The Harper government would do well to learn from the approach of the Conservative government in the United Kingdom which, in a difficult economic situation, has made the laudable commitment not to cut its aid budget. Scaling back our development assistance is, frankly, out of step with Canadian values.
If you like your tales of Canadian do-gooding to be humble and cutesy, I imagine you'll be charmed to learn that the primary reason why our air force intervened in Mali this week was because we were already in the neighbourhood. Once you begin to watch the headlines, it becomes harder to ignore the decidedly inelegant possibly that Canadian foreign policy is actually governed by much of the same lazy logic as the rest of Canadian life -- namely, we'll do whatever's cheap, fast, popular, and easy, and -- if time and cost permits -- right.
Since 2004, Canada's foreign aid strategy has experienced a noticeable move along a spectrum from morality to national self-interest. Whether you call it a tipping point or a crisis, the shift in Canada's aid policy poses some fundamental questions of us as Canadians; for instance: why do we give foreign aid?