's renewable energy market is on life support, barely kept alive by government subsidies.
12/12/2013 05:33 EST
AP

How Canada Encourages Corrupt Companies

According to Michael Hershman, an international expert on transparency and accountability, corruption is more severe in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada and a "culture of corruption" has invaded the province's business elite.
11/08/2013 07:24 EST
Getty

Trinidad and Tobago Taught Canada an Anti-Corruption Lesson

After weeks of maneuvering by the Canadian government to secure a lucrative contract in Trinidad and Tobago for graft-tainted engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, the government of that Caribbean nation has announced that it isn't interested in dealing with a company that has "difficulty in passing the test of confidence." T&T can see that the company cannot be trusted, so why can't the Canadian government?
09/25/2013 12:29 EDT

SNC-Lavalin Corruption Allegations Abound -- So Why's Canada Promoting the Company Abroad?

The Canadian government is doing what it can to help corruption-plagued SNC-Lavalin get a lucrative contract to build a $163-million hospital complex in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago. The injudiciousness of the decision by one Canadian federal government agency to arrange an untendered, closed-door deal for SNC-Lavalin while another, the federal police force, investigates the company for wrongdoing seems lost on government officials. Canadians would be right to charge that our government is failing to maintain proper standards in the handling of public projects.
08/05/2013 08:13 EDT
Getty Images

Are Dams Triggering China's Earthquakes?

The Chinese government would like to believe that both earthquakes were the result of the natural movement of the earth's crust -- an "Act of God." But, mounting scientific evidence suggests that the Wenchuan earthquake was more likely a man-made disaster, triggered by the nearby Zipingpu hydro power dam.
04/29/2013 05:39 EDT

Cyberwar and Secrecy Threaten China's Dams

When China's top generals warned against building the Three Gorges Dam in the 1980s, fearing it would become a "strategic target" for China's enemies, they imagined the weapon of choice would be dam b...
03/12/2013 02:34 EDT

China's New Mega-Dam is a Mega-Problem

Three Gorges dam may now be declared finished, but never-ending expenditures to treat the problems it has caused will continue to remind Chinese citizens that the world's largest dam may also be the world's largest albatross.
07/12/2012 02:25 EDT
AP

Chinese Dams Will Damn the Country

Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly vociferous in their outrage over lives risked, and lost, to shoddy standards, most recently in the country's food and high-speed rail industry. Should a dam suffer catastrophic dam collapse, that anger could quickly spill over to the hydropower industry for threatening ordinary citizens' lives.
04/12/2012 05:38 EDT

China, EU Carbon Markets Big Winners at Durban

"We have saved planet Earth for the future of our children and our great-grandchildren," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane declared. More likely, all that she saved is face for China's renewable-energy industry and the EU carbon market, both in danger of freefall.
12/13/2011 01:12 EST
AP

Did The Three Gorges Dam Create China's Devastating Drought?

This debate about whether China's Three Gorges Dam is to blame for a devastating drought has become politically explosive because it goes to the heart of whether the Three Gorges Dam should have been built, and whether heads should roll in the Chinese leadership.
11/28/2011 12:31 EST