Patricia Adams
GET UPDATES FROM Patricia Adams
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.

Entries by Patricia Adams

Why Food Aid Fuels International Conflict

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 1:48 PM

"US food aid increases the incidence and duration of civil conflicts" by financing combatants such as the Taliban and al-Shabab, reports a recent study by economists at Harvard and Yale. A 10 per cent increase in food aid delivered to a country will, on average, increase the incidence...

Read Post

Why Argentina's Rulers and Cronies Are Fair Game

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 6:50 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court recently let stand the right of hedge fund NML Capital, a subsidiary of Elliott Management Corporation, to collect on their defaulted Argentinian bonds, whether by collecting from the Argentinian state or by seizing the assets of the Argentine leadership that raided their treasury and...

Read Post

How Foreign Aid Is Used To Buy Votes

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 6:23 PM

Foreign aid, for decades used by despotic governments to line their pockets and finance uneconomic projects, is now being used by democratically elected governments to buy votes and remain in power.

That's the message from a recent study by Ryan S. Jablonski, an assistant professor at the London School of...

Read Post

The Probe of Three Gorges Officials Is Getting Too Close for Communist Party Leaders

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 1:01 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping's sweeping campaign to root out graft and curb abuse of power is now trained on the Three Gorges Corporation, the state-owned enterprise that built and operates the world's largest dam.

In a bold move earlier this year, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), an...

Read Post

Will the World Bank's Latest Mega Expansion Cause Mega Damage?

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 7:02 PM

The World Bank wants to add tens of billions of dollars to its annual budget in an effort to eliminate "extreme" poverty by 2030. But decades of mismanagement in which it financed white elephant projects across the developing world that robbed citizens of their property,

Read Post

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

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 2:10 AM

China's National People's Congress -- 3,000 delegates from across the country -- meet in Beijing Wednesday, with the country's crippling smog, which now looms as a threat to the leadership, high on the agenda.

To deal with smog in China's big cities -- so thick at times that...

Read Post

Does SNC-Lavalin Deserve a Clean Bill of Health?

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 5:37 PM

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 (CCC), a Crown corporation.

The "privileged and confidential" review, released to Probe International under the Access to...

Read Post

What Killed China's Renewable Energy Industry?

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 1:01 PM

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.

The country's solar panel industry, which went from zero to become the world's largest in five years, has crashed,...

Read Post

How Canada Encourages Corrupt Companies

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 7:23 AM

The bribery allegations facing engineering giant SNC-Lavalin are just a "few aberrations" associated with a "few individuals" who are no longer with the company, according to Leslie Quinton, SNC's senior vice-president for Global Corporate Communications.

CEO Robert Card -- who took over from Pierre Duhaime after he was...

Read Post

Trinidad and Tobago Taught Canada an Anti-Corruption Lesson

(13) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 1:29 PM

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."

Read Post

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

(122) Comments | Posted August 3, 2013 | 4:38 PM

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 behind-the-scenes move by a little known Crown corporation -- the Canadian Commercial Corporation --

Read Post

Are Dams Triggering China's Earthquakes?

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 6:06 PM

China's new government must be nervous. In the wake of the magnitude-7 earthquake that hit Lushan County on April 20, scientists are asking if the country's breakneck dam-building program in the earthquake-prone region of south-west China is unleashing a chain reaction of deadly tremors.

According to Fan Xiao, geologist and...

Read Post

Cyberwar and Secrecy Threaten China's Dams

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 3:34 PM

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 buster bombs.

Now, 25 years later, as the threat of cyber warfare grows, China's...

Read Post

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

(2) Comments | Posted July 12, 2012 | 3:25 PM

Almost 20 years in the making, China's Three Gorges mega-dam was declared complete on July 4 when the last of its 32 generators went online, 10 years after the first turbine went into operation. There is no end in sight, however, for costs associated with the vast and...

Read Post

Chinese Dams Will Damn the Country

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 5:07 PM

China's past dam building has outpaced that of any other society in history. Now its appetite for construction -- more than 130 large dams in western China -- is in a region of high seismicity, with the largest and most active seismic fault systems on the planet. A new

Read Post

China, EU Carbon Markets Big Winners at Durban

(2) Comments | Posted December 13, 2011 | 12:39 PM

"We have saved planet Earth for the future of our children and our great-grandchildren," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane declared at the close of the UN Durban climate conference, which negotiated a Green Climate Fund of up to $100-billion a year that keeps the Kyoto...

Read Post

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

(5) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 12:30 AM

Is China's Three Gorges Dam to blame for the devastating drought last spring in the downstream reaches of the Yangtze River?

Popular opinion, including several Chinese scientists, government officials, and the press have said yes, some even arguing that drought on the Yangtze will become...

Read Post

The Yangtze Runs Dry

(4) Comments | Posted August 18, 2011 | 10:58 AM

"The Yangtze River will run dry" because engineers have gone wild, building so many dams that their combined reservoir volume will exceed the Yangtze's flow, says "A Mighty River Runs Dry," a new study by geologist Fan Xiao of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in China. Because...

Read Post

China Ramps Up Central Planning to Stifle Dissent

(39) Comments | Posted June 26, 2011 | 10:41 AM

In March, while clamping down on simmering protests in China following the Arab Spring, the Chinese government's top legislator told 3,000 deputies at the National People's Congress that it would brook no challenge to the Communist Party's authority.

"We have made a solemn declaration," stated Wu Bangguo, chairman...

Read Post

Bill Gates: Foreign Aid 2.0

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2011 | 9:00 AM

Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates has a revolutionary new model for foreign aid that, by his own admission, will be an "incredibly effective way to combat hunger and extreme poverty."

This "has nothing to do with the old aid model of donors and recipients," Gates said at...

Read Post