On March 21, the Conservative government announced an effective merger of the Canadian International Development Agency and Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade as part of the proposed 2013 Federal Budget. Finally Canadian "aid" will fully shed itself of its cumbersome rhetorical shell and reveal its naked core: the promotion of national interest.
The government's budget plan is a political smoke screen, replete with gimmicks designed to convince Canadians that the Conservatives, somehow, are in fact balancing the books. This could not be further from the truth. Canada's needs have clearly taken a back seat to the needs of the Conservative Party.
Sadly, with yesterday's Conservative budget, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) suffered a premature passing. Many of us knew it was coming, but its axing in the budget is a far more significant blow to this country's reputation that the Harper government realizes. Very good men and women in CIDA had built solid and progressive relationships with their partners in other countries, and though Canada's foreign aid will continue in various capacities, the dream of the kind of international interventions of compassion that made a clear and multi-dimensional difference is over.