Independence of thought and transparency are principles that guide good research. So, what to make of a Canadian foreign policy discussion dominated by individuals with ties to the same decision-making structures they study? The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) is a prime example.
While it is of paramount importance to actively struggle against conspicuous violations of the most seriously thought out and radical ethical systems, this industry of human rights activism constantly puts Iranians in terribly compromising positions by encouraging the federal government to enforce retrogressive measures.
A month ago, Ottawa's Carleton University agreed to accept $15 million from a private citizen for a new graduate program. The money came from the personal fortune of an Albertan philanthropist, Clayton H. Riddell, while the idea originated from one of Canada's elder statesman -- former federal Reform party leader, Preston Manning. Now the university has released a statement -- one which suddenly rejects the deal.
Aid and development are deeply complex and there are no easy answers. The physical donations of goods, be it food or clothes, often have negative impacts on the local economy. It would be far better for aid organizations to buy products locally. Aid shouldn't be about making North Americans comfortable with a culture of mass consumption and waste. It has to be actually making the lives of people in the recipient country better.